Simmons graduated from Hinds County Agricultural High School, Utica Junior College and Alcorn State University and entered the workforce as a school teacher during the turbulent sixties. He was drafted into the United States Army and is a proud combat veteran of the Vietnam War. After his military service in Vietnam, Simmons met and married his wife of forty-seven years, Rose Sibley Simmons. They made their home in Bolivar County, Cleveland, Mississippi. They have four children: Avery, Christopher, Reginald, Sarita and ten grandchildren.
Simmons began his seventeen-year career in state service at the Mississippi Department of Corrections and rose through the ranks to become Deputy Commissioner of Corrections. During this time, he furthered his education at Delta State University where he received a M.S. Degree in Guidance and Counseling and an Ed.S. Degree in Counseling and Administration.
Simmons is a member of Solomon Chapel A.M.E. Church where he serves as a trustee; life member of Alcorn State University Alumni, 2019 ASU Alumni of the Year; life member of Delta State University Alumni; life member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated; life member of the NAACP; life member of the National Council of Negro Women; member of the National Democratic Party Platform Committee and as such introduced and successfully adopted the “Poverty Eradication Initiative” which was utilized in President Barak Obama’s Administration.
Simmons is the chief operating officer of Simmons and Associates Consulting Firm and the owner of The Senator’s Place, a soul food restaurant located in Cleveland, Mississippi.
Like a proud parent, Simmons is pleased that The Senator’s Place was featured on the CNN program, “Anthony Boudain: Parts Unknown,” formerly hosted by renowned chef and food expert Anthony Boudain.
As vice chairman of the Public Health and Welfare Committee, Simmons fought diligently to protect and adequately fund the state Medicaid program to ensure that the needed medical services were available and accessible for Mississippi’s seniors, mothers, infants, children and disabled populations. He led the charge from the Senate to secure the first state appropriation of twenty million dollars to fund our fifteen federally qualified health centers and their more than twenty satellites which are located statewide and that monetary commitment continues to this day.
Simmons served as chairman of the Corrections Committee which set policy and provided oversight for the state and private prisons and community support services for the corrections system. He led the charge from the Senate to change the “Truth In Sentencing” law which has helped to give many inmates with long sentences a second chance to reenter society and this change helped to save the state millions of dollars.
Under his leadership in the Senate, over five billion dollars have been spent throughout the state on the construction and upgrade of federal and state roads, county and municipal streets and bridges; also, millions of dollars on public transit, ports, docks, railroads, airports, safety lights, safety signs and other infrastructure support systems. He personally worked to get projects such as three million dollars to repair the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in Jackson; one million dollars to upgrade and repair Highway 8 in Cleveland; four million dollars to enhance Highway 552 at Alcorn State University in Lorman; one million dollars for Terrace Landing in Rosedale; ten million dollars for the Highway 82 Bypass at Leland; almost two million dollars for the repair and upgrade to Parks Road in Drew; eleven million dollars to improve Highway 14 in Sharkey County; four million two hundred thousand dollars to upgrade Highway 61 from Boyle Street to Hadley Street in Cleveland; one million dollars for street repair in Indianola and Simmons led the charge to make sure that over the next ten years, one billion dollars will be earmarked from the State Lottery proceeds to enhance, repair, rebuild and maintain infrastructure systems and local transportation.
Throughout his life, Simmons has built relationships and cultivated resources to increase success and empowerment for the communities in which he has lived and for the people he has served. Habakkuk 2 teaches us to STAND upon our watch and WAIT to see what the Lord will tell us. The Lord said to WRITE the VISION down and make it PLAIN, so when it is READ, we can run with the VISION.
Future Forward Initiative
• Increase funding for the transportation infrastructure system by $3,000,000,000.00 annually. I will use my 26 years of experience as a senator to collaborate with our Legislators, supervisors, mayors and business leaders to increase our user fees and other ways and means.
• Encourage the Legislature to enact a second phase of the Emergency Bridge Act by passing a $250,000,000 bond in 2020 for that purpose.
• Build a four lane highway bypass at Port Gibson to complete the 1987 AHEAD four lane program.
• Complete the Highway 82 bypass in Washington County.
• Overlay Highway 25 from Brandon to Louisville.
• Four lane Highway 27 from I-20 at Vicksburg to I-55 at Crystal Springs.
• Four lane Highway 15 from I-20 at Newton to Highway 25 at Louisville.
• Upgrade Highway 61 to a Historic Scenic Route Highway status.
• Four lane Highway 16 from Highway 49 at Yazoo to Philadelphia.
• Complete Highway 19 four lane from Meridian to Philadelphia.
• Four lane Highway 49 West from Highway 82 at Indianola to Highway 49 East at Tutwiler.
• Construct a bypass at Philadelphia.
• Enhance Highway 18 from Port Gibson to Raymond as an evacuation route from Grand Gulf.
• Create safe work zones for MDOT workers and contractors.
• Increase MDOT’s employee wages.
• Increase funding for our public transit, rails, ports and airports.
• Create a Capitol City Transportation Board consisting of representation from MDOT, USDOT, Hinds County Board of Supervisors, City of Jackson and the Central Mississippi Planning and Development District to assist Jackson, the state’s capitol city to rebuild its infrastructure.
• Increase funding for our public transit, rails, ports and airports.
• Keep our Central District highways beautiful by cutting the grass regularly.
• Keep our Central District highways clean by picking up the litter regularly.
Simmons has accomplished many goals during his legislative service because of the talent and the vision that God has granted him.
He organized the committee that allowed Mississippi to receive forty million dollars for the Mid Delta Empowerment Zone. He led the charge to defeat House Bill 974 that would have taken all of our state employees from under the State Personnel Board protections.
He secured eight hundred thousand dollar for water and sewer repairs in Charleston and thousands of dollars to improve McKnight Road at Renova.
As chairman of Highways and Transportation, Simmons secured funds to continue the Lakeland Drive/Highway 25 project in Hinds and Rankin Counties.