JACKSON, Miss.—Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn will not seek reelection in 2023, setting an end to his nearly 20-year legislative career and 12-year speakership. The Clinton, Miss., Republican announced his retirement from the Legislature at a House GOP Caucus meeting on Nov. 9, and will continue to serve as speaker through the 2023 legislative session.
“It has been one of the greatest honors of my life to serve as Speaker of the Mississippi House,” Gunn wrote in a statement after his announcement. “I am extremely grateful to the people of District 46 who have given me the opportunity to serve them for the last 20 years and to the members of the House who have entrusted the role of Speaker to me for 12 years. I believe we have moved Mississippi in a positive direction, and I am proud of what we have accomplished together and look forward to another productive session in 2023.”
The House will elect a new speaker at the beginning of the 2024 legislative session.
‘His Door Was Always Open’
Philip Gunn has long been a member and was once the chairman of the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, a Virginia-based conservative organization responsible for model and often controversial legislation for statehouses across the country.
During his tenure, Mississippi’s conservative legislative majority has made large cuts to the state’s income tax. Most notably, Gunn’s chamber introduced the final bill that would eventually lead to the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision that overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, allowing for full bans on abortion and other challenges to previously established 14th Amendment rights nationwide.
Legislators from both parties highlighted Speaker Philip Gunn’s role in the changing of Mississippi’s state flag in 2020, amid nationwide protests. Photo by Nick Judin
Sen. Josh Harkins, R-Flowood, lauded Gunn’s long tenure in an interview with the Mississippi Free Press. “(Gunn) has done a great job in the House: the first Republican speaker since Reconstruction. He really helped lead a change in Mississippi. I wish him the best in whatever his future endeavors are.”
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