Cy Young’s 749 complete games pitched. Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 points basketball game. Cal Ripken Jr.’s 2,632 consecutive baseball games played.
Those are records that probably will never be broken. In Mississippi, Sen. Tommy Gollott, R- Biloxi, is working on a record that may never be broken.
On Sept. 26 of this year, Gollott will tie the late Walter Sillers Jr. as the longest serving state legislator. Sillers served for 50 years, from 1916 to his death, Sept. 26, 1966. Gollott will break the record if he serves past Sept. 26 of this year.
Gollott said recently he is looking forward to claiming the record.
When he claims the record as the longest serving lawmaker in state history, Gollott said it will be a record he doesn’t believe will be broken.
No other current legislator has more than 37 years of legislative service.
In 1967, Gollott was elected to the House of Representatives and was sworn into office in January 1968. He served in the House until his election to the Senate in 1979, taking office in January 1980.
As the body’s longest-serving member, he is affectionately called the “Dean” and “Godfather” of the Mississippi Legislature.
In 2008, Gollott’s fellow senators passed a resolution honoring him for his then 40 years of service in the Legislature.
The resolution said Gollott authored and was instrumental in passing legislation that built the Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum and Convention Center and the South Mississippi Retardation Center in Long Beach.
When he was in the House, Gollott authored the bill that enabled the purchase and preservation of 35,000 acres of the Pascagoula River System, the largest free-flowing river system in the lower 48 states.
He is also credited with legislation authorizing dockside gaming that gave rise to a tourism and economic boon on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and other areas of the state.
Gollott, once an Amateur Athletic Union boxing champ, organized the Happy Days Youth Boxing Club.
He is low-key but fights for the Gulf Coast and the state when it comes to promoting job creation.
“If you take care of the people who sent you, you will never have to worry about re-election,” Gollott said.
Gollott was a Democrat for much of his career until he switched parties in 2000.
Still, he said he doesn’t believe in partisan politics. “It shouldn’t be partisan; we need cooperation.”
Gollott said he doesn’t expect to leave the Legislature until his current term ends in 2019.