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Laurel Leader-Call - Jones County has Been Good to Reeves

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Location: Laurel, MS

By David Owens

State Treasurer Tate Reeves, a Republican candidate for Mississippi Lt. Governor, visited Laurel and Ellisville Tuesday as he continues along the campaign trail.

Reeves visited Dixie Electric Power Association and Chancellor Motor Group in Laurel, prior to a meet and greet at a private home in Ellisville.

Reeves visited Dixie Electric Power Association and Chancellor Motor Group in Laurel, prior to a meet and greet at a private home in Ellisville.

Reeves also stopped by the Laurel Leader-Call offices to discuss redistricting and what he calls the most important issues for this election, namely the economy and jobs.

On Monday, a special judicial panel ruled that lawmakers would run this year under current districts drawn in 2001 and be allowed to work towards redistricting during the next session.

On addressing redistricting, Reeves said the court "came to the only conclusion that our State Constitution and U.S. Constitution would allow them to."

Reeves said he credits Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann for taking what was then a solitary position of delaying a redistricting vote.

"The court made the right decision and the only decision they could make," he said. "The Lt. Governor will play a major role in the next redistricting during the 2012 legislative session."

Reeves noted that House Speaker Billy McCoy (D-Rienzi) asked that the House plan be accepted because it was "fair to all members (of the House and Senate)."

"It shouldn't just be fair to the members, but fair to all Mississippians," he said. "If I'm fortunate enough to be elected Lt. Governor, my primary goal will be to get it done, quickly and the right way."

Reeves said that he has visited Laurel and Jones County several times already because the area is "extremely important to any Republican running for state office."

"I've been on the ballot twice -- in "03 and "07 --and Jones County has been extremely good to me," he said. "They've supported me every time I've been on the ballot."

Reeves said his relationship with the Jones County Republican Women and other Republican leaders has blossomed into a friendship.

But, Reeves said he's gained support not just in Jones County but throughout the state. He said he has received financial contributions from "someone in every county in the state."

Reeves said he was proud to meet the employees at Dixie Electric and other local businesses.

"I talked to the line crews who go out every day," he said. "They were just north of Meridian in Kemper County. They said, "When the best comes through, they send the best up to fix them.'"

Reeves said the role of Lt. Governor will be the "most important and influential public official on public policy decisions."

"Over the next four years, the number issue facing Mississippians will be jobs and the economy," he said. "The government does not create jobs, but creates an environment that encourages the private sector to invest capital and create jobs."

Reeves said the state must also help create a more educated workforce, and go out and recruit businesses.

"We have to convince CEOs to visit our state," he said. "But, once they come here, they like what they see."

Reeves noted that the two largest economic development projects in the country in 2006 and 2007 were in Columbus, Miss., and in Blue Springs, Miss., respectively.

"We have to continue to create an environment that encourages capital investment," he said. "We also have to improve the education level of people in the state so they can do the jobs that we want to bring here."

Reeves noted that children in grades 4 through 8 are making "real progress" in reading scores.

"With the right leadership, we can break through," he said. "We will show real progress and send an amazing message."

Reeves briefly touched on unclaimed property, noting his office has helped returned $75 million to Mississippians in the past seven years.

"That's more than the 25 years combined before that," he said.

Reeves shared the story of returning more than $1 million in stock dividends from a "small store called Lowe's" to a Vietnam veteran who was living in a shack in rural western Georgia at the time.

"One in four Mississippians have unclaimed property," he said. "My best day as treasurer I presented a check to a lady south of Corinth. She had an insurance claim from her father worth about $243,000."

In addition to just putting money back in those people's pockets, Reeves noted that the money is also good for the economy.

For more information on the State Treasurer's Unclaimed Property Office, visit www.treasury.state.ms.us/unclaimed.

Reeves said he will spend the next 70-plus days before the election "showing why I ought to be elected, not why someone ought not to be."

Reeves said he's right for the job of Lt. Governor because he's a "true fiscal conservative with economic and financial experience."

"I have a record of working to help create better and high paying jobs," he said. "I don't consider myself having an opponent. I'm running for the office of Lt. Governor."


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