Cindy Hyde-Smith (born May 10, 1959)[1] is an American politician serving as the junior United States Senator from Mississippi, in office since 2018.[2] A member of the Republican Party, she was previously the Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce and a member of the Mississippi State Senate.

Cindy Hyde-Smith
Cindy Hyde-Smith official photo.jpg
United States Senator
from Mississippi
Assumed office
April 9, 2018
Serving with Roger Wicker
Appointed byPhil Bryant
Preceded byThad Cochran
7th Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce
In office
January 10, 2012 – April 1, 2018
GovernorPhil Bryant
Preceded byLester Spell
Succeeded byAndy Gipson
Member of the Mississippi Senate
from the 39th district
In office
January 4, 2000 – January 10, 2012
Preceded byW. L. Rayborn
Succeeded bySally Doty
Personal details
Born
Cindy Hyde

(1959-05-10) May 10, 1959 (age 60)
Brookhaven, Mississippi, U.S.
Political partyRepublican (2010–present)
Other political
affiliations
Democratic (until 2010)
Spouse(s)Michael Smith
Children1
EducationCopiah–Lincoln Community College
University of Southern Mississippi (BA)
WebsiteSenate website

Born in Brookhaven, Mississippi, Hyde-Smith is a graduate of Copiah-Lincoln Community College and the University of Southern Mississippi. In 1999 she was elected to the Mississippi State Senate as a Democrat. She represented the 39th district from 2000 to 2012. In 2010 Hyde-Smith switched parties and became a Republican, citing her conservative beliefs.[3] Hyde-Smith was elected Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner in 2011, the first woman elected to that office.

On March 21, 2018, Governor Phil Bryant announced his intention to appoint Hyde-Smith to the United States Senate seat being vacated due to the resignation of Thad Cochran.[4] Hyde-Smith was sworn into office on April 9, 2018. She is the first woman to represent Mississippi in Congress.[5]

Hyde-Smith was a candidate in the 2018 U.S. Senate special election for the remainder of Cochran's term, which expires in 2021.[6] She finished first in the top-two general election on November 6, 2018, but did not receive more than 50% of the vote, thus advancing to a November 27 special runoff election versus Mike Espy. Hyde-Smith won the runoff election,[7] becoming the first woman elected to Congress from Mississippi.[8]

Early lifeEdit

Hyde-Smith was born in Brookhaven, Mississippi, the daughter of Lorraine Hyde and Luther Hyde, and grew up in Monticello, Mississippi. She attended Lawrence County Academy in Monticello, a segregation academy established in response to Supreme Court rulings ordering the desegregation of public schools.[9] The school's team nickname was the Rebels; the mascot was a "Col. Reb" who carried a Confederate flag.[9]

She graduated from Copiah-Lincoln Community College and the University of Southern Mississippi.[10]

Early political careerEdit

Hyde-Smith was a member of the Mississippi Senate, representing the 39th District from 2000 to 2012.[11] She had a conservative voting record in the state Senate[12] and in 2010 switched parties from Democratic to Republican.[10] Hyde-Smith's switch made the Senate equally divided between Republicans and Democrats, with each holding 26 seats.[12]

Hyde-Smith chaired the Senate Agriculture committee from 2004 to 2012 and was a member of the Appropriations, Constitution, Corrections, Elections, Forestry, Public Health and Welfare, Veterans and Military Affairs, and Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks committees. She was also Vice Chair of the National Agriculture Committee of State Legislators.[10]

Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and CommerceEdit

 
Smith as Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce

Hyde-Smith was elected in 2011 and took office on January 5, 2012.[13]

Hyde-Smith was elected to a second term as commissioner as 2015, defeating Democratic nominee Addie Lee Green.[14]

U.S. SenateEdit

 
Vice President Mike Pence swears in Smith at the Old Senate Chamber in 2018

AppointmentEdit

On March 21, 2018, Governor Phil Bryant announced Hyde-Smith as his choice to fill the United States Senate seat held by Thad Cochran, who indicated he would be resigning the seat at a later date due to ongoing health issues.[15] Cochran resigned on April 1, and Bryant formally appointed Hyde-Smith on April 2.[2] Hyde-Smith became the first woman to represent Mississippi in the United States Congress. The Senate was in a district work period and was not conducting legislative business at that time, so she did not take the oath of office until the Senate reconvened for legislative business on April 9.[16] Hyde-Smith announced that she would seek election to the seat in the 2018 special election on November 6.[17]

2018 special election campaignEdit

The Trump administration reportedly did not support Hyde-Smith's appointment because of her history as a Democrat,[18][19] but in August, Trump endorsed her candidacy.[20] He stumped for Hyde-Smith in suburban north Mississippi.[21]

Hyde-Smith declined to debate her Democratic opponent, Mike Espy, before the November 6 special election; Cochran had often done the same.[22] After she and Espy each finished with about 41% of the vote,[23] she agreed to debate Espy on November 20.[24] The runoff election was held on November 27, 2018. With nearly 99% of the vote counted, Hyde-Smith was declared the winner with 53.8% of the vote.[25][26]

ControversyEdit

During the runoff campaign, while appearing with cattle rancher Colin Hutchinson in Tupelo, Mississippi, Hyde-Smith said, "If he invited me to a public hanging, I'd be in the front row." Hyde-Smith's comment immediately drew harsh criticism, given Mississippi's notorious history of lynchings and public executions of African-Americans. In response to the criticism, Hyde-Smith downplayed her comment as "an exaggerated expression of regard" and characterized the backlash as "ridiculous."[27][28][29][30][31][32]

On November 12, 2018, Hyde-Smith joined Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant at a news conference in Jackson, Mississippi, where she was asked repeatedly about her comment by reporters. She repeatedly responded, "I put out a statement yesterday, and that's all I'm gonna say about it."[33][34] When reporters redirected questions to Bryant, he defended Hyde-Smith's comment and changed the subject to abortion, saying he was "confused about where the outrage is at about 20 million African American children that have been aborted."[35]

On November 15, 2018, Hyde-Smith appeared in a video clip saying that it would be "a great idea" to make it more difficult for liberals to vote.[36] Her campaign said Hyde-Smith was obviously joking and that the video was selectively edited. Both this and the "public hanging" video were released by Lamar White Jr., a Louisiana blogger and journalist.[37]

In November it was noted that Hyde-Smith attended a school that was created to avoid court-mandated racial integration and made use of various confederate symbols, and that she sent her daughter to a similar school.[9][38]

Committee assignments

Political positionsEdit

Hyde-Smith identifies herself as a conservative Republican.[40] From 1999 to 2010 she served in elected office as a Democrat. She voted in the Democratic primary in 2008[41] and described herself as having been a conservative Democrat during her tenure in the state legislature.[42] She switched to the Republican Party in 2010.

In 2012 Hyde-Smith endorsed Republican nominee Mitt Romney for U.S. President.[43] In 2018, as a Republican, she faced a primary challenge from Chris McDaniel, who criticized her past Democratic affiliation. Hyde-Smith responded that she had "always been a conservative" and had the support of Republican Governor Phil Bryant.[44] She highlighted her support for Second Amendment rights, opposition to abortion, and advocacy for the state's defense business.[45]

FiveThirtyEight, which tracks congressional votes, reported that as of May 2019 Hyde-Smith had voted with Trump's position approximately 96% of the time.[46]

Fiscal policyEdit

Hyde-Smith describes her economic positions as fiscally conservative.[47]

In 2018 Hyde-Smith was one of 29 Republicans who joined all Democrats in opposing Senator Rand Paul's bill to cut federal spending by 1% over 5 years, known as the Penny Bill.[48] Republican opponents of the bill said it could threaten federal defense and domestic programs.[49] She faced criticism from the bill's supporters.[50]

Hyde-Smith supported the Trump-backed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.[51] As a state legislator, she voted in favor of increasing unemployment benefits and in favor of raising taxes on cigarettes.[52] She also voted with all Mississippi Democrats in the state legislature to restore funding that had been previously eliminated due to budget cuts.[53]

In May 2019 Hyde-Smith was a cosponsor of the Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act, a bipartisan bill introduced by Ben Sasse and Jon Tester intended to reform hours of service for livestock haulers by authorizing drivers to rest at any point during their trip without it being counted against their hours of service and exempting loading and unloading times from the hours of service calculation of driving time.[54]

In July 2019 Hyde-Smith was one of eight senators to introduce the Agricultural Trucking Relief Act, a bill that would alter the definition of an agricultural commodity to include both horticultural and aquacultural products and promote greater consistency in regulation through both federal and state agencies as part of an attempt to ease regulatory burdens on trucking and the agri-community.[55]

Foreign policyEdit

In August 2018, Hyde-Smith co-sponsored the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (s. 720), which would make it a federal crime for Americans to encourage or participate in boycotts against Israel and Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank if protesting actions by the Israeli government.[56][57]

Health careEdit

Hyde-Smith opposes the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), saying that it "has failed Mississippi."[58] She is in favor of repealing it but keeping provisions ensuring protections for preexisting conditions.[58] While in the Senate, she voted to expand the use of short-term health insurance plans, which can discriminate against people with preexisting conditions.[58]

In July 2019 Hyde-Smith was one of eight senators to cosponsor the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA), a bill intended to strengthen training for new and existing physicians, people who teach palliative care, and other providers who are on the palliative care team that grants patients and their families a voice in their care and treatment goals.[59]

Supreme CourtEdit

 
Hyde-Smith and Brett Kavanaugh in July 2018

In March 2019 Hyde-Smith was one of 12 senators to cosponsor a resolution in favor of a constitutional amendment limiting the Supreme Court to nine justices. The resolution was introduced after multiple Democratic presidential candidates expressed openness to expanding the number of seats on the Supreme Court.[60]

Social issuesEdit

Hyde-Smith's 2018 campaign described her as having a "strong social conservative voting record with a 100 percent pro-life rating [who is] a lifetime member of the NRA."[61] Gun Owners of America, which supports gun owners' rights and is in favor of loosening restrictions on guns, gave her a rating of 50% in 2018.[62]

Hyde-Smith is pro-life and opposes abortion.[63] As a state senator, she authored a bill requiring that all abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy be performed in a hospital or ambulatory surgical facility; the bill was blocked by federal courts.[64] In 2018, she voted with Senate Republicans to prohibit federal funding from being given to any organization or facility that promotes abortion services or family planning.[65] She opposes Planned Parenthood, describing it as "one of the worst things that has ever happened to us."[58]

In 2018 Hyde-Smith released a statement supporting the Trump administration's travel ban.[66][67] Her campaign website says she supports the construction of a wall along the southern US border.[68]

In 2012, as the Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce, Hyde-Smith was personally opposed to a same-sex commitment ceremony at the Mississippi Agriculture & Forestry Museum, but instructed the museum to allow it after consulting with Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood. She declared she would seek a change in state law and request from the legislature "clear and straightforward definitions about what activities can take place on the property owned by the State of Mississippi."[69]

In February 2019, Hyde-Smith voted for the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, legislation requiring health care practitioners present at the time of a birth "exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age."[70]

Confederate States of AmericaEdit

In 2007, Hyde-Smith voted for a resolution that praised a Confederate States Army soldier for his efforts to "defend his homeland".[71] During her first term in the Mississippi Senate, she proposed renaming a state highway after Confederate President Jefferson Davis, but the legislation did not pass.[72] In 2014 Hyde-Smith posted a photo of herself at Davis's home, Beauvoir, wearing a Confederate cap and carrying a rifle, with the caption "Mississippi history at its best!"[71]

Personal lifeEdit

Hyde-Smith is married to a cattle farmer, Mike Smith. They are members of the Macedonia Baptist Church. They have a daughter who graduated in 2017 from Brookhaven Academy.[73][74][75][76][77] Hyde-Smith is a member of the American Cancer Society, the Junior Auxiliary, Hospice, the Mississippi Cattleman's Association, the Mississippi Wildlife Federation, the National Rifle Association, Mississippi National Guard Legislative Caucus, and the Copiah Lincoln Community College Foundation Board.[78]

Electoral historyEdit

2003Edit

Mississippi State Senate 39th district Democratic primary election, 2003
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Cindy Hyde-Smith (incumbent) 11,944 65.47
Democratic W. L. Rayborn 6,299 34.53
Mississippi State Senate 39th district election, 2003
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Cindy Hyde-Smith (incumbent) 18,091 100.00

2007Edit

Mississippi State Senate 39th district election, 2007
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Cindy Hyde-Smith (incumbent) 12,844 79.45
Republican Edwin Case 3,323 20.55

2011Edit

Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Republican primary election, 2011
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith 144,873 52.93
Republican Max Phillips 96,049 35.09
Republican Dannie Reed 32,809 11.99
Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce election, 2011
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith 493,417 56.91
Democratic Joel Gill 352,213 40.63
Reform Cathy Toole 21,347 2.46

2015Edit

Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce election, 2015
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith (incumbent) 433,295 61.47
Democratic Addie Lee Green 256,766 36.43
Reform Cathy Toole 14,852 2.11

2018Edit

United States Senate special election in Mississippi, 2018
Party Candidate Votes %
Nonpartisan Cindy Hyde-Smith (incumbent) 368,536 41.5
Nonpartisan Mike Espy 360,112 40.6
Nonpartisan Chris McDaniel 146,013 16.5
Nonpartisan Tobey Bartee 12,707 1.4
Total votes 887,368 100.0
United States Senate special election runoff in Mississippi, 2018
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith (incumbent) 479,278 53.85% -6.05%
Democratic Mike Espy 410,693 46.15% +8.26%
Total votes 889,971 100.0% N/A
Republican hold

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Cindy Hyde-Smith". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved December 26, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Senators of the United States 1789–present, A chronological list of senators since the First Congress in 1789" (PDF). Senate Historical Office. April 12, 2018. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  3. ^ "Sen. Hyde-Smith joins Republicans – Daily Leader". Daily Leader. December 28, 2010. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  4. ^ The Washington Post. "Miss. governor names Cindy Hyde-Smith to replace GOP Sen. Thad Cochran. She will be first female U.S. senator from state". Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  5. ^ "Hyde-Smith becomes first woman to represent Mississippi in Congress". CNN. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
  6. ^ "5 candidates now in special US Senate race in Mississippi". Associated Press. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  7. ^ "Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith Wins Mississippi Senate Runoff". May 2, 2019 – via www.bloomberg.com.
  8. ^ "Cindy Hyde-Smith becomes 1st woman elected to Congress in Mississippi". Usatoday.com. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  9. ^ a b c Pittman, Ashton (November 23, 2018). "Hyde-Smith Attended All-White 'Seg Academy' to Avoid Integration". Jackson Free Press. Retrieved November 24, 2018. There’s “no doubt that’s why those schools were set up,” said former U.S. Rep Ronnie Shows, a Democrat who was Hyde's junior high basketball coach at Lawrence County Academy in the 1970s.
  10. ^ a b c "U.S. Senate: U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith". www.senate.gov. Retrieved November 22, 2018.
  11. ^ "Hyde-Smith: Profile". Newspapers.com. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
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  13. ^ Thompson, Marsha. "State-wide elected officials sworn in". Archived from the original on March 22, 2018. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  14. ^ Mississippi statewide, regional general election results: Initiative 42 rejected, Associated Press (November 4, 2015).
  15. ^ Mangan, Dan (March 5, 2018). "Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran says he will resign April 1, cites health issues". CNBC. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  16. ^ "Congressional Record – Orders for Monday, March 26, 2018, Through Monday, April 9, 2018". www.congress.gov.
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  18. ^ "White House opposed Republican picked to replace Cochran". POLITICO. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
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  20. ^ "Trump tweets 'total endorsement' for Mississippi senator". Washington Post. Retrieved August 31, 2018.
  21. ^ Douglas, William. (October 1, 2018). "Mississippi's Hyde-Smith is selling her D.C. ties and getting Trump's help." DC McClatchy website Retrieved October 7, 2018.
  22. ^ Amy, Jeff. Associated Press reporter. (October 7, 2018). "Analysis: Debates might aid voters, but candidates pass". Houston Chronicle website Retrieved October 9, 2018.
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  38. ^ Politi, Daniel (November 24, 2018). "Mississippi GOP Senator Sent Daughter to "Segregation Academy" With Almost No Black Students". Retrieved December 11, 2018. Hyde-Smith didn’t just go to a school that seemed expressly designed to avoid integration, she also sent her daughter to one of them.
  39. ^ "Hyde-Smith gets committee assignments". ABC 11 Newscenter. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  40. ^ "Cindy Hyde-Smith swearing in gives US Senate historic number of women". ABC News. ABC News. April 9, 2018. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
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  44. ^ "GOP leans on party switchers to keep the Senate". POLITICO. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
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  49. ^ "Rand Paul's 'Penny Plan' gets voted down – was it a real thing or a show vote? | Mississippi Politics and News – Y'all Politics". yallpolitics.com. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
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  54. ^ Bechtel, Wyatt (May 1, 2019). "Senators Reintroduce Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act". dailyherd.com.
  55. ^ Galford, Chris (July 2, 2019). "Bipartisan Senate effort seeks to ease regulation of agricultural trucking". transportationtodaynews.com.
  56. ^ "Cosponsors - S.720 - 115th Congress (2017-2018): Israel Anti-Boycott Act". www.congress.gov. March 23, 2017.
  57. ^ Levitz, Eric (July 19, 2017). "43 Senators Want to Make It a Federal Crime to Boycott Israeli Settlements". Intelligencer.
  58. ^ a b c d "Full 'Public Hanging' Video Surfaces, Revealing More About Hyde-Smith's Views". Retrieved November 27, 2018.
  59. ^ Holdren, Wendy (July 11, 2019). "Senators reintroduce Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act". register-herald.com.
  60. ^ Carney, Jordain (March 25, 2019). "Senate GOP proposes constitutional amendment to keep SCOTUS at 9 seats". The Hill.
  61. ^ St. Clair, Adrienne (April 10, 2018). "Mississippi's First Female Senator Takes Office Needing To Win Over Her Own Party". NPR. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  62. ^ "The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  63. ^ "Cindy Hyde-Smith campaign releases first web video, "Integrity"". yallpolitics.com. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  64. ^ "Pro-Life News in Brief". www.nrlc.org. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  65. ^ "The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  66. ^ McCarthy, Waverly. "Bennie Thompson, Cindy Hyde-Smith release statements on upholding of travel ban". Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  67. ^ McCarthy, Waverly. "Bennie Thompson, Cindy Hyde-Smith release statements on upholding of travel ban". Retrieved August 31, 2018.
  68. ^ "Stopping Illegal Immigration". Cindy Hyde-Smith for United States Senate. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  69. ^ "Ag Head Unhappy About Same-Sex Reversal, Vows to Pass New Law". Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  70. ^ "Dems block 'born alive' bill to provide medical care to infants who survive failed abortions". Fox News. February 25, 2019.
  71. ^ a b CNN, Eric Bradner and Andrew Kaczynski,. "Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith pushed resolution praising Confederate soldier's effort to 'defend his homeland'". CNN. Retrieved November 25, 2018.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  72. ^ Bunch, Will (November 18, 2018). "Why the blood of a 1955 Mississippi murder drenches today's U.S. Senate race". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  73. ^ Pittman, Ashton (November 23, 2018). "Hyde-Smith Attended All-White 'Seg Academy' to Avoid Integration". Jackson Free Press. Retrieved November 24, 2018.
  74. ^ Campbell, Donna (May 9, 2017). "Governor to speak at BA graduation". The Daily Leader. Retrieved November 24, 2018.
  75. ^ "'Segregation academies' are common remnants of Mississippi's troubled history". NBC News. Retrieved December 10, 2018.
  76. ^ Forgey, Quint. "Mississippi newspaper: Hyde-Smith attended segregation academy". POLITICO. Retrieved December 10, 2018.
  77. ^ "'They said I looked like Elvis,' Trump tells Tupelo before emerging like Santa in Biloxi".
  78. ^ "Qualifications & Vision". cindyhydesmith.com. Archived from the original on August 20, 2011. Retrieved August 11, 2011.

External linksEdit