Cochran won’t seek re-election to Miss. Public Service Commission

Published 7:06 pm Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Nielsen Cochran, a member of the state board that regulates power and telecommunications companies for the past 23 years, said Tuesday that he will not seek re-election.

Cochran, the brother of U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, represented the central district on the three-member Public Service Commission, was elected to the PSC in 1983.

“From a utility regulatory standpoint, the future looks bright for our state and I’m glad to have played a role in its development,” Cochran said in a statement.

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The Public Service Commission regulates rates for natural gas, telephone, water, sewer and electrical service. It also handles the state’s no-call telephone marketing list and investigates consumer complaints about utilities.

Cochran led efforts to get the Legislature to enact a “no-call” law to prohibit telemarketers from calling Mississippians who registered with the PSC.

Cochran is the second PSC member to announce that he would not seek re-election.

Earlier, Bo Robinson, who represents the northern district, has said he will not run again.

Southern District Commissioner Leonard Bentz has announced he will run for election. Bentz was appointed to the commission in April 2006.

The party primaries are Aug. 7. The general election is Nov. 6. The qualifying deadline is March 1.The U.S. Supreme Court declined Tuesday to hear Kado Jackson’s appeal of his 50-year sentence in Forrest County in 2004 for selling cocaine near Beacon Baptist Church in Hattiesburg.