BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - No matter the outcome in November, Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree already made Mississippi history.
By winning the Democratic nomination for governor last week, he became the first African American candidate in modern times to win a major-party nod for the state's top job.
He now advances to the November 8th general election to face Republican Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant.
"I fully understand the historic significance of this," DuPree told WLOX News.
The mayor, known for his no-nonsense approach, said he has a proven track record when it comes to leadership, and that's what he wants voters to remember when they head to the polls in November.
"We get these questions, 'How are you going do this?' 'How you going to do that?' Well, we've shown you how we're going to do it. We're going to continue to do it the same way. I don't know what else we can do except show people how we're going to do it."
Dupree made history as the first African American Democratic Gubernatorial nominee since Mississippi's reconstruction. But he said it's not just about the color of his skin.
"I think the voters out there are concerned about making their lives better. It is a history making event, and I am the first African American in modern times and proud to be an African American, and I'm proud that I'm the first."
Dupree said he wants to focus on issues he feels are the most important to our state's future success, like job creation and early education.
"We have got to make sure all our children start early, and developing them to make sure they're ready for the curriculum we're going to be teaching in the regular schools. If the state's not going to pay for that, then we need to find ways to interject with incentives, or whatever, so these church schools that are already in place will be teaching those curriculums."