Mississippi candidates address Biloxi convention

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Six candidates for Mississippi governor and lieutenant governor shared their campaign messages at a convention in Biloxi on Friday. They spoke individually to a crowd of about 200 people at the Mississippi Manufacturers Association, and talked mostly about education, job creation and leadership experience.

State Treasurer Tate Reeves, a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, told the group his top priority will be bringing better jobs to Mississippi.

"Government does not create jobs. Government simply creates an environment which encourages the private sector to invest capital and create jobs," said Reeves, "And it should be our role as a government to do just that."

State Senator Billy Hewes is also running for lieutenant governor. The Republican highlighted his 20 years of legislative experience and talked about leading the fight for tort reform.

"The business, the medical and the legal climate were poisonous. Doctors were leaving the state in droves. Companies weren't coming in and setting up shop. Jobs weren't being created. This was jackpot justice land, and we fixed it. And I'm proud to have stood in there and done it," said Hewes.

If elected governor, Democrat Bill Luckett would like to build on the success he had helping restoring downtown Clarksdale, a project praised by CNN.

"What we'd been doing in Clarksdale was like a bright light in an otherwise dark sea of recession. I was quite proud to be part of that. And I want to be proud to be a part of a prosperous Mississippi that I see out there on the horizon," said Luckett.

Three term Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny Dupree says the top priority must be education.

"It will attract jobs, people wanting to come to Mississippi, wanting to start their own businesses here or to bring their businesses here. It will help us with health care, because an educated populous is a healthier populous," said the Democratic candidate for governor.

Dave Dennis says his experience building a successful company gives him the best skill set to be governor.

"If you look at what people are really and truly looking for in a governor, you're hiring a CEO for the state of Mississippi. You're not hiring somebody to wave or cut ribbons and do other things. You're hiring somebody to be the CEO, to be the ambassador, to be the face of Mississippi and the chief salesman for the state," said the Republican candidate from Pass Christian.

Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant spoke of fiscal responsibility.

"We've got $200 million in our revenue just now, in our reserve. Two hundred million. Go ask the folks in California what they've got. So when we go out and recruit business, we can say we balance our budget. I've done that for four years," said the Republican Lieutenant Governor, who's now running for governor to succeed Gov. Haley Barbour.

The primary election in Mississippi is on Tuesday, August 2nd.

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