Republican governor candidates face off in televised debate

Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves, former Supreme Court Justice Bill Waller Jr. and State Representative Robert Foster are all hoping to secure the GOP spot for Mississippi governor.

They faced each other in a debate in Jackson earlier this evening.

The three candidates faced off Tuesday night in their only televised debate. They tackled hot topics such as healthcare. Waller Jr. said, “More importantly, medical care for our citizens which I think is a ‘right to life’ issue.”

Minimum wage. Foster said, “I believe in a free market. I believe that the free market is best at paying people what they have earned.”

And diversity. Reeves said, “I tried to hire the best person for the job. I try to appoint the best person for the job.”

They also discussed the Gulf Coast and the disaster that was created by the Bonnet Carre Spillway. The three were asked if they would allocate state funds to help with rebuilding the economy after the reopening of the spillway. Reeves said Mississippi needs a say when they are looking to open the spillway. “Yes. I have proven to my Gulf Coast constituents that I will fight hard every single day. I did it with BP resources. It was the right thing to do, I’m not sure it was the politically popular, but the right thing to do was make sure that BP monies, that event hurt the Coast more than anywhere else in the state. The right thing to do was to fight for money, to spend the majority of that on the Gulf Coast. I will do everything I can in my power to get the Coast economy rolling again.”

Foster said that if it is possible for the state to alleviate some of the issues, they need to ‘seriously look at that,’ but he believes that there needs to be a new way to help with flood control. “The bigger issue going forward is we have an over 100 year old plan that is just not working anymore. We have to have a governor that is willing to sit down with the surrounding states and try to work to come up with a new plan for flood control that helps Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas all together.”

Waller said that there are a variety of funds that could be used to help the Coast, but he believes that it should be paid for by the federal government. “Primarily this is a federal issue. The Corps of Engineers made the decision to open the spillway. The first thing I would call for is a damage assessment by the federal government.”

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