Reeves says virtually every victory for the conservative movement over the last 15 years has been aided by Gunn’s core beliefs and principles.
On Wednesday, Speaker of the Mississippi House Philip Gunn, a Republican, announced that he would not be seeking re-election in 2023. Gunn has held the gavel in the House since Republicans won the majority in the chamber 12 years ago for the first since Reconstruction.
Soon after the announcement, Governor Tate Reeves and Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann offered their appreciation on a job well done.
Reeves, who was the Lt. Governor for 8 years presiding over the state Senate as Gunn led the state House as Speaker, said in a statement on social media that it has been a pleasure to serve with him while noting the importance of Gunn’s leadership on key legislation over the past decade.
“It has been a pleasure to serve with Speaker Philip Gunn – first as Lt. Governor and now as Governor – since literally the day after he was elected Speaker of the House in 2012,” Reeves wrote. “We have not always agreed on every individual tactical move – and trust me I know the media has always made a big deal of trying to highlight those minor differences. But I hope the people of Mississippi understand this: virtually every victory for the conservative movement over the last 15 years has been aided by his core beliefs and principles.”
Governor Reeves said Gunn’s election as Speaker will go down as “a major shift from big government advocates in the House to a conservative philosophical leader.”
“I have nothing but respect for his commitment to his constituents and his loyalty to the Mississippi House of Representatives,” Reeves continued. “Elee and I wish he and Lisa well in this next phase of their journey! Looking forward to further friendship, and maybe even being colleagues again at some point!”
There has been rampant speculation that Gunn could run for Governor in 2023 against Reeves, mostly pushed by certain media outlets. However, there has been no indication that Gunn will act on a gubernatorial run next year, at least at this juncture.
Lt. Governor Hosemann also took to social media to comment on Gunn’s announcement, saying the Speaker has provided consistent conservative, faith-based leadership during his tenure.
“My friend, Philip Gunn, has decided to pause his public service to MS,” Hosemann tweeted. “His fingerprints exist on most of our legislative history for his 12 years as Speaker. From child trafficking to tax reform, he provided consistent conservative, faith-based leadership to his colleagues.”
As for what is next for Gunn, he did say in his statement on Wednesday that he would be open to future opportunities to serve but did not elaborate as to what the future may hold quite yet.
“I love our state and will always work to make her better. I believe there will be an opportunity for me to serve our state soon and when that time comes I will be ready,” Gunn said.
Gunn’s Speaker Pro Tem, State Rep. Jason White, is the frontrunner to pick up the gavel should Republicans hold the majority in the Mississippi House after the November 2023 elections.