AG: "Petty Politics" Nearly Derailed DHS - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

07/01/04

AG: "Petty Politics" Nearly Derailed DHS

Jim Hood was in Gulfport for a news conference about identity theft. When that ended, the attorney general talked candidly about a perceived political rift inside the capitol during the Medicaid and DHS discussions.

"You have to do what's legal," the attorney general said. "You have to do it that way, and let emotions, set those aside. And that's been the problem in our legislature, and the battle between our legislature and our governor. They've let emotions and egos get in the way of doing the right thing. And I think now that I have it legally done so we can do the right thing, hopefully cooler heads will prevail later."

After Hood got a court order to keep DHS open beyond June 30, he said he was tired of playing referee between the governor and the legislature.

"The governor is going to have to sit down with the legislative leadership, just not the senate, and work with our legislators to make government work for the people," Hood said. "That's what we were sent to Jackson for. We've lost focus on that because of all this partisanship that's going on."

Hood said the partisan bickering nearly sank the Department of Human Services. 

"Thank goodness our forefathers thought to create three branches of government," he said.  "We had to engage the powers of the judicial branch to do something that the legislative branch should have done."

Here are two other questions and answers from Attorney General Hood.

Q: Some people would say that the attorney general and the governor aren't getting along in the first six months. What would you say to that?

A: Not true. I talk with the governor. And we talked last night. I tell him what I think the law is. I don't try to dictate policy. My job is being a lawyer. And I just try to make things legal. The same thing we'll do with Medicaid, I'm going to go back to court and allow him to continue to spend the Medicaid money on the PLADs group until September 15.

Q: Was this a good session or a bad session?

A: It was a good session for law enforcement and the people all in all. But this partisan politics finally broke down the system and the court had to step in.

by Brad Kessie

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