TUPELO • Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, the Republican candidate for governor, announced he would make a commitment to prioritizing maintenance repairs to National Guard armory units across the state after being briefed from members of the National Guard on different armory repairs.
Officials with the Mississippi National Guard presented a $5.4 million funding update to Reeves and U.S. Rep. Trent Kelly, a Republican representing the state’s 1st Congressional District. Military officials told the politicians the plan that is now being implemented consists of approximately $2 million from state in bonded funds and $3.4 million from the federal government.
Maj. Gen. Janson D. Boyles, the adjutant general of Mississippi, said the Mississippi National Guard receives about $6 million in federal dollars every year, but the organization is limited to spending that money on facilities that only do 100% federal work like Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg.
Boyles said if the state government matches the federal dollars, this would give the organization more freedom to disburse the funds to armories that do state and federal work. But, Boyles asked if the organization could receive funding on a more regular basis.
“What we think the responsible thing for the State of Mississippi to do is give us maintenance money every year to maintain our facilities, which we weren’t getting,” Boyles said.
Reeves responded to the request of giving the National Guard maintenance money each year by saying if elected governor, he planned to host a meeting with legislators whose districts include the National Guard armories to discuss the requests and said he said he supports the request.
“There is no question I am personally for it, but my constituents demand it,” Reeves told a group of reporters after the military briefing. “Mississippians want to support our military installations. They want to support the Mississippi National Guard.”
Reeves’ briefing comes one day after President Donald Trump endorsed Reeves in a tweet by urging Mississippians to vote for Reeves instead of his Democratic rival, Attorney General Jim Hood.
“Tate is strong on Crime, tough on Illegal Immigration, and will protect your Second Amendment,” Trump tweeted. “He loves our Military and supports our Vets! Democrat Jim Hood will never give us his vote, is anti-Trump and pro-Crooked Hillary.”
Reeves also attended a fundraiser this week in Belden with Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida and an unsuccessful candidate for president in 2016. In March, Bush told CNN that he believed someone should run against Trump in 2020.
"I think someone should run,” Bush told CNN. “Just because Republicans ought to be given a choice.”
When asked by the Daily Journal if Reeves aligned himself more with Trump’s comments or Bush's comments, he skirted around the question and only said he was glad to receive the president’s endorsement because Trump is “extremely popular in Mississippi.”
“I will tell you when I spoke with the president yesterday, he was very clear in understanding that it is imperative that Mississippi elect a conservative, that Mississippi elect a Republican, and that Mississippi does not elect someone who supported Hilary Clinton for president in 2016.”
When pressed further by the Daily Journal if Reeves disagreed with Bush’s comments that a Republican should run against Trump in 2020, Reeves did not specifically answer the question, but said he planned to be the co-chair of Trump’s Mississippi campaign next year.
“We are going to win Mississippi in 2020 for President Trump, and we are going to win this nation for President Trump. He’s going to get re-elected,” Reeves said, signaling that he shares a different opinion than that of Bush.
Reeves will compete with Hood in the general election on Nov. 5.