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Delta Business Journal: Deltan becomes head of Republican Party

From the Delta Business Journal:

Back during the Musgrove administration, Jon Levingston of Clarksdale was Chairman of the Mississippi Democratic Party. Today, another Clarksdale native, Joe Nosef is Chairman of the Mississippi Republican Party. Now, Clarksdale is not only known for blues music, but it has also generated some of the sharpest political minds. While Joe Nosef may live in Jackson now, his roots will always be in the Mississippi Delta.

Nosef was born and raised in Clarksdale, where he graduated from Lee Academy in 1987. His father, Joe Sr. was the Mayor of Clarksdale before his untimely death in 1975, and his mother, Joyce, still works in the Clarksdale public school system, where she has worked for over 40 years. His mother eventually remarried, Grant McAlexander, who has been in the banking business for over 40 years.

After high school, he packed up and headed to Oxford to attend Ole Miss. He received a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in accounting, and continued his education by attending law school there.

“I became interested in law because I had many family members in the legal profession, and also because many of our public servants are lawyers,” says Nosef.

After Ole Miss Law, Nosef traveled to the University of Florida School of Law where he received an LL.M in taxation. He now practices law with Watkins and Eager PLLC in Jackson, where he has been for a total of eight years. He began with the firm in the late 90’s before leaving to get involved in politics. He returned in late 2008 and is primarily interested in business law, business transactions, economic development projects, estate planning and tax issues.

Nosef’s political interests go back to his childhood.

“I remember very vividly when Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980, and much of that campaign molded how I felt about major issues like the role of government generally,” he says. “Because of my belief in a more limited government that isn’t seen as the answer to ever socioeconomic problem we face, I am a conservative Republican.”

Nosef has been involved in several campaigns, even one of his own. He served as chief counsel for Governor Barbour and chief of staff for then Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant. Nosef was recently voted unanimously as the Chairman of the Mississippi Republic party by the Mississippi Republican Party’s Executive Committee. He took the place of Chairman Arnie Hederman, who recently resigned.

“I am honored to be only the 11th chairman of the State Republican Party in the history of Mississippi. This is particularly significant considering the historic nature of our party’s control of state government,” he said. “The Republican Party has an opportunity that we’ve never had before, and with that comes a great responsibility. In addition, I am very close to and have a great respect for our Governor Phil Bryant. Without his support, I would not be in this position.”

Bryant has continued to be supportive of Noself earning the position. “I have worked with Joe for years, and I am confident that he is the person to lead our party forward. He has proven his ability to work with Republicans all over the state and will be able to get our message out with strong communication skills,” says Bryant.

Although he has only been in this position a short time, Nosef already has big plans for the Republican party. He believes that the main challenges the party faces are governing and growing.

“Now that we are in control of the government, we have to make sure our policies are consistent with our beliefs,” he says. “If we promote the correct policies, then the politics will take care of itself. Also, we need to make sure not to be satisfied with our success. There is significant room for growth particularly on the local level where many conservative officials still run as Democrats.”

Living in Jackson may have a lot to offer, but there is something that the Delta has that the metropolitan doesn’t, and Nosef misses it—Abe’s Barbecue in Clarksdale.

“Also, I miss seeing my family and friends—especially my mother and step father who still live in Clarksdale,” he says.

Despite juggling practicing law and running the Mississippi Republican Party, Nosef still finds time to give back to the community. He has served on the board of directors of The Salvation Army, the Metro Jackson YMCA, Young Business Leaders of Jackson (interdenominational businessmen’s Christian ministry), Jackson Young Lawyers Associated, SafeCity Initiative, Ballet Mississippi, the Hinds County Economic Development District Board of Trustees, and the Marsha Barbour Community Center on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

He is also an advisory Board member of the Mississippi Children’s Museum, and he graduated from the Mississippi Economic Council’s Leadership Mississippi program in 1999. In 2001, he was recognized as one of the “Top 40 Under 40” businessmen in Mississippi by the Mississippi Business Journal. Nosef is a member of The Clarion Ledger editorial board, and he regularly contributes a guest column.

He and his wife Amy have been married for 17 years, and they have two children, Rebecca and Lindsey, in the 6th grade and 8th grade at Jackson Academy.

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