Your guide to the 2019 Mississippi State Elections

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Your guide to the 2019 Mississippi State Elections

Here's everything you need to know about the candidates. Check them out and decide which one you will cast your vote for on Oct. 29!

Here's everything you need to know about the candidates. Check them out and decide which one you will cast your vote for on Oct. 29!

Davan Reece

Here's everything you need to know about the candidates. Check them out and decide which one you will cast your vote for on Oct. 29!

Davan Reece

Davan Reece

Here's everything you need to know about the candidates. Check them out and decide which one you will cast your vote for on Oct. 29!

Davan Reece, Managing Editor

Between all the watch parties and general chatter around campus about the upcoming presidential election, people tend to forget about the elections that impact them in the immediate future: state and local elections. With pretty much every major position up for grabs this year and the upcoming school-wide mock election hosted by The Vision on October 29, we decided to compile a voter guide to get you better suited for the upcoming political power struggle.

Governor

Bob Hickingbottom – Constitution

Hickingbottom, representing the Constitution Party in this gubernatorial cycle, is running a campaign based on the expanding Medicaid and increasing funding for public institutions and infrastructure. On education, Hickingbottom says the following: “Why is it that our children spend 12 and 13 years in school and come out with a 5th or 6th grade education? The politicians told us that if we legalized alcohol, that would fund education. That didn’t happen. Next they said if we legalized gambling, that would surely fund education. That hasn’t happened. People…we cannot drink and gamble our way to prosperity. We need good jobs and a well educated workforce.”

Jim Hood – Democrat 

Former three-term Attorney General for Mississippi Jim Hood clenched the Democrat’s nomination for governor and the stakes are set for one of the biggest showdowns in Mississippi political history. Hood, a pro-life Democrat and the only state-wide officer holder of the party,  One of Hood’s main points of concern in the race is to make Mississippi a more appealing place for young people to live. Hood also states that he plans on increasing teachers’ salary until it reaches the regional average of the South’s pay. He plans on doing this by cutting the amount of wasteful spending in state government, and, thus, decreasing taxes being paid. Additionally, Hood states that he plans on expanding Medicaid to reach as many as 300,000 uninsured people, which brings an increase of about $1 billion into the Mississippi economy. “You put a billion dollars in the economy, it has a huge impact,” says Hood, according to the Clarion-Ledger. “There’s no reason not to (expand Medicaid), other than partisan politics.” When faced with the problem of abortion legalization, Hood states that he would limit abortions after a heartbeat was detected at six weeks, a stark difference from most national Democrats.

David Singletary – Independent

“Big” David Singletary has never held public office, electing instead to run an inn out of Biloxi. After serving in Air Force and Air National Guard, Singletary threw his hat in the ring as an Independent to “fight for the little guy.” Singletary has based his campaign on a huge push to legalize marijuana, branding himself as the “420 friendly” candidate and promising tourism increases, job growth and prison reform, specifically growing the state’s economy with the introduction of marijuana.

Tate Reeves – Republican 

Tate Reeves essentially has been groomed to take the governor’s mansion for years now, and after defeating Bill Waller in the primary is set to fulfill his dream. One of Reeves’ main goals is to increase employment in Mississippi, as well as its business revenue. Reeves expresses that Medicaid should not be increased, stating that it’s “Obamacare expansion.” He also worries that the state will not be able to afford such costs. Additionally, he says that he plans on increasing teachers’ salaries, saying that under his leadership, their pay has already increased by $8,000 in the past few years and a proposed $4,300 pay raise should he be elected. Likewise, Reeves says that he’s against increasing the gas tax, saying, “The reason I’m opposed to raising the gas tax is I believe it would hurt working Mississippi families more so than anybody else in the state.” Instead, he suggests that road renovations would be funded by the lottery. Lastly, Reeves also believes that abortion should be forbidden after heartbeat detection.

Written by Brenna Luff and Davan Reece

Lieutenant Governor

Jay Hughes – Democrat

Jay Hughes earned a Juris Doctorate from Ole Miss Law School in 1991 and has been a successful attorney since. His political career started in 2013 when he was elected as an alderman of Oxford and was subsequently elected to the House of Representatives two years later. His main platform is education. He is quoted as saying “The single greatest investment we can make is to public education.” His central goal is to raise teachers’ salaries, a goal similarly held by his opponent. The lieutenant governor position deals largely with fiscal policy, so a candidate’s views on government funding is an important factor to consider. Hughes also heavily advocates that the people vote to change the state flag, stating that its Confederate emblem is like “having a tattoo on your neck,” and that its undeniable link to white supremacy is a hindrance to Mississippi’s economic growth. He also supports expanding Medicaid by accepting additional federal funds.

Delbert Hosemann – Republican

Hosemann has been the Mississippi Secretary of State since 2008, and he currently resides in Jackson with his wife. He is also an alum of Ole Miss Law School. He believes that the state flag is unproblematic. He supports increased salaries for Mississippi teachers, stating, “The amount depends on how much we have to spend, but there will be a significant raise every single year.” Hosemann has indicated that he is at least open to expanding Medicaid to help rural hospitals on the verge of financial ruin. With exclusion to education, Child Protection Services and the judiciary, Hosemann plans to cut the budgets of all other agencies by 1 percent and allocate those funds for a pay raise for state employees. His website lists “conservative values” as his top goal. 

Written by Gracie Rowland

Attorney General

Jennifer Collins – Democrat

Jennifer Collins is the Democratic candidate for Mississippi Attorney General. As a candidate, she said her top three priorities are protecting the vulnerable (children, disabled peoples, veterans, etc), prioritizing healthcare, and protecting hardworking Mississippians. When asked what public policies she was personally passionate about, she said she was passionate about voting, criminal justice reform, and healthcare reform. Finally, Collins wants to advocate strongly for gender equality.

Lynn Fitch – Republican

Lynn Fitch is the Republican Candidate for Mississippi Attorney General. As a “solution-driven conservative,” she wants to be a partner for law enforcement officers, be “smart and tough on crime,” support crime victims and their families, and protect Mississippians from unfair practices, especially those who prey on the vulnerable. She also says she will prosecute people who commit fraud against MS taxpayers, defend MS laws against outsiders, and defend second amendment rights. Finally, she says she will fight the opioid crisis and end human trafficking.

Written by David Gipson

Secretary of State

Michael Watson – Republican

Michael Watson was born in 1977 in Pascagoula to a bank teller and a shipyard worker. After graduating from Pascagoula High School, he earned a law degree from the University of Mississippi. Watson served as an intern for then U.S. Senator Trent Lott in 1999, initiating his political career. He was first elected to the Mississippi Senate in 2007. As a senator, he worked on legislation to phase out inventory tax and introduced a bill to shrink the size of the legislature. 

Michael Watson’s primary focus is on enforcing voter ID laws, and he states that they will limit fraud and continue to restore confidence in Mississippi’s administrations. Moreover, Watson plans to ensure only United States citizens are able to participate in elections, allowing the Secretary of State’s office to check newly registered voters’ information to confirm citizenship. Another major goal for Watson is his plan to transfer driver’s license services from the Department of Public Safety to the Secretary of State’s Office. The SIP Plan, short for Service-Information-Professionalism, aims to create a more accessible and efficient process for obtaining and renewing driver’s licenses and privatize the commercial driver license system in the state. He also plans to use the office to continue his support for small businesses, keeping it as a resource to bolster development and growth. 

Johnny DuPree – Democrat

Johnny DuPree was born in Fort Benning, Georgia, in 1953 before moving to Hattiesburg with his mother and siblings as a small boy. A graduate of Jones Junior College, the University of Southern Mississippi, and Jackson State University, DuPree first entered public office in 1987 as a member of the Hattiesburg School Board. He later served ten years on the Forrest County Board of Supervisors before winning his first of four terms as Mayor of Hattiesburg in 2001. As mayor, DuPree pursued initiatives to expand access to healthcare and insurance, provide leadership opportunities for Hattiesburg youth, and develop strong environmental policies in the city. He also led Hattiesburg through the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the Great Recession. Johnny DuPree was the Democratic candidate for Governor in 2011. 

DuPree’s campaign focuses on three central points: increasing voter education, voter access, and voter participation. For voter education, he specifically plans to incorporate civics classes to the high school curriculum, raise awareness on voter eligibility, and create an election certification program for college credit. To increase accessibility, DuPree aims to extend voter registration periods, increase on-campus polling facilities, and offer more efficient and inclusive methods of early voting. With voter participation, DuPree intends to institute paper ballots and auditing measures for election security, propose moving state elections to coincide with the federal cycle, and increase awareness of civic engagement opportunities.

Witten by Carter Moore

State Treasurer

Addie Lee Green – Democrat

Former Bolton Alderwoman Addie Lee Green ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination. She has previously run for Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce, an election she lost to now-Senator Cindy Hyde Smith. Green studied sociology at Jackson State. Her platform includes increasing the transparency of government spending and teaching Mississippians about fiscal responsibility, and her campaign funding totals approximately $3,000.

David McRae – Republican

Madison businessman Dave McRae won the Republican nomination for Treasurer, beating Mississippi senator Buck Clarke. A part of the family that founded the McRae’s department store chain, he has been able to contribute over $1 million of his own money to his campaign. McRae previously lost the nomination for Treasurer to Treasurer Lynn Fitch. He is a graduate of SMU and received his J.D. from Mississippi College. McRae believes that his experience as a business person makes him uniquely qualified for the position of Treasurer. In his ads he describes himself as pro-second amendment, 100 percent pro-life, and 100 percent pro-Trump.

Written by Aiden Leise

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