TUPELO – Sam Adcock might place strong emphasis on national defense and security during campaign events, but the Columbus businessman stresses he’s no one-trick pony.
“It doesn’t matter whether it’s national parks, Medicaid, Medicare or education – I’ve had a substantive role in all of it,” said Adcock, referencing his time working for U.S. Sen. Trent Lott. “These aren’t political campaign rally cries. These are issues I’ve dealt with and have dealt with for a long time, so there’s no training wheels required for me.”
Adcock is one of 13 candidates running in the May 12 special election to secure the 1st Congressional District seat vacated following the death of Congressman Alan Nunnelee.
He’s taken a common-sense, conservative approach to his campaign so far, stressing he’s not a career politician or a lawyer. Instead Adcock promotes himself as someone who has been on “both sides of the table” working in private industry operating Airbus Helicopters in Columbus and seeing the needs of private industries through his governmental experience with Lott.
“I know what it takes to make it work from one side, and I know what companies are looking for from government,” he said. “I’m stressing the fact that I’ve done both from the government side to the boardroom side.”
The boardroom side started for the sixth-generation Mississippian in 2001 when he led a delegation from Eurocopter to visit the Golden Triangle Regional Airport in Columbus. That visit and eventual investment from the company, Adcock says, helped changed the future of the Golden Triangle with other international investments coming to the area within just four years.
Those types of investments that result in jobs are the same thing Adcock says he can produce throughout the 22 counties in the 1st District in part by reforming the corporate tax structure to help create an environment in which companies have incentive to get something done.
“I’m concerned about unemployment because in 21 of the 22 counties in the first district we are above the national average … and that’s just not acceptable,” Adcock said. “The policies that are being promoted are not helping us create jobs.”
Adcock says the time he has spent in Washington will be an asset to help tackling those types of issues.
Adcock worked as legislative director for Lott from 1990 to 1996 and defense and security policy advisor to Lott from 1996 to 1997 when the Mississippi senator became majority leader.
Issues of national defense and security, such as the ones he dealt with under Lott, are on the top of Adcock’s priority list.
He’s no fan of the way the current administration has handled those and other foreign policy issues such as the dealings between Israel and Iran, saying he believes “this president is the best president Iran has ever had.”
“They are sacrificing not only our future security, but the security of Israel in the process,” Adcock said. “I have people frequently ask me what side is this guy on, and that’s not something you want people asking of their president.”
Adcock stresses his 19 years in the private sector as well as nearly 10 years working in Washington make him the best candidate that can hit the ground running and start representing the people of the 1st District.
“The 1st District has been without anyone advocating on their behalf since Feb. 6, and I don’t think we can afford to take two or three years for someone to figure out how to get things done,” Adcock said. “The day I show up is the day I get working.”
That same logic is one of many reasons Columbus resident and businessman Paul Guerry is supporting Adcock. The two businessmen met shortly after Adcock moved to Columbus, and Guerry said he was immediately impressed with his business background and leadership style.
“As a small business owner, I’m always trying to pick up what other folks are doing and apply them to my environment, and I was just so impressed by Sam’s management style and how he’s been able to manage such a large company,” Guerry said. “Sam has a clear understanding of what businesses look for before investing in areas, and that’s what we need to help move north Mississippi ahead.
“I’m absolutely convinced there’s just nobody else in the race that has the qualifications Sam has to get us back to our conservative values.”
Adcock and his wife Carol have two sons: Austen, a freshman at Ole Miss, and Gray, a junior in high school.
• Age: 53
• Home: Columbus
• Political experience: Legislative director for U.S. Sen. Trent Lott from 1990 to 1996 and defense and security policy adviser to Lott from 1996 to 1997
• Current occupation: Resigned position as vice president of Airbus Helicopters in Columbus before campaign
• Family: Married with two children