Northeast Mississippi holds the key to the governor’s mansion next year. Republican Lt. Governor Tate Reeves wants to use his experience to build on what popular Governor Phil Bryant has achieved. Democrat Attorney General Jim Hood wants Northeast Mississippi to once again help elect him to a statewide office.

In “America the Beautiful” a line best describes Tate Reeves, “for patriot dream that sees beyond the years.” In difficult financial years, Tate Reeves has found ways to cut taxes and still build Mississippi’s rainy day fund (about $450 million.) This is very significant for Mississippians whose salaries are derived from collected state taxes.

Why? The tax cuts encourage continued business investments (jobs, more Mississippians are working now than ever before) and the growing rainy day fund protects the credible financial stability that future sustainable salary increases must come from for teachers and all state employees. It would be easy to pass a bill raising teacher and state employee salaries, but financially irresponsible to do so without a sustainable plan to pay for those raises year after year. Tate Reeves has been “seeing beyond the years” by helping stabilize Mississippi financially when it would have been politically expedient to do otherwise.

Jim Hood must get some crossover voters to win Northeast Mississippi. Two hurdles he must overcome: First, he must convince voters for Delbert Hosemann and those with Republican state representatives and senators how he can work with them in office better than Tate Reeves can. That’s almost impossible.

Second, because the governor has the power to appoint vacant seats (think U.S. Senate, judges, state offices), then why would conservatives or republicans ever vote for a democrat whose national party is stretching ever further to the left with people like Elizabeth Warren and Alexandrea Ocasio-Cortez leading the way?

Northeast Mississippi does hold the key to the governor’s mansion – and Jim Hood has more problematic challenges running for governor than he ever did running for attorney general.

Just for the record and future reference, this is the last piece I’m going to write for this space involving partisan politics. Championing politicians because of a letter in front of their name is getting a bit old. And it unnerves me that valuable space such as this is wasted by lauding hypocritical pols who don’t deserve the ink.

Thousands of senior Mississippians can’t afford good medical care. Rural hospitals – over the objections and dismay of medical professionals all across the state – are closing because politicians like (R) Phil Bryant and (R) Tate Reeves refuse to accept the Affordable Care Act Medicaid because they were developed by an African American president who happened to be a Democrat. Mississippi loses nearly 10,000 jobs, annually. How much sense does that make?

Our roads and bridges are crumpling because politicians like (R) House Speaker Phillip Gunn keep legislation bottled up and then pass the money along to corporate interests.

The Mississippi Delta is still one of the poorest regions in the whole country and neither of the politicians mentioned here has raised a finger to bring it out of poverty.

These same three state “leaders” are leading the state into another era of segregated schools – both by race and class – through the naked and raw pillaging of our state’s public education funds. Today’s charter schools are nothing more than a sophisticated version of private academies. How is that for progress?

What Mississippi needs are people who care more about their state than themselves or their political interests.

Children are going to bed hungry every night.

Sick people are dying on their way to distant hospitals because the nearest one was closed.

Mississippi can do better than a bunch of cynical hacks.

We need public officials who care, really care about our state’s growth, educational development and economic vitality.

Our state needs real leaders. Know any?

DR. ED HOLLIDAY is a Tupelo dentist who has written two successful books. Readers can contact him at ed@docholliday.org.

THE REV. JAMES HULL is an award-winning journalist and a communications consultant. Readers can contact him at hullmultimediams@aol.com.

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