Greenwood, Miss. (Greenwood Commonwealth) – It is the only position in state government that is constitutionally allowed to be part of two branches of government – the executive and the legislation. The lieutenant governor runs the Senate, deciding committee chairmanships, assigning bills and, if so inclined, determining what proposals get considered and which ones get thrown in the trash can..
Before the lieutenant governor was limited to the same two terms as the governor, without question the lieutenant governor was the most powerful person in state government.
Mississippi voters are fortunate this year in that whoever wins the lieutenant governor’s election on Tuesday is almost certain to be good at the job.
Delbert Hosemann, the Republican nominee and current Secretary of State, has demonstrated the ability to get big things accomplished, such as implementing voter ID without getting the state sued. He is open and transparent. Although he doesn’t go out of his way to start a fight, he does not shy away from one when something important is at stake, such as making sure that those who lease public school trust lands are paying a fair amount for the privilege.
His 12 years of capable, scandal-free leadership of the Secretary of State’s Office have earned him a promotion.
Jay Hughes, the Democrat challenging Hosemann, is more of a firebrand, but he also has run an impressive, issues-oriented campaign. During his one term in the Legislature, he has soaked in a lot about where Mississippi has been falling short in education, healthcare, and in transportation.
The policy differences between Hosemann and Hughes are rather modest. They agree on significantly raising teacher pay, on doing more skills training in the high schools for students who are not college-bound, on doing more to repair the state’s roads and bridges, on expanding healthcare coverage through some form of Medicaid expansion, on requiring greater transparency from the Legislature.
Both are pragmatic and willing to seek compromise, traits that have been sorely missing during the tunnel-vision tenure of Tate Reeves as lieutenant governor. Either will be a refreshing change at the Capitol.
But in having to pick one, our pick goes to Hosemann.
He has been a faithful public servant for longer than Hughes be able to get more done with a Senate that is certain to have a Republican majority. He is better connected with the business community. And regardless of whether it’s Reeves or Jim Hood as the next governor, Hosemann is better suited in temperament to work with either.
We recommend that voters on Tuesday cast their ballot for him.