JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The Republican speaker of the Mississippi House is appointing a Democrat to lead one of the top committees.
Speaker Philip Gunn says Thursday that Democratic Rep. Angela Cockerham of Magnolia is the new chairwoman of the House Judiciary B Committee. The chairmanship was previously held by Republican Andy Gipson of Braxton, who left the House last year to become state agriculture commissioner.
Cockerham is known for working across party lines with Gunn's House leadership team. In a news release, Gunn describes her as an "intelligent attorney and a hard worker." Cockerham had been chairing the Energy Committee.
Gunn is appointing Republican Rep. Gary Staples of Laurel as the new chairman of the Energy Committee. Gunn says Staples, the previous vice chairman, has "a vast understanding of the energy sector."