Thank you!! Thank you.
By now you all know my wife Elee. She has been my partner in this campaign. I used to joke that she was my only asset in past campaigns, but we now also have our daughters Emma and Tyler who have added a lot to our campaign's appeal.
Tyler has starred in our TV and radio ads and helped make me more presentable to the public. Most people thought Morgan Freeman could be the biggest star in this primary season, but I believe a cute little 6-year old girl has stolen his spotlight, don't you? Give Tyler a hand
She will be glad to entertain proposals from any Hollywood casting directors who may be with us tonight but I will warn you she gets a little demanding when she's up this far past her bedtime.
Our younger daughter Emma is also with us tonight. One Saturday afternoon after a full day of hand shaking she looked up at me and said, "Daddy, this campaigning is wearing me out!" Tonight, I've got to say, I agree with Emma. This campaigning has just about worn me out too!
This is a great victory, and we owe it all to the people in this room and the thousands of people around the state who worked so hard to make this happen.
We drew incredible crowds to our many fish fry events -- and one hog roast -- thank you, Senator Terry Brown. We held incredible events all around our state. Our bus tour the Watchdog Express covered hundreds of miles and took us all over Mississippi.
Elee and I have been amazed at the enthusiasm of people across our state. The future is bright for Mississippi!
But before I go any further in my remarks, I want to thank Billy and Paula Hewes for the incredible campaign they ran. It was a family affair for them as well, and the Hewes family has served our state honorably for a long time. As Republicans we believe competition only makes us better. I will be a better Lieutenant Governor because the Hewes' ran a great campaign. For two decades, Billy has served our state with distinction, and we thank him for that. Please give Senator Hewes a hand.
Tonight is a time to celebrate what we can accomplish together. I want to congratulate our next Governor, Phil Bryant, on a great victory. I look forward to working with him to keep Mississippi the best place on Earth to raise a family.
There are a few things we can do in that regard. Elee and I grew up in small Mississippi towns went to a Mississippi college graduated and got great Mississippi jobs got married and started raising Mississippi kids.
Most Mississippians want to do just that. But not all of them have that option. That has to change. Every community in this state is fighting a battle to keep their best and brightest from moving off to Texas or Georgia or Florida or somewhere else to get a better career. That has to change. Too many Mississippi families think college is something they can't event dream about. That has to change. Too many entrepreneurs look at our business climate and choose to start their companies in other states. That has to change. And with your help and this great victory that WILL change.
We will start by improving the education attainment level of our citizens. We have to make sure that we're providing access to a quality education for all of our people. Black, white, rich and poor. We have to improve the early education curriculum to get children off to the best start possible. We have to put college within reach of every kid who needs it. And we must make sure our workforce is trained for the skills our employers demand.
We've made great progress under Governor Barbour in attracting better and higher paying jobs. We have to continue to focus on economic development. We have to keep upgrading our workforce. And we have to get government out of the way so job creation can happen all over Mississippi. The first step in right sizing our government is to hold down our state's debt. We have to minimize what we spend on debt service, we have to protect our state's credit rating, and we have to use long term debt only for long term projects, like major economic development initiatives to bring better and higher paying careers to Mississippi.
There has been much ado in this campaign about my lack of legislative experience, the need for compromise, and a lot about the old fashioned process in the Capitol. Let me assure you of one thing -- I believe we need leaders who will speak the truth and have the backbone to stand behind it. I will not go along to get along I will fight for what moves Mississippi along!
I do not come FROM the legislature. But I've enjoyed the support of a lot of legislators during this campaign who share my view -- YOUR view -- of principled leadership. And I will seek to appoint the most qualified leaders to positions of power in the Senate -- leaders of both parties who will be representative of all of Mississippi.
And my commitment to you tonight is that while I may have a lot to learn I will surround myself with fellow conservatives who are committed like I am to improving our state. I ran for this job for one reason -- and that is to be a serious policy maker who will work well with all sides, seeking to bring people together to lead our state to a better, more prosperous future -- for Emma and Tyler -- and for all of Mississippi's children.
Elee and I thank you again for the warm reception we've received all across our state as we've campaigned in your communities and asked for your support. I will work hard on your behalf. I will seek to unite our state. And I will never stop working to make you proud and make all of us believe that there is a brighter future ahead for our state and our people.
God bless you and may God bless the State of Mississippi.