After serving two terms as lieutenant governor, Tate Reeves will make his run for governor on Election Day this November. Democratic State Representative Jay Hughes and Republican Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann will run against each other for Reeves’ position. The two nominees debated tonight in Jackson.
While it was just half an hour long, both candidates in the race for lieutenant governor had plenty to say in their debate, such as who was born with what spoon in their mouth. Democrat Jay Hughes said, “While others were born with a silver spoon in their mouth, I was born with a plastic spoon in mine.”
Republican Delbert Hosemann said, “I think if he was born with a plastic spoon in his mouth that was probably difficult for his mother.”
The two went back and forth on various topics including spending a good amount of time on pay increases for teachers. Hosemann is concerned that teachers will leave the state for better pay while Hughes wants the focus shifted towards all employees at school, not just teachers. Hosemann said, “So, our first goal will be to have our initial starting teachers at at least the average of the surrounding states so they’re making decisions to stay in Mississippi .”
Hughes said, “We got to look at education as a whole and we’ve got to get back to common sense instead of common core. We need less standardized testing. We need better pay for everyone in the school system, not just teachers.”
Staying on the subject of pay, both candidates were questioned about Mississippi’s minimum wage, which sits at $7.25 an hour and hasn’t been raised since 2008. Hughes said, “It’s time to raise the minimum wage. It does make a difference. It’s going to lift us out of last place, or first place, in poverty.”
Hosemann said, “There’s no need to set a minimum wage. Our workers need those startup jobs and our individual companies will provide that.”
A big topic of discussion was the plan for the state’s infrastructure which is considered one of the worst in the entire country. Both candidates agree that improvement is an immediate need. However, they both believe the funding should come from elsewhere. Hosemann said, “I want to push our economy back to the counties. Mississippi is run in the counties. It’s not run in the capitol. Why take money in here and charge five, 10, or 20 percent overhead when the really need it at the local level. There are 436 bridges out. Those bridges are in the counties.”
Hughes said, “We know that it is going to be the same exact counties that can’t afford it, that are being underfunded in their schools right now and being taxed out, that is the reality of it, we need to take care of all 82 counties and not punish the poorest ones that don’t have a tax base and don’t have the ability to pay more.”
Both candidates will now hit the campaign trail ahead of the November 5th Election Day.