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Reeves chooses senator to lead Mississippi utilities staff

July 15, 2020 GMT
Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley, left, speaks with Sen. Sally Doty, R-Brookhaven, right, about broadband services in rural communities following a Senate hearing on distance learning, Wednesday, May 13, 2020, at the Capitol in Jackson, Miss. Both Presley and Public Service Commissioner for the Southern District Dane Maxwell, second from right, addressed the senators as the lawmakers also heard from education leaders, communications experts and businessmen about the impact and expense of COVID-19 on the state's educational institutions. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley, left, speaks with Sen. Sally Doty, R-Brookhaven, right, about broadband services in rural communities following a Senate hearing on distance learning, Wednesday, May 13, 2020, at the Capitol in Jackson, Miss. Both Presley and Public Service Commissioner for the Southern District Dane Maxwell, second from right, addressed the senators as the lawmakers also heard from education leaders, communications experts and businessmen about the impact and expense of COVID-19 on the state's educational institutions. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley, left, speaks with Sen. Sally Doty, R-Brookhaven, right, about broadband services in rural communities following a Senate hearing on distance learning, Wednesday, May 13, 2020, at the Capitol in Jackson, Miss. Both Presley and Public Service Commissioner for the Southern District Dane Maxwell, second from right, addressed the senators as the lawmakers also heard from education leaders, communications experts and businessmen about the impact and expense of COVID-19 on the state's educational institutions. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Gov. Tate Reeves has appointed a third-term Republican state senator to be the new director of the Mississippi Public Utilities Staff, a group that analyzes proposals and provides advice to the three elected members of the Public Service Commission.

Sen. Sally Doty, 53, of Brookhaven, is an attorney.

Doty served as chairwoman of the Senate Energy Committee when Reeves was lieutenant governor. Current Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann named her chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary A Committee in January.

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“Sally and I have been good friends for years, and it was an honor to serve with her in the Mississippi Senate,” Reeves said in a statement. “She has always been a strong leader for Mississippians, fighting for their interests on the Senate floor. I know she will continue to serve our state well leading in the Public Utilities Staff.”

Doty helped push for a state law that allows 25 electric cooperatives to provide high-speed internet service to rural areas. She will succeed Virden Jones, who has led the Public Utilities Staff since 2011. His time in that job expired July 1.

The Public Service Commission regulates utilities. The Public Utilities Staff is a separate entity that negotiates agreements with utility companies about rates and other issues that are ultimately voted on by the commissioners.

Doty will leave the Senate and Reeves will set a special election to fill her seat in District 39 in Copiah, Lawrence, Lincoln and Walthall counties. The legislative term ends in January 2024.