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Philip Gunn

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Philip Gunn
61st Speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives
In office
January 3, 2012 – January 2, 2024
Preceded byWilliam McCoy
Succeeded byJason White
Member of the Mississippi House of Representatives
from the 56th district
In office
January 6, 2004 – January 2, 2024
Preceded byJep Barbour
Succeeded byClay Mansell
Personal details
Philip Anthony Gunn

(1963-01-27) January 27, 1963 (age 61)
Hattiesburg, Mississippi, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
SpouseLisa Watkins
EducationBaylor University (BBA)
University of Mississippi (JD)
WebsiteOfficial website

Philip Anthony Gunn (born January 27, 1963) is an American politician from the U.S. state of Mississippi. A member of the Republican Party, Gunn was the Speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives and represented the 56th district. He served in the Mississippi House beginning in 2004 and became Speaker in 2012. Gunn was the first Republican to serve as Speaker of the Mississippi House since 1876. He left office in 2024.

Early life and education[edit]

Gunn graduated from high school in Clinton, Mississippi. He attended Baylor University, where he was a walk-on for the Baylor Bears football team. He graduated from Baylor with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1985.[1]



Gunn is pro-life and supports a ban on abortion. He cites his "personal belief" that abortion should not be allowed in any case.[2] that child rape victims should be forced to carry their rapists's babies as he personally opposes abortion access in all cases.[3]


Gunn worked as a waiter for a year and then attended the University of Mississippi School of Law, where he graduated with a Juris Doctor. He served as president of the student government while attending law school.[4]


Gunn was encouraged to run for election to the Mississippi House of Representatives in 2003, due to redistricting that hurt Clinton. He faced incumbent fellow Republican Jep Barbour, the nephew of Haley Barbour.[4] Gunn lost the primary election by 17 votes, but found an error in how the districts were drawn, disenfranchising some voters.[5] A re-vote was scheduled,[6] and Gunn won by 155 votes. Barbour appealed the re-vote to the Mississippi Supreme Court, which ruled in Gunn's favor in April 2004.[7]


The Republicans became the majority of the Mississippi House following the 2011 elections, and Gunn was chosen to be their candidate for Speaker by the Republican delegation; he won the position with no opposing votes when the whole House convened on January 3, 2012.[8][9] Gunn became the first Republican Speaker of the Mississippi House since Isaac Shadd, who served as Speaker from 1874 through 1876.[8][9]

Following the Charleston church shooting in June 2015 and subsequent discussion of the flying of the "Confederate Battle Flag" at the South Carolina State House, Gunn publicly called for the removal of the Confederate Battle Flag from the flag of Mississippi,[10] which was added to the flag by lawmakers in 1894.[11][12]

After the resignation of Senator Thad Cochran in March 2018, it became speculated that Governor Bryant would name Gunn as Cochran's successor.[13]


On November 9, 2022, Gunn announced he would not be seeking re-election to the State House in 2023.[14]


Gunn's sister and parents were killed in a motor vehicle accident caused by a drunk driver.[4]

Gunn met his wife, Lisa (née Watkins), while he attended Baylor. The couple has four children. Gunn serves as an elder in his church.[4]


  1. ^ "Pro Texana Medal of service". Baylor Magazine, Fall 2012 | Baylor University. October 3, 2012. Retrieved June 17, 2023.
  2. ^ "12-Year-Old Incest Victims Should Birth Dad's Child, Says Speaker Gunn". Mississippi Free Press. June 29, 2022. Retrieved June 30, 2022.
  3. ^ WDAM 7 - Speaker Philip Gunn Responds | Facebook | By WDAM 7 | WATCH LIVE: Speaker Philip Gunn is set to respond after, in a landmark decision, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. https://bit.ly/3u1VYMl, retrieved June 30, 2022 {{citation}}: External link in |title= (help)
  4. ^ a b c d "2012–13 Baylor University Meritorious Achievement Awards // Pro Texana Medal of service: Philip Gunn, BBA '85". Baylor Magazine. Baylor.edu. October 3, 2012. Retrieved October 17, 2013.
  5. ^ "Gunn Says Some House District 56 Voters Disenfranchised – MSNewsNow.com – Jackson, MS". MSNewsNow.com. October 12, 2013. Retrieved October 17, 2013.
  6. ^ "Voters to Decide Barbour-Gunn Battle – MSNewsNow.com – Jackson, MS". MSNewsNow.com. October 12, 2013. Archived from the original on March 6, 2018. Retrieved October 17, 2013.
  7. ^ "Miss. justices favor map in vote dispute". The Advocate. Baton Rouge, Louisiana. April 10, 2004. Retrieved October 17, 2013. (subscription required)
  8. ^ a b Amy, Jeff (November 15, 2011). "Republican representatives to support Gunn's bid for speaker – The Dispatch". Cdispatch.com. Retrieved October 17, 2013.
  9. ^ a b Emily Wagster Pettus (January 3, 2012). "Brown chosen as No. 2 in Senate". The Dispatch. Retrieved October 17, 2013.
  10. ^ Hendrix, Steve (January 20, 2019). "A new Mississippi flag has a surprising champion: A segregationist's grandchild". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on January 22, 2019.
  11. ^ Wagster Pettus, Emily; Galofaro, Claire (June 22, 2015). "Top lawmaker: Remove Confederate sign from Mississippi flag". Associated Press. Retrieved June 23, 2015.
  12. ^ Hall, Sam R. (February 23, 2016). "Despicable Image Shows Why Mississippi Needs New Flag". The Clarion Ledger. Mississippi. Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  13. ^ "Sen. Thad Cochran is resigning — opening up another Republican seat this November". Vox. March 5, 2018. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  14. ^ Wagster Pettus, Emily (November 9, 2022). "Mississippi House speaker not seeking reelection in 2023". Associated Press. Retrieved November 10, 2022.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives
Succeeded by