Thompson to serve as first woman on Forrest Co. board

By HASKEL BURNS,

Since the Forrest County Board of Supervisors was implemented as a governing agency in 1890 – almost 130 years ago – voters of the county have never elected a woman to the board.

Until now.

Democrat Sharon A. Thompson defeated Republican challenger Allen Rainey, 2,141 votes to 1,359, during Tuesday’s general election for the position of District 2 Supervisor. She will take over in January for longtime supervisor Charles Marshall, who she defeated in the August Democratic primary election.

“It’s an honor,” Thompson said. “I’ve lived in District 2 all of my life, and I want to do something positive for the district.

“First of all, I want to thank the voters who came out and had enough confidence in me to vote for me. I look forward to bringing positive change to District 2, especially where recreation is a concern for the youth.”

Thompson is a graduate of Hattiesburg High School and completed an accounting course at Pearl River Community College, along with two semesters of court stenography at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. She has more than 825 hours of administrative and professional training at Mississippi Judicial College.

She is an active member of Mt. Olive Baptist Church, where she serves as a trustee. Thompson also has participated in an outreach program for at-risk youth at a youth detention center, and is the past secretary of the Forrest Lamar Federation of Democratic Women and the Fraternal Order of the Eastern Star No. 84.

Thompson said she will focus on recreation as soon as she begins her first term on the board.

“Over the last 23 years that I know of, there’s been no recreational programs in District 2, and we can fund those programs by looking for grants,” she said. “From what I understand, we have a grant writer, but I don’t know how productive that’s been.”

In addition to seeking grant money for recreation, Thompson said she also would seek those funds to alleviate some of the flooding issues in the district.

“There’s a part of west Petal that floods, and there’s a large part of Rawls Springs that has flash flooding,” she said. “None of those people can even buy flood insurance, because they’re in flash flood areas. So I think that’s an issue that the board needs to address.”

Sherry Dryden, president of the Forrest Lamar Federation of Democratic Women, said she was excited for Thompson to be elected to the board.

“We are, as an organization, in support of women’s voices,” Dryden said in an email. “The objective of the organization is to unite women of the Democratic Part, to promote the cause of the Democratic Party and to encourage full participation of women in every level of the Democratic Party structure.”