Despite a stellar career as primarily a tax lawyer and a man with a truly impressive resume of civic and charitable work, Delbert Hosemann wasn’t exactly a household name. When he decided to seek the office of secretary of state in 2007, the New Orleans native who spent most of his childhood in Vicksburg was faced with the daunting task of building name identification for a name that was a little hard to say and a little difficult to remember.
Enter a little lady named Dorothy Deavers sitting on a park bench who over the course of multiple TV commercials called Hosemann Filbert, Wilbert, Engelbert, Dilbert, Gilbert, and Eggbert - basically anything but Delbert – and the rest was history. “Ma’am, it’s Delbert” was Hosemann’s line and he delivered it repeatedly and well.
Produced by Scott Howell & Company, the Hosemann TV ads were literally some of the most memorable in Mississippi’s storied political history. For many, the ad introduced them to a serious man who didn’t take himself too seriously.
Let’s hope Hosemann has held onto his sense of humor. Hosemann will be the main course during the 24th annual Mississippi Press Association Education Foundation Celebrity Roast on Feb. 7 at the Jackson Hilton.
Hosemann was elected as secretary of state in 2007. He earned his undergraduate degree from Notre Dame, a law degree from Ole Miss, and a Masters of Laws in Taxation from New York University. He is a former partner of Phelps Dunbar. Hosemann also served in the U.S. Army Reserves.
He has served as chairman of the board of Mississippi Blood Services and treasurer of the Jackson Medical Mall Association. He also served on the board of directors for Jackson State University Development Foundation.
Hosemann is an avid hunter and marathoner. He belongs to the National Rifle Association, Delta Wildlife Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, and the Mississippi Wildlife Federation. He has completed both the New York Marathon and the Boston Marathon and represented Mississippi in the Senior Olympics.
The annual event is held under the auspices of the MPA Education Foundation, which was established in 1983 to provide internships and scholarships for aspiring journalists and grants for instructional programs at in-state universities and colleges. Over the last two-plus decades, the event has raised thousands of dollars to benefit the scholarship, internship and grant programs of MPAEF.
Prior honorees during the three-decade history of the MPA roast have included Sen. Thad Cochran, former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, former Gov. Haley Barbour, Gov. Phil Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, Mississippi State University president Mark Keenum, former Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck, the late U.S. Rep. Sonny Montgomery, Tupelo banker and College Board president Aubrey Patterson, former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Reuben Anderson, journalists W.C. Shoemaker, Rick Cleveland and Bill Minor, the late Choctaw Chief Phillip Martin and the late entertainer Jerry Clower.
"Roasters" include: Clarion-Ledger political writer Geoff Pender; State Rep. Steve Holland, D-Tupelo; Hosemann’s former campaign manager Casey Phillips; friend David Russell; and Pulitzer Prize-nominated Clarion-Ledger editorial cartoonist Marshall Ramsey.
The 24th annual Roast to benefit the MPA Education Foundation will be held Jan. 30 at the Jackson Marriott Downtown. A reception will be held at 6 p.m.; dinner begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $80 each or a table of eight is available for $600. For more information, access www.mspress.org or call 601-981-3060.
(Daily Corinthian columnist Sid Salter is syndicated across the state. Contact him at 601-507-8004 or email@example.com.)