Mississippi's Lt. Governor and former State Auditor kicks off campaign for 2011
Today, Mississippi's Lt. Governor, Phil Bryant, announced that he is running for Governor in 2011. Bryant made his announcement today in six cities across Mississippi including press conferences in Gulfport, Hattiesburg, Pearl, Meridian, Tupelo, Southaven, and one additional event scheduled for tomorrow morning in Indianola.
Speaking to crowds in each location, Bryant stated, "Today, I am officially announcing that I am a Republican candidate for Governor of the State of Mississippi. My New Year's resolution for 2011 is to work as hard as I can to keep your trust, earn your confidence and your vote for Governor. With your help, together, we'll make a positive difference for the people of our state."
"I've worked closely with Governor Haley Barbour during these challenging economic times," Bryant said. "Together, we've worked to recruit new jobs, and also focused on being responsible with taxpayers' dollars by not spending money we don't have. We've filled the Rainy Day fund with millions in reserves for the future. And I'll keep pushing the Smart Budget proposal to bring more accountability to our state budgeting process."
"My campaign will be about issues and ideas," said Bryant. "Let's create the most job-friendly state in America to grow our economy now and for the future. By keeping taxes low, making sure lawsuit reform stays in place, and providing the right economic environment where businesses can grow and hire more employees, we'll provide more opportunities for everyone."
"We have to be innovative to redesign our educational system with a common sense approach to change," Bryant stated. "By creating a skills-based curriculum in high schools, developing charter schools for failing school districts, and rewarding teachers for excellence, we'll give our children a better chance for success in the future."
"We must stop Obamacare and control the growth of health care costs on our state budget," Bryant continued. "We can make Mississippi a healthier place by working together with health care providers and research institutions to tackle heart disease and diabetes."
"Most importantly, we must always stand up for our conservative values of faith and family, the right to life, protecting our Second Amendment rights and fighting illegal immigration," Bryant said.
Third District Congressman Gregg Harper issued a statement saying, "I have admired Phil Bryant for many years. Phil's leadership is defined by his hard work and a strong commitment to conservative values. I've observed his dedication to his family as well as the State of Mississippi, and I'm convinced he will be a great leader as our Governor."
First District Congressman-elect Alan Nunnelee also released a statement about Bryant saying, "I have stood shoulder to shoulder with Lt. Governor Bryant as he has guided our state through the most difficult budget crisis since the Great Depression. Phil is a man of conviction and principle, and I think that his leadership as Governor will serve our state well."
Fourth District Congressman-elect Steven Palazzo stated, "I hold a great deal of respect and admiration for Lt. Governor Bryant. Throughout his career in public service, he has fought for Mississippi values and the conservative beliefs important to our state."
A strong fiscal conservative dedicated to efficiency and accountability in government, Phil Bryant was elected Mississippi's thirty-seventh Lt. Governor in November, 2007. Prior to being elected Lt. Governor, Bryant served as State Auditor, beginning in 1996 when he was appointed to fill the vacancy in that office by former Governor Kirk Fordice. As State Auditor, Bryant returned integrity to that position and recovered millions of embezzled or improperly spent taxpayer dollars. Bryant also served as a member of the State House of Represenatives where he successfully wrote legislation to cut the capital gains tax in 1994. He also worked to end the marriage penalty tax in Mississippi's tax code.
As Lt. Governor, Bryant led the charge to bring about the strongest anti-illegal immigration law in Mississippi's history by requiring employers to verify the citizenship of their workers. Bryant's proposal to for live web-casting of the Mississippi Senate proceedings has given citizens the ability to see their government in action regardless of where they live, bringing a new level of openness to state government.
Bryant also led to bring about the most comprehensive ethics reform in nearly 25 years, which requires all elected officials to file their ethics reports online. In 2009, Bryant proposed the Smart Budget Act, in an effort to overhaul Mississippi's budget process driven by a strategic plan and measured results. Bryant has also been a strong supporter of pro-life policies including his support for the Personhood Initiative and defending Mississippi's right to opt out of federally funded abortions under the Obama health care bill.
Phil Bryant's values and work ethic were learned at an early age. As the son of a diesel mechanic and housewife, Bryant learned the importance of hard work and education. A Moorhead, Mississippi native and former Deputy Sheriff, Bryant earned his Bachelor's Degree in criminal justice from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Master's Degree in political science from Mississippi College. The contributing author of three books, Bryant now serves as an adjunct professor of Government at Mississippi College. Active members of St. Mark's United Methodist Church, Phil Bryant and his wife, Deborah, have two children.