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Stay or go?
Pickering to announce by Monday

By Staff
from staff and wire reports
June 29, 2003
JACKSON U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering plans to announce by Monday if he will stay in Congress or take a higher-paying job as head of a Washington-based telecommunications trade group.
Mississippi Republican Party Chairman Jim Herring said he had two sources neither of them Pickering who said that the GOP congressman will keep his 3rd District U.S. House seat.
Herring said that Pickering's confirmation about his purchase of a home in Madison County and his decision to move his family there is a key signal of the congressman's decision.
But Brian Perry, a spokesman for Pickering, said that the congressman's planned purchase of a small farm outside Flora is unrelated to his decision whether to take the job with the trade group.
Pickering said last week he is considering taking a job as president of the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association which pays more than $1 million a year in salary and benefits.
Pickering, 39, married and with five sons, earns $154,700 annually as a congressman. He said in a prepared statement that he was considering making a move, "but my family and I have not made a decision."
The GOP congressman won re-election to the 3rd District last fall after a hotly contested race that pitted him against Democratic U.S. Rep. Ronnie Shows.
Shows had represented the 4th District. He was thrown into a race against Pickering when congressional redistricting required the state to lose one of its five U.S. House districts.
Pickering's announcement last week sent Republican leaders lobbying him to stay in office. Pickering has represented the 3rd District since 1997, replacing former U.S. Rep. G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery.
Pickering, whose five sons range in age from 4 to 13, had moved his family to suburban Washington early in his career to be closer to his wife and children.