Andy Taggart, former chief of staff to Gov. Kirk Fordice, spoke to the Greenwood Drug Court graduates recently about the tragic death of his son, Brad, two years ago, who at the age of 21 was privately struggling with drug addiction. Today, Taggart is on a mission to warn others of the dangers of drugs and offer support to those struggling to overcome addiction.
I have kept up with Taggart since his days of working for Fordice and his years after his service in state government. He had a blog in the Clarion Ledger for a time where he commented on politics. He is also the co-author of Mississippi Politics: The Struggle for Power, I have always enjoyed his writings even though we are from two different political parties. He is very knowledgeable about Mississippi government, past and present. When I learned of the death of his son in July 2012, I thought it was such a tragedy for a young life to end so soon. I didn't know Andy Taggart on a personal level, but I felt like I did because of reading his writings over the last decade and keeping up with him through the news media.
Taggart’s mission to help warn others about the dangers of addiction is a ministry that helps save lives, and it is an inspiration to those struggling with substance abuse. The emotional and difficult task of Taggart to speaking to others about his son shows his determination to help save lives and prevent families from going through the same horrible experience. Giving his testimony about how substance abuse can end a young life takes a special person.
Every parent wants the best for their child -- to grow up in a safe environment, become parents themselves, and lead a productive and healthy life. I have witnessed through my professional career the devastation drugs can cause, even ending a life too soon. I have seen those with so much promise make one wrong decision that led to a downward spiral.
Through the years, Taggart had me engaged with his insightful commentary on politics, and I knew he was sincere with his opinions. His sincerity in saving is apparent in his testimony of personal tragedy as a parent, and that shows the character of a compassionate servant committed to helping others. That is a commendable mission.
Ken Strachan is a former mayor of North Carrollton and serves as Carroll County coroner.