July 30, 2011 10:55:00 PM
After a heated and costly race, Republican lieutenant governor candidates are bracing themselves for the primaries results Tuesday.
Tate Reeves, who has served two terms as treasurer since 2004, briefly stopped over in Columbus on his "watchdog express" bus tour Thursday after visiting the Neshoba Fair.
In a sit-down with Dispatch staff, Reeves said his top priority if elected would be to create more jobs by improving education in the state.
He said he would talk to the educators of tomorrow''s workforce to determine the best way to improve education.
That could mean administration or funding changes, and eventually fewer school districts, he said.
"We need a lieutenant governor who will work with locals," said Reeves, who is a native of Tylertown.
On economic development issues, Reeves said he supported an initiative on the ballot this year to limit when eminent domain can be used for private development.
Reeves, who claims the title "conservative money manager," also said he would tone down the practice of sweetening development deals -- a common way to attract new development.
"I''m probably a little less likely to provide state incentives than Gov. (Haley) Barbour has done," Reeves said.
He also accused his primary opponent, Sen. Billy Hewes, of running a negative campaign -- an accusation Hewes denies.
For more information about Reeves, go to TateReeves.com.
Billy Hewes, who has 20 years of legislative experience as a senator, has a plan: It''s nine-pages long and is on his website, BillyHewes.com.
Hewes said that document gives specifics about what he wants to do as lieutenant governor, while his opponent, Tate Reeves, only speaks in generalities.
"I''m the only candidate in this race who has released a specific list of issues," Hewes said.
Of those issues, his top three priorities are easing the tax burden by eliminating the state inventory tax, requiring drug testing for all welfare recipients, and streamlining education administration to put more money into the classrooms.
Hewes said his life and legislative experience qualify him to head the state senate.
"I''ve spent the last 20 years building relationships," he added.
He also has run a small business for 26 years, raised a family and lived within his means -- all things a lieutenant governor should have, he said.
If elected, Hewes said he would make conservative senate chairman appointments, although his appointments may stretch across party lines.
Hewes criticized Reeves for "mischaracterizing" several controversial issues during the campaign, including the state''s bond debt -- a debt Reeves had to sign off on.
"I''ve got a record," Hewes continued. "You can look at my record. Any record he''s had, like the bond debt, he''s running from."
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