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Meet the candidates in today's runoff

January 31, 2011

John M. Caldwell Sr.
Mike Tagert

John Caldwell Sr.

Born the seventh of nine children to Elizabeth and Joe Caldwell, John Caldwell lives in Nesbit just a few miles down the road from land once farmed by his family. He is a deacon at the First Baptist Church in Nesbit.
John is married to Lee Perkins Caldwell of Salem, Ark. They married while attending Arkansas State University where they both earned their bachelor of science degrees in 1983.
She is an educator with Desoto County Schools and mother of their four grown children, Jennifer, John (J.C.), Cannon and Daniel.
Lee and John made Nesbit home for their family in 1987 after four years of service with the U.S. Marine Corps. John began his military career enlisting in the Marine reserves in 1981.
While working his way through college he entered the officer program. He experienced combat as an infantry platoon commander in Desert Storm and
again during two tours in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
He was awarded the Bronze Star and has commanded an artillery battalion with batteries in Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas.
He is currently the deputy commander of 14th Marines Artillery Regiment as a reserve colonel.
During his seven years as the Transportation Director for Desoto County Schools, John has managed a multimillion dollar budget and safely led over 400 employees in transporting 18,000 students per day on 368 school buses.
John secured the Republican nomination for Transportation Commissioner in 2003 while activated for military service.
He also served two consecutive terms as Desoto County’s first Republican county supervisor.

Mike Tagert

Mike Tagert is president of the Tenn-Tom Waterway Development Council.
After his service in the U.S. Marine Corps, Tagert worked his way through Millsaps College, completing a bachelor of science degree. He then received a master of science degree and master of public policy and administration degree at Mississippi State University.
From there, Tagert pursued a career embracing both public and private sectors, serving as a special projects officer for the Department of Agriculture and Commerce, as executive director of the State Bureau of Plant Industry, as a member of the Alabama Intermodal Infrastructure Advisory Board, as vice president of the Coalition of Alabama Waterway Associations, and as the vice president of Inland Rivers, Ports and Terminals, Inc.
Also, he serves as a member of the Trade and Transportation Advisory Council for the Federal
Reserve Bank of Atlanta and as the leading economic development manager for the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.
While leading the Waterway’s economic development and promotional efforts, some of Tagert’s other accomplishments include the successful designation of the Marine Highway (M-65) Corridor, spearheading various legislative initiatives including Mississippi’s Interstate Pest Control Compact, and signing a recent international agreement with the Panama Canal Authority to promote future trade and transportation via the Gulf of Mexico and Northeast Mississippi.
Tagert is a Republican, and is active in a number of civic organizations in North Mississippi including the Red Cross and the Starkville Area Arts Council.
Tagert is married to the former Mary Love Mortimer of Kilmichael. They are the proud parents of Frances, 4, and Harlan, 3. They live in Starkville and are active members of the First United Methodist Church.

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