All candidates for Attorney General: Andy Taggart, Mark Baker, Jennifer Riley Collins, and State Treasurer Lynn Fitch; spoke at the Neshoba County Fair on Thursday.
Lynn Fitch touted her previous service to the state as a qualifier for the position. Since becoming Treasurer, Fitch said she has helped the state save $150 million, has given back $100 million in unclaimed property to citizens, and brought Mississippi to 18th in the nation to require financial education.
“I’m ready to serve as Attorney General,” said Fitch.
Fitch said she’s pro-business, a practicing lawyer and has served as special assistant attorney general. She’s had 34 years of experience.
“I have no learning curve, I’m hired to work from day 1,” said Fitch.
Andy Taggart’s focus was on outlining how he’d be a more active AG than what the seat has seen in years past.
Taggart said he’s willing to put in the work, and if done right, the AG should be the hardest job in the state. He called the Attorney General the Chief Law Enforcement Officer and Chief Lawyer of the state.
While every campaign comes with its own mudslinging, Taggart said he was called “just a grieving Daddy” who wasn’t qualified for the job. His son, Brad, committed suicide after one year of illicit drug use.
“We may be misty-eyed missing our boy, but we’re steely-eyed in our conviction,” said Taggart.
Taggart said he would be a more present, active AG than Jim Hood.
“If he didn’t have enough zeal to show up in court (for the heartbeat bill)…I wonder how zealous he’s going to be when he appeals to that same position,” said Taggart.
Taggart said it does not matter who one may think the next Governor is going to be, the state will need to have an AG who will serve the office and not treat it like a political stepping stone.
“Put me in the office within a yard of hell where the fire is hottest because that’s where the fight is,” said Taggart. “I will fight.”
Mark Baker discussed his history as an attorney and state representative and how that qualifies him for Attorney General.
Baker said he’s Pro-Trump, NRA-endorsed, Pro-Law enforcement, and has the know-how to provide resources to protect law enforcement.
“We need an attorney general that will step up to protect the people of Jackson and the state of Mississippi. As goes Jackson, so goes the state of Mississippi.”
Baker said he’s running for Attorney General because people are not being indicted because of the backlog at the crime lab. He also plans to fight lawsuits that rise against Mississippi, such as a recent suit against Mississippi for car tags now reading “In God We Trust.”
“We need an attorney general that will stand up for the car tags,” said Baker. “Because in Mississippi, in God we do trust.”
Baker said the performance of the Attorney General’s office has been unacceptable with 110 no-contest contracts by Jim Hood to other attorneys.
“Mississippi needs an attorney who will be a business partner, not a business prosecutor,” said Baker.
Baker said money has been misdirected, and that taxpayer money needs to go to the general fund for teacher pay raises, not for attorney’s to get faster jets and bigger mansions.
“If you’re looking for Jim Hood 2.0,” said Baker. “I’m not your guy.”
Jennifer Riley Collins is the only Democrat in the race for the Attorney General’s seat and has an extensive background with the military.
“My public service oath in the military has not retired,” said Collins. As MS next attorney general, I will lead from the front.”
Collins said she swore to defend rights, and that Mississippi doesn’t need a negative narrative of “us vs. them.”
“I would support the constitution of Mississippi,” said Collins. “I have an always will adhere to that oath. I will hold those who do harm to hardworking Mississippians accountable for their actions.”
Collins said she will defend those who have been harmed either by flooding or adverse environmental impacts from flood control on the coast and in the Delta.
She said she will also defend voting rights.
“I will not sit idly by while Russian Roulette is played with our fundamental right…to vote,” said Collins.
She added that she is passionate about defending the vulnerable in Mississippi.
“I will work to defend children by enacting gun safety measures, protecting hospitals, and empowering women,” said Collins. “I am not running to gain favor with any one man. I’m not pro-any one person. I’m running because the government is supposed to be for the people.”