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Hattiesburg American - Reeves Eyes Business Climate

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Location: Unknown

By Jesse Bass

State treasurer discusses platform for lieutenant governor campaign

State Treasurer Tate Reeves made an early stop on his campaign trail for lieutenant governor Tuesday at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Reeves officially launched his campaign for the Republican nomination Monday at the Florence Middle School gymnasium, where he played basketball in his youth.

In a speech Tuesday at Southern Miss' Thad Cochran Center, Reeves said his platform points include creating a more favorable environment for business and removing abortion clinics from the state.

"I've not been bashful about pointing out overspending by the Legislature, no matter which party was to blame," he said, explaining that businesses looking to move to Mississippi often examine the state's finances, testing the waters for the possibility of increased taxes in the future.

Reeves, who now lives in Flowood, will face state Sen. Billy Hewes of Gulfport in the Republican primary for the second-highest elected office in state government. No Democrats have filed to run yet.

March 1 is candidates' qualifying deadline for statewide offices. Party primaries are Aug. 2, and the general election is Nov. 8.

The incumbent, Phil Bryant, is running for governor.

The lieutenant governor presides over the 52-member state Senate, appoints committee chairmen and serves on the 14-member Joint Legislative Budget Committee.

Reeves, a two-term state treasurer, spoke Tuesday about how an emphasis on education can lead to an increase in both the quality and quantity of Mississippi jobs.

Calling himself a "watchdog who only answers to the people of Mississippi," Reeves spoke of his policy of conservative money management.

"If you believe we need a state government that is determined to go in exactly the opposite direction that Washington, D.C., is going, then I'm your candidate," he said.

Reeves mentioned several times his desire to serve taxpayers before "insiders" in state politics.

"There are still people who believe government can spend Mississippians' money better than Mississippians can," he said. "Those people have a great deal of power in our state Capitol - they have power in both parties."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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