The first gubernatorial debate has been set. The College Republicans at Mississippi State University will host a Republican primary debate in conjunction with the MSU Department of Political Science and Public Administration. The debate will take place at 6:30 p.m. on April 2 on MSU’s campus in Lee Hall’s Bettersworth Auditorium.
Gubernatorial candidates Bill Waller Jr, former Chief Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court, and State Representative Robert Foster have agreed to participate in the debate. However, Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves declined to participate due to a scheduling conflict.
“I am pleased to know Chief Justice Waller has decided to participate in a debate so the voters can make an educated decision on how to cast their vote at the ballot box,” said Foster. “At the same time, it should be concerning to the voters not to be afforded the same from all gubernatorial candidates running in the Republican primary.”
Waller echoed Foster’s thoughts on the debate saying he looks forward to the debate.
“I’m looking forward to being back at my alma mater, Mississippi State, and I appreciate the students stepping out and hosting this debate,” said Waller. “This will be a great opportunity for the candidates present to discuss important issues. We need to bring new ideas to tackle the challenges facing our state.”
Adam Sabes, chairman of the College Republicans at Mississippi State, said that he and the others planning the debate reached out to the Reeves camp, but were unable to agree on a date.
“We understand that Lt. Governor Reeves has a very busy schedule,” Sabes said. “We have done everything in our power to schedule an event that he would be able to attend.”
Jonathan Bailey, chairman of the debate committee, described the organization’s purpose in hosting the debate.
“Our chapter and the other chapters of College Republicans represent the future of this state,” Bailey said. “We desire to encourage discussion and civil debate among our leaders.”
All statewide primary elections will take place on August 5th, 2019. The College Republicans want to begin the primary season by asking candidates to discuss the issues.
“We want to thank Justice Waller and Representative Foster, as well as their campaigns, for working with us to bring a well-needed discussion of issues and policy to our state,” Sabes said. “We hope that all of the candidates, including Lt. Governor Reeves, will seek to find opportunities to have serious conversations about improving our great state.”