PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - A Picayune businessman said he believes his youth will be an asset, rather than an obstacle, in getting him elected to Congress.
Tavish Kelly is seeking the Republican nomination for the Fourth Congressional District seat, which is an office now held by Steven Palazzo. Kelly talked about how he plans to convince South Mississippians he's the right person for the job.
From flood insurance to educational funding, voters at a meet-and-greet in Pass Christian wanted to know where Tavish Kelly stands on the issues that matter to them most.
"Right now, the economy and getting our debt under control," said Jeremy Grubbs of Bay St. Louis.
Less government intrusion is the center of Kelly's campaign. The Picayune businessman and Ole Miss law student plans to hold many more of events along with going door to door. That way, people living in the 14 counties that make up the fourth congressional district will hear his message.
"Our strategy is to hold events like this. People can come and meet me all over the coast," Kelly said. "All the way up to Hattiesburg, Laurel, Lucedale. We're going to go everywhere. We're going to be holding these events."
Kelly also said, "I'm going to be going door to door introducing myself to people. I'm going to go Republican party meetings. I'm going to go to Tea Party meetings. I'm going to anywhere there are people gathered who believe in conservative ideals for Mississippi and for America. I'm going to tell them what I believe and tell them why I'm the right choice."
The platform Kelly is pushing is one that is also about fiscal conservatism and gun rights.
"I'm about balancing the budget. I'm about freeing up the economy from burdensome regulation. I'm about freeing up individuals from government control in their lives," Kelly said. "My family owns a gun store in Picayune, and I believe firmly in second amendment. I don't believe the government can decide who gets to own a gun. I think that should be left up to the states. Overall I would decrease the size of government. That would be my main commitment in D.C."
At 24 years old, Kelly said he is young, but not politically inexperienced. He served as chairman of the Pearl River County Republican party.
"I don't have the same amount of experience in D.C. with their wheeling and dealing and compromising, but I see that as a positive. I've got new ideas. I've got fresh ideas. That's what we need right now in D.C.," Kelly said. "We've seen the old ideas of big government and the nanny state. They don't work. They raise the cost of living. They lower wages. They cripple our economy. It's time for young ideas and maybe a young face to bring them to D.C."
The United States Constitution mandates a person be 25 years old to serve as a congressman. Kelly said he will turn 25 years old in October 2014 which he said is sufficient to qualify because he will be the constitutionally mandated age prior to the general election in November 2014 and the beginning of the 2015 term.