Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves is on the campaign trail in his bid for Governor and News Mississippi sat down with him to discuss his place on the Republican ticket, as well as, several key issues which he believes are vital to Mississippi’s success.
Reeves recently took off on a state-wide campaign announcement tour to speak with Mississippians and receive their feedback on the state, something which he says reaffirms his stance to ensure that Mississippi’s values are held in check and that the will of liberal extremists is not imparted to the state of Mississippi and its citizens.
Reeves said he believes the state is headed in the right direction citing the lowest unemployment rate in the state’s history.
“When I envision what we are going to look like four and eight years from now we will have continued economic growth, we will see per-capita incomes at the highest level ever in our state and the way that we are going to get there is by not only focusing on job creation and focusing on economic development, but also by ensuring that our workforce has the skills that they need to provide the jobs of the next 50 years rather than the jobs of the past 50 years,” said Reeves.
While Reeves said a large portion of the ideas he has for the state will be building off of the work Governor Bryant has done, he says there will be changes along the way.
“You don’t know what you don’t know until you actually get into the program, but there will be a lot of improvements,” said Reeves.
Specifically, Reeves said he believes there should be multiple economic plans for the different areas in the state.
“I don’t believe that what’s best economically for the Gulf Coast is necessarily best for Forest, or for Scott County. So, what you will see us attempt to do, is put in place a situation where we focus on our small towns.”
Reeves cited the heartbeat bill that was passed during the 2019 legislative session and said he will be focusing on making Mississippi the safest place for an unborn child and will look to fight the battle as long as needed in court.
“I’m sure that we’re going to get sued as it relates to the heartbeat bill, and whatever monies we spend defending those babies in court, I think, is money well spent,” Reeves said.
Infrastructure remains a key issue for Mississippi and Reeves says he will work to gather more funding for it, however, he says there is no need for a gas tax.
“People forget that during my eight years as Lieutenant Goverspente’ve spend $9.6 billion over that eight years just at the Department of Transportation,” said Reeves. “That doesn’t include all of the individual projects we funded in the state budget. We’ve spent well over $10 billion over the last eight years.”
He added that the majority of the money from the recently passed BRIDGE Act was used to fix infrastructure at the city and county level.
“We are going to continue to invest in infrastructure,” said Reeves. “I just think that we can invest in infrastructure without raising anybody’s taxes. We’ve proved we can do it in the special session last year. I think we can continue to do it, but we will have to prioritize.”
He continued saying that another point of investment needs to be in the state’s water and sewer system. In the end, however, Reeves says prioritizing issues needs to take place.
“We’ve got to reassess what we’re spending taxpayer money on and we’ve got to prioritize,” says Reeves. “There are a lot of dollars being spent on various things across Mississippi that are probably good things, but in a lot of instances it’s not a proper role of government, it’s not the function of government to spend money on those things. Infrastructure is a core function of government and we need to allocate more of our resources to it.”
Reeves restated his stance on raising the gas tax saying it hurts working Mississippians more than it hurts the wealthy people in the state. There have been strong opinions on the expansion of Medicaid, on the campaign trail with Former Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr., and Representative Robert Foster, both Republicans, along with Democrat Attorney General Jim Hood sauomg they are in favor of expanding Medicaid. While Foster and Waller have both been careful to call it Medicaid reform, Waller suggested using a similar plan to Vice President Mike Pence’s Indiana Medicaid reform legislation. Reeves says if he’s elected he won’t look to expand Medicaid in the state.
“We don’t need more government programs, we don’t need 300,000 more Mississippians on Obamacare,” said Reeves. “What we need is we need more people working, earning higher wages and if you are in a good private sector job, then you can get healthcare to go along with it.”
He added that issues with Medicaid and healthcare in the state lands with affordability not accessibility.