Bob Hickingbottom is an Independent Party candidate for governor, but he’s long been a fixture in Democrat party politics in Hinds County. He says one Democrat in particular was influential in why he decided to run.
“The reason I decided to run was because of Jim Hood.” said Hickingbottom. “I looked back over the last 12 or 13 years as to how bad Jim Hood did my friend (former Jackson Mayor) Frank Melton.”
During his interview on why he was running for the position, much of his answers revolved around the past leadership of Jim Hood, and how he believes it was “deplorable” referring to Hood’s prosecutions of Frank Melton and Robert Schuler Smith.
At one point, Hickingbottom went so far as to compare Hood to former religious cult leader, Jim Jones. Jones was the faith leader that conspired with his inner circle to orchestrate a mass suicide among the members of his commune in Jonestown, Guyana in 1978. Over 900 people were found dead.
“They have a lot in common, both of them have spells on black people,” said Hickingbottom.
He criticized Hood’s lack of endorsement for the Democratic Party nominee in the AG’s race, Jennifer Riley-Collins. He made claims that Hood’s camp has been actively supporting Republican candidate Lynn Fitch for the position, a tactic Hickingbottom says is so that his administration can keep particular trial lawyers in place.
Hickingbottom said he would whole heartedly endorse Riley-Collins.
When it got down to the issues, Hickingbottom said he would accept a Medicaid expansion on day one in office.
“I would accept that $1 billion plus, and use that money to save our rural hospitals; go into the Delta and rural areas,” said Hickingbottom. He said some doctors he has spoken to have encouraged him to go look for doctors willing to go to the Delta and work for minimum wage for the people living there.
He also emphasized the need for skilled work force. He would put a push on skilled jobs like nurses, pipe welders, construction workers and others.
“Why is it that many of our schools go to school 12, 13, or 14 years and come out with a fifth grade education. We’ve got to do better than that in Mississippi,” said Hickingbottom.
When it comes to state workers and first responders, Hickingbottom said he would like to raise the salary to the Southeastern average.
“My support comes from the people,” said Hickingbottom. He said for the last 25 years he has been involved in every major campaign that has come through Hinds county. He said over the campaign process he has visited 72 counties and believes he is one of the luckiest men in the world to be doing what he’s doing.
“I’d like to ask people to come out and vote for Bob Hickingbottom,” he said. “I’m a mature self motivated and result oriented individual.”
He said if elected he will not lie to the people but give the hard facts and believes it is imperative to go back to the Delta and ensure that the communities there are rebuilt through healthcare and education.
“When one Mississippian hurts, we all hurt,” said Hickingbottom.