Conservative lawmakers discuss void left by Andy Gipson's vacanc - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Conservative lawmakers discuss void left by Andy Gipson's vacancy in the Mississippi House

With Gipson officially out of the legislature, his former colleagues say his absence will be felt. Source: MDAC With Gipson officially out of the legislature, his former colleagues say his absence will be felt. Source: MDAC
With Gipson officially out of the legislature, his former colleagues say his absence will be felt. Source: WLBT With Gipson officially out of the legislature, his former colleagues say his absence will be felt. Source: WLBT
With Gipson officially out of the legislature, his former colleagues say his absence will be felt. Source: WLBT With Gipson officially out of the legislature, his former colleagues say his absence will be felt. Source: WLBT
With Gipson officially out of the legislature, his former colleagues say his absence will be felt. Source: WLBT With Gipson officially out of the legislature, his former colleagues say his absence will be felt. Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Andy Gipson has taken on some of the legislature's most controversial issues since joining in 2008. Now, his fellow conservatives are unsure on how the void will be filled.

They say someone else will now have to take up the torch on those hot-button issues.

"I stood in the well of the House for seven years and fought as hard as I could fight for the issues I was assigned to defend and to pass," said Gipson during Thursday's announcement of his Commissioner of Agriculture appointment.

READ MORE: Andy Gipson sworn in as eighth Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce

With Gipson officially out of the legislature, his former colleagues say his absence will be felt.

"What I don't want is a hole left in the legislature where we can't get conservative bills," noted Rep. Becky Currie. "The one thing that we all depended on Andy for was that we knew when we took our very conservative bills, Andy Gipson was never afraid to take them on."

As Rep. Gary Chism notes, those bills often put Gipson squarely into the midst of controversy.

"He'll take on any challenge," said Chism. "He did get threats."

As chairman of the judiciary B committee, Gipson stood firm in his position through a lengthy open carry debate in 2013. He sponsored a criminal justice reform bill that introduced mandatory minimums for several crimes the next year. And he was often the point person for questions about the controversial religious liberty bill in 2016.

WATCH: Andy Gipson sworn in as eighth Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce

This session, he continued to fight for limiting abortions in the state.

"I think anybody that steps into that role they realize that all of the major issues go through that committee," Currie said.

Now, fellow Republicans say they'll have a new challenge.

"We need to keep ourselves accountable and I think that's what the conservative coalition does," Curried explained. "I'm going to lead that one more year. With that void with Andy there, I think it's our turn to step up and make sure we get some really good legislative passed."

"We're going to have to step up and try to help whoever is up there trying to carry the ball for us," added Chism. "We're going to have to be more of a team since we've lost such a dynamic chairman as Andy Gipson."

Governor Bryant has not yet set the special election details to fill the House District 77 seat which encompasses parts of Simpson and Rankin counties.

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