“I enjoy helping people and strongly believe the growth of Montgomery County has more potential than ever,” Harper said. “My mom, (the late) Annie Jean Campbell, influenced me a lot on becoming Supervisor by her willingness to learn and listen to the voters. Also, I love Montgomery County and the people keeps me focused. I love what I do.”
Harper said her mother was a role model for her and the work she is doing today for Montgomery County.
“My mom saw the community as one big family and she believed if we all come together we can do great things here,” Harper said. “She started attending the board meetings because our road needed some work and she didn’t stop until it was paved.”
After the road was paved, Campbell continued to attend the meetings and came home one day and said “I want to serve my community and I believe I can” and SHE DID!
“That had a profound effect on me, seeing what she accomplished and just believing I can make a difference too,” Harper said. “People often approach me and ask different things, I tell them if I can’t help you I will direct you to where you may can get some help.”
Her mom was the first, and Harper is the second African-American woman to hold the position of Montgomery County Supervisor. Harper describes it as “an awesome accomplishment.”
“Especially when it is predominately men elected to this position and… it is sometimes overwhelming,” Harper said. “There are so many people in the community that text, call and come by just to say they are proud of me and are praying for me. That means a lot to me.”
Harper takes great pride in the fact that she is seen as a role model in this position.
“My hope is that all women and little girls strive to achieve whatever position in life that they want and to know there are no limits to what you can achieve,” Harper said.
One of her major accomplishments thus far in her supervisor position has been selecting Poor House Road for the paving program, which is a shortcut that many use from Kilmichael to Winona. Also, the trip to Washington D.C. last year that she took with the Winona Main Street Director (and former co-worker) Sue Stidham took to talk with the Nation’s Leaders about Montgomery County and to see what’s available and any moneys or ideas that can be utilized for the community.
“I am so proud to have been elected by the Board as the first female Vice-President of Montgomery County,” Harper said. “Most of all, I am proud to be getting out in the community and talking with everyone about the needs of our County.”
Harper said the four other supervisors and the chancery clerk are great people to run this county with.
“We may not agree on everything but we are together on everything,” Harper said. “We listen and we talk about the things to improve our county. I can honestly say, I have no doubt that God placed me right here and to everyone that voted for me, thanks for the trust you placed in me. Keith McGee, Edwin Taylor, Willie Townsend, Jr., Ron Wood and I are on the move for Montgomery County.”
And there is still a lot to do.
“As a team, the supervisors are seeking grants, improving our infrastructure and opening of the railway in hopes of other businesses locating here,” Harper said. “We believe with the help of our Mayors, Economic Director, and our other Civic Groups and especially with the help of our citizens, we can improve and grow our community. I am dedicated to being a good steward over the taxpayer’s money and using it wisely.”
Before being elected Supervisor, Harper worked for the Montgomery County Economic Development Partnership for 11 years.
“It prepared me for some of the operation of the county business and also gave me the opportunity to build a relationship with my now co-workers and all the elected officials,” Harper said. “I also have a clear understanding of how Economic Development works so I can better serve Montgomery County.”
“Janet, as I know her, is a leader with heart and strength for Montgomery County,” said Sue Stidham, Winona Main Street Director and former co-worker. “She serves with enthusiasm and works to grow our County and the area. She is very much a team player and every citizen matters to her! I respect her and the entire Board to guide us in a positive direction.”
Harper graduated from Kilmichael High School in 1988. She attended the Academy of Secretaries in Jackson in 1989. Harper also helped lead and participated in Operation Jumpstart Entrepreneurial Class with the Economic Development Partnership in 2011 and attended conferences and seminars throughout the years. Operation Jumpstart was a class on how to start your own business with all the guidelines.
“Also as supervisor, I have been faithful in going to our statewide conferences each year learning what is new and necessary in county business and operating the many areas from budgets to updates on road and bridge policies,” Harper said.
Harper is the wife of Sergeant First Class Jimmy L. Harper and they have four children and two grandchildren. They belong to New Green Grove Church of Faith in Greenwood, where Jimmy is one of the ministers on staff.
In addition to her work with Montgomery County, Harper serves on the 51-55 Water Association Board and she is a board member for Hill Fire. Harper has also served on the Federal Selective Service Board for the past six years which is a federally funded board. She is a Rotarian, a member of the Mississippi Minority Caucus, a board member for North Central Planning and Development and North East Development Workforce Board.