COLUMN: Hosemann, Not McDaniel, for Lt. Governor

Jackson, Miss. (Northside Sun) – Chris McDaniel is up against Delbert Hosemann in the Republican primary race on Tuesday, August 8. It is essential for those of us who have opposed McDaniel for any higher office in the past to show up for the Republican primary on Tuesday, August 8 and vote in opposition to him again. Even more than that, it is time on August 8 to show our appreciation for Delbert Hosemann’s thoughtful use of the formidable powers of the Lt. Governor to move Mississippi forward.

Mississippi in my view cannot afford for McDaniel to beat Hosemann to become our next Lieutenant Governor. McDaniel’s state Senate legislative record, as a majority of his Senate colleagues know very well, is undistinguished. Virtually every piece of legislation McDaniel ever wrote died in committee. McDaniel has been a person of little influence or substance among the Senators. My concern though is that there are so many undecided votes out there in this race. No one concerned about McDaniel’s quest to become the second-highest ranking elected officer in Mississippi can afford to stay home and take the outcome for granted. The worst could happen. We have to get out and vote for Hosemann Tuesday, August 8.

When McDaniel lost to Senator Thad Cochran in 2014, he was as ungracious a loser as any loser there ever was. McDaniel vigorously challenged his loss to Senator Cochran–who was always, but always, a gentleman–in the courts. I was one of a number of volunteer lawyers who went around to the courthouses to help audit the results for the Senator’s team. Senator Cochran was the clear winner over his Tea Party opponent. McDaniel had no legitimate or timely challenge to make. The courts soundly rejected McDaniel’s aggressive claims against Senator Cochran’s victory. I felt strongly then. After listening to McDaniel’s absurd, negative campaigning, I feel just as strongly now. McDaniel’s noise needs to be stopped once again at the ballot box. We cannot afford for the strong powers of the Lt. Governor to fall into the wrong hands.

In contrast to McDaniel’s failed Senate career, Delbert Hosemann has understood that the post of Lt. Governor in the right hands can be, and is designed to be, a powerful and important position in the Mississippi government. Hosemann has used his powers thoughtfully in the Senate to move Mississippi ahead to a better future: in economic development, infrastructure, education, healthcare, help for parents of autistic children, and helping Mississippi deal with a crisis for treatment of mental health.

One of Delbert Hosemann’s most successful programs was a 1:1 match program for cities and counties to improve water and sewer systems in need of repair. In Jackson that meant $37 million for Jackson’s failing system, which resulted in $74 million invested in the system—all in addition to the $600 million from the federal government. For all us in Jackson who found mud in the bottom of our bathtubs, and have had to buy bottled water for years, Hosemann’s work strikes a chord.

Delbert Hosemann led the way for investment of more than $300 million in teacher pay raises, resulting in an average of $6,000 for every teacher in Mississippi. Hosemann provided more resources for much needed classroom supplies so teachers would not be left to buy them on their own out of their pay. He helped invest millions in adding thousands of high-quality pre-K seats for four-year-old children (adding 5,600 new seats in four years), provided math and reading coaches for districts, and provided school buildings.

Hosemann used his position in the Senate to provide a $103 million stabilization grant to hospitals. He invested in community mental health systems—putting Mississippi closer to being able to end its consent decree status in the mental health crisis.

The choice on Tuesday, August 8 is between the continued thoughtful approach to the formidable powers of the office of Lt. Governor that Delbert Hosemann offers, and the unproductive noise and ineffective chaos that is all McDaniel offers. Mississippi cannot afford to waste time with Mr. McDaniel. We cannot afford to be passive either. Please make a point to get out of the house on Tuesday, August 8. Vote in the Republican primary to move Mississippi ahead with Delbert Hosemann.

Robert P. Wise is a Northsider.

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