Marx returning to roots with new blog

By HASKEL BURNS,

Petal Mayor Hal Marx is putting his six years of journalism experience to good use with a new blog titled “Mississippi Musings” that will focus on political issues and debates nationally and at the state level.

Marx, who recently announced that he would not seek a fourth term as mayor in next year’s elections, recently made the first entry in the blog at https://bit.ly/2ZSXZdI.

“I’m kind of looking for a new venture to do this new year, to start something new – an activity that would interest me and allow me to express myself,” said Marx, who began his career in journalism in 1991 with the Laurel Leader-Call. “And also, I miss writing.

“When I worked all those years ago in journalism, I enjoyed writing about politics and different things I might want to opine on. So I just thought that would be a good hobby for this new year, for me to be able to blog to sort of express myself.”

Marx plans to keep the blog mainly to the state and national levels, with very few local tidbits thrown in.

“There will be some things, maybe, that might be locally-themed issues from time to time,” he said. “But I’m going to try to stay away from local as much as I can, because I don’t want this to be seen as me trying to put my opinion out there for personal gain politically, because I’m not running for anything in this next cycle of elections.

“So I’m not trying to use this as a way to campaign for anything; I just really wanted to put my opinion out there. Everyone has an opinion, and everyone is free to share it, and I just thought that I could use that medium as a way to share it.”

As of right now, Marx isn’t sure whether he will continue the blog after he steps down as mayor in July 2021, as he’s still considering his options for the next stage of his career.

“I’ve got about 18 months to figure that out,” he said. “I enjoy politics and public policy, I enjoy debating issues that I feel are important for our state and our country.

“If it were to work out that I was able to have a new career in some form that would allow me to voice my thoughts on public policy and things like that, I think that would be something I would look at. It’s not my purpose in starting (the blog), but it has crossed my mind that maybe that’s an area I might want to go back into in some way, be it through political communications, or public relations or maybe even making some kind of public policy think tank.”

At the Leader-Call, Marx covered a variety of issues, including murder trials, politics, city council meetings and human interest stories, and eventually was promoted to managing editor of the paper. In 1997, Marx left the Leader-Call to pursue a career at Petal High School, where he taught American Government and Economics for approximately 11 years.

In July 2009, he was elected as Petal’s sixth mayor.

“I have the unique background of having covered politics as a reporter, taught government and politics to students, and spent nearly 12 years as the top elected official in my hometown,” the blog states. “I have seen politics and government from all angles and up close and personal.

“I hope that experience and background lends some credence to my opinions, but you and others who read my writings will be the judge of that.”