Representative Robert Foster sits down to talk about his gubernatorial run in this years race.
“I really felt like our state has tremendous potential,” said Foster. “I felt like what we really need in our state leadership is somebody with business experience that has on the ground experience in building a business, which I’ve done through the recession for the last 12 years and understands what the role of government should be in creating an environment for business.”
With Foster being so new to politics, only having served in the House of Representatives since 2016, many were surprised he decided to go for governor so early in his career. He says that he gets the question “why so soon?” very often. His response; he doesn’t want to lose his passion or conviction.
“Well, after only three years of being here I saw how the passion and the convictions of people on issues that they are very passionate about, they tend to get persuaded by the special interests in this building. Some people it happens very quickly and I think the reality is that everybody who has ever been in politics would agree it gets to everyone eventually,” said Foster.
Foster believes most politicians would agree with him, that everyone gets corrupted by power at some point and to some extent. He admitted that even in his short time as a Representative, he has experienced the pressures himself. Foster said he worried if he waited to make a move for a more impactful role in Mississippi’s future, like Governor, he too would be effected by the environment of politics.
“I knew that if I waited and climbed the typical ladder one rung at a time over a 16 or 20 year period like most people do when they go for Governor in the state of Mississippi, that I would not have the same passions, convictions, or abilities to do what I know needs to be done to help our state, because I would have lost a lot of that autonomy.” said Foster. “I would rather be back on my farm running my business where I can at least help my local community than be ineffective as a state leader because I lost those convictions.”
While his convictions may be strong, so are his opponents. Foster faces Lt. Governor Tate Reeves and retired Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Bill Waller in the GOP Primary. Foster believes his background sets him apart from them due to his business experience.
When it comes to ‘career politicians,’ Foster said, “I think people see that as a problem, and I think they see me as a different type of candidate that we’ve had to chose from in the past because I don’t have a career in politics.”
If Foster were to win the race, he would leave behind his family Agri-tourism business, Cedar Hill Farm, in Hernando. The business was started by Robert’s parents Mike and Martha and 1996 until he and his wife Heather took it over in 2005. It serves the Mid-South and employs over 100 people. However, Foster says, if he were to win, relocation would be the only logical step.
“We would move here [Jackson]. Everything I do I take very seriously and I would put everything I have into the position for the next four years which means I would move to Jackson, I would move my family to Jackson,” said Foster.
Foster’s platform primarily includes business and job expansion, improved education, and tackling the problems within the state’s healthcare structure. Foster believes education is more than a four year degree, and in many cases the most educated and qualified, not to mention in demand, workforce don’t have that degree.
“That’s the number one issue that I want to address as governor, not making people feel like you’re a failure if you don’t get a college degree,” said Foster.
Foster hopes to continue to recruit industry and improve education by encouraging skilled labor and not just the achievement of a college degree.