Lt. Governor Tate Reeves sat down with Y’all Politics to discuss his decision to run for Governor of Mississippi in 2019. Reeves is running as a Republican and will face two other opponents in the Primary in August to be the official nominee.

“I’m running for Governor to take Mississippi to its full potential,” said Reeves.

Reeves said that conservatives have only been in charge for the last eight years and Democrats had been leading the state for nearly 120 years prior to that. He believes the progress that has been made since conservatives took the majority in legislature in those last few years.

“The progress we have made is incredible. The fact of the matter is, Mississippi is headed in the right direction,” said Reeves. “When you look at the economic progress that we have made Mississippi has the lowest unemployment rate than at any time in our state’s history. Mississippi has more people working today than at any time in our state’s history.” He said 88,000 more people are working today than they were eight years ago.

Reeves believes the next Governor must be strong enough and focused enough to help the state reach its full potential.

Reeves said one of the most important issues that the state must focus on is being fiscally responsible. During his tenure as Lt. Governor he made it a mission to ensure that the budget was balanced and continued to build the rainy day fund.

“Mississippi has less debt on the books at the end of my eight years as Lt. Governor than it did when we began,” said Reeves.

He also believes Mississippi is on the path for longterm economic growth. That being said, he wants to ensure there is a fair, flat, tax code that is encouraging of economic development. He said this makes the state more competitive when attracting business and industry.

“The third thing we must do is continue to improve the education outcomes of our students,” said Reeves.

Reeves said graduation rates are up almost 11 percent. There has been a steady rise in Mississippi while the national average has stayed flat. He said the conversation can’t be just about ‘how much money can be spent,’ but looking at the outcomes of education.

“What we’ve focused on is outcomes. Are we spending our money in the most efficient manner possible and are we spending it in the classroom,” asked Reeves. “I believe the best way for every kid to get a quality education is to have a quality teacher in the classroom.”

When it comes to fourth grade reading improvement, Mississippi’s children are second, ahead of 48 other states.

Through his time as Lt. Governor, Reeves said one of his proudest accomplishment is those improved results among students.

“When I see high school graduation rates improving 11 percentage points over eight years, I get excited. When I see that our fourth grade reading results are out performing 48 other states, I get excited,” said Reeves.

While Reeves has served as Lt. Governor, and Treasurer before then, he said the best experience he ever received was working for his family’s air conditioning business. Reeves said he was put to work as a young child in the warehouse helping out as he could.

“In the summer in the south, in a hot warehouse, you probably want to get an education. You might not want to do that for the rest of your life,” said Reeves.

He said growing up in a small business he learned the importance of entrepreneurs throughout the state having the opportunity to invest their capitol and time and who have a passion to grow their business. Small business employ the vast majority of Mississippians.

Reeves said public policy is his passion, and that’s because he knows the impact it can have on Mississippians directly.

“I know how it can effect people. I know that when we can have the largest tax cut in Mississippi history it puts more money in people’s pocket,” said Reeves.

Reeves said if he is given the opportunity to serve as the next Governor of the state he will continue on the success of the previous administration to move Mississippi forward.