- Associated Press - Monday, February 6, 2017

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Cy Young’s 749 complete games pitched. Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 points basketball game. Cal Ripken Jr.’s 2,632 consecutive baseball games played.

Those records may never be broken. In Mississippi, state Sen. Tommy Gollott, R- Biloxi, says he is looking forward to setting his own record that would be difficult to top.

This September, Gollott will tie the late Walter Sillers Jr. as the longest serving legislator in the state. Sillers served 50 years, from January 1916 to his death on Sept. 24, 1966.

Gollott, 81, said he will break the record if he serves until late September.

No other current Mississippi legislator has more than 37 years of service.

In 1967, Gollott was elected to the state House of Representatives and was sworn into office in January 1968. He served in the House until his election to the state Senate in 1979, taking office in January 1980.

As the longest-serving member, he is affectionately called the “dean” and “godfather” of the Mississippi Legislature.

In 2008, Gollott’s fellow senators adopted a resolution honoring him for his then 40 years of service at the Capitol.

The resolution said Gollott wrote and was instrumental in passing legislation that built the Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum and Convention Center and what was originally called the South Mississippi Retardation Center in Long Beach.

When he was in the House, Gollott sponsored the bill that enabled the purchase and preservation of 35,000 acres of the Pascagoula River System, the largest free-flowing river system in the lower 48 states.

He is also credited with legislation authorizing dockside gambling that gave rise to a tourism and economic boon on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and other areas of the state.

Gollott, once an Amateur Athletic Union boxing champ, organized the Happy Days Youth Boxing Club.

He is low-key but fights for the Gulf Coast and the state when it comes to promoting job creation.

“If you take care of the people who sent you, you will never have to worry about re-election,” Gollott said.

Gollott was a Democrat for much of his career until he switched parties in 2007.

Still, he said he doesn’t believe in partisan politics. “It shouldn’t be partisan. We need cooperation.”

Gollott said he expects to remain in the Legislature through his current term, which ends in January 2020.


Information from: The Clarion-Ledger, https://www.clarionledger.com

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