2016 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Representative Gunn

House Resolution 55


     WHEREAS, on March 9, 2016, the citizens of House District 29, and particularly the Mississippi State Legislature, received bittersweet confirmation of an official changing of the guard in the post held for the last 25 years by a visionary leader, friend, lawmaker and respected attorney, with the appointment of the Honorable Linda Faye Coleman to the Mississippi's 11th Circuit Court District by Governor Phil Bryant; and

     WHEREAS, the distinguished gentlelady from Bolivar County, Mississippi, Representative Linda Faye Coleman, an honored and cherished member of the Mississippi House of Representatives, revered for her legal expertise and credible public service, received this most auspicious appointment to the bench in the first year of her seventh term of legislative service as a member of the House of Representatives from District 29, after having been initially elected in November 1991, which includes all of Bolivar County and a portion of Sunflower County; and

     WHEREAS, a native of Mound Bayou, Mississippi, Representative Coleman answered her call to public service when she made the decision to attend law school after earning her baccalaureate degree in public administration from the University of Mississippi, and upon completing the requisite courses of study to obtain her juris doctorate from Mississippi College School of Law and subsequent admission to The Mississippi Bar, she embarked on the journey of jurisprudence, which has now spanned the course of approximately three decades, when she began working for North Mississippi Rural Legal Services in 1987 and served as the managing attorney for the entity from 1989-1994; and

     WHEREAS, gaining stature as a prominent yet formidable politician, the Lady from Bolivar's abilities and talent were immediately recognized by her colleagues, and when combined with her strong work ethic, she quickly rose from freshman lawmaker and Vice Chairman of the Penitentiary Committee at the onset of her first legislative term in 1992, to an influential purveyor of equity with her appointment as Vice Chairman of the Tourism Committee in her fourth term beginning in 2004, culminating in her appointment to the chairmanship position of the House Committee on Fees and Salaries of Public Officers in 2006, which she zealously led with much deference and bipartisan participation for six years until 2012, a fitting resolve with her appointment to the position of Vice Chairman of the Corrections Committee, the successor committee to the former Penitentiary Committee, in which she served in like capacity at the onset of her legislative legacy, thus bringing her venerable leadership to the citizens of this state full circle; and

     WHEREAS, over the course of her storied legislative career, Representative Coleman's diligence and devotion to the office to which she was elected have been fueled by the desire to make the quality of life better for her immediate constituency base and the entire citizenry of the Hospitality State, as she has endeavored with feverish propensity through her vocal participation on the  committees to which she was assigned, including:  Appropriations; Corrections; County Affairs; Education; Fees and Salaries of Public Officers; Investigate State Offices; Judiciary A; Judiciary En Banc; Management; Municipalities; Penitentiary; Ports, Harbors and Airports; Public Buildings, Grounds and Lands (now Public Property); Select Committee on Poverty; Tourism; Transportation; and Ways and Means; and

     WHEREAS, Representative Coleman's love and deeply felt respect for the Legislature as a hallowed institution has led her to fight to preserve and nurture its integrity, becoming a guardian of this democratic institution during a time in Mississippi's history when the diversity of the House membership expanded to include meaningful participation by women, African Americans, Republicans and Democrats alike, who equally hold a lion's share in the stake of advancing the direction of the state's economic, educational and political climate; and

     WHEREAS, widely considered to be one of the most influential state leaders and skillful tacticians of Mississippi's evolving political atmosphere, Representative Coleman maintained a strong leadership role in every meaningful initiative addressed by the Mississippi Legislature during her tenure, including economic development, fiscal affairs, education, gaming, public health, transportation, agriculture, and election reform initiatives and programs; and

     WHEREAS, a rare leader who was able to lead effectively and serve with humility while promoting the integrity and strength of the Legislature, Madame Chairman, as she came to be respectfully called, was known to be a fair and evenhanded steward of the legislative process as demonstrated by her ability to uphold loyalty to the House of Representatives over individual political affiliations; and

     WHEREAS, a leader who makes a significant contribution to the performance, the strengthening and operation of the branch of government in which she serves, Representative Coleman commenced practice as sole practitioner in 1994 and has capably represented  the towns of Mound Bayou, Clarksdale and Friars Point, in addition to service as legal counsel for the Bolivar County Board of Supervisors and the Mound Bayou School Board; and

     WHEREAS, admired for her ability for building consensus in the Legislature across party lines regardless of the issues at hand, it is with the same deference that her presence to the bench is both essential and most appropriate to carry forward the service to the citizens of Bolivar, Coahoma, Quitman and Tunica Counties who avail themselves of the judicial system; and

     WHEREAS, effective immediately after the announcement of her appointment, the Lady from Bolivar exchanges the title of Representative Coleman for that of Judge Coleman, and resigns the title "Madame Chairman" for "Your Honor," as she makes her departure from the stained glass ceiling and decorative walls of the chamber of the Mississippi House of Representatives for a private judge's chamber, where her legal expertise and experience as a well-versed arbiter of the law will aid her in the even-handed issuance of justice; and

     WHEREAS, Representative Coleman served the Mississippi House of Representatives well, and her passion for making the body stronger as an institution will result in a positive influence on the work of the House for decades to follow; and

     WHEREAS, the members of this Legislature will cherish the bond and common goals for the betterment of our great state shared with Representative Coleman, and that her impeccable service was  unparalleled to the Mississippi Legislature, The Mississippi Bar Association, the Magnolia Bar Association, the National Bar Association, the Council of State Governments, the Mississippi Association of Board Attorneys, the constituents of District 29 and to this great state:

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, That we do hereby commend the distinguished and laudable legislative career of Representative Linda Faye Coleman, congratulate her upon being appointed to the bench of the Mississippi's 11th Circuit Court District, and express our fondest respect and best wishes for continued success in this newly appointed role as judge and all of her future endeavors.

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That copies of this resolution be furnished to Representative Linda Faye Coleman and to the members of the Capitol Press Corps.