By Cherie Ward
Mississippi Treasurer Tate Reeves brought his campaign kickoff tour for lieutenant governor to Sav Rex Drugs and Pharmacy on Delmas Avenue Tuesday.
"The most important thing I offer is an understanding of the financials of the state," Reeves said to a crowd of about 50 people.
"I understand what we need to do to work together to create an environment which encourages job creation by the private sector. I don't think anyone would argue that as a far as fiscal conservatives go, there is no one in our state that is more fiscally conservative than I am."
Reeves, 36, a two-term treasurer and Republican from Florence, embarked on a three-day announcement tour of the state on Monday with his wife, Elle, and their two young daughters, Tyler and Emma.
Senate President Pro Tem Billy Hewes, R-Gulfport, announced his intention to run for lieutenant governor on Jan. 4. Hewes, 49, has served in the Senate for 19 years and holds its second-highest post.
Reeves empathized his ties to Jackson County, saying his mother-in-law, Vicky Williams, lives in Ocean Springs and he and his family visit often.
"Jackson County is a great place to do business and a great place to raise a family," Reeves said. "I believe it's a place where the public sector and the private sector work together to create jobs. It's a place that needs to be emulated in other areas of our state for job creation purposes.
"You see the large amount of capital being invested in Jackson County and there's a reason for that -- good leadership, good schools and good public partnerships. That's why things are working out right now in Jackson County."
Reeves closed the 2010 calendar year with more than $1.6 million in his campaign fund and Hewes with just more than $1 million.
No Democrats had qualified to run for lieutenant governor as of Tuesday.
Sen. Lee Yancey, R-Brandon, was the only candidate to qualify to run for treasurer as of Tuesday.
Jackson County Supervisor Manly Barton said Reeves has been "a real good friend to Jackson County" during his two terms as treasurer.
"He's responded to us every time we've gone to him for help." Barton said.
Paul Clark, co-owner of Sav Rex, said Reeves campaign stop would be the first of many this political season.
"Our flagship store was wiped out by Katrina," Clark said. "It was always the stopping point for all the politicians. This is good. We're getting back in the game."