Erik Fleming – I wish I could be governor

I remember when I first started in Mississippi politics, I was out there campaigning for a seat on the Jackson City Council, and when I met with people to solicit contributions, they would say to me as they wrote out their checks, “You would make a great state legislator someday.” I guess people of faith spoke that into existence.

Later, as I started making a name for myself at the State Capitol, people then started introducing me as “the first Black Governor of the State of Mississippi.” I thought that was flattering. However, after running two statewide campaigns and fast approaching my 45 year on this earth, 26 of them in the Magnolia State, I believe all that will be is a compliment.

I would love to have the opportunity to run and serve as governor of this state. There are so many things that need to be done. Our education system needs to be thoroughly addressed, infrastructure improvements need to be spear-headed and our overall quality of life must be upgraded from a mode of survival to a mindset of thriving.

Alas, I have come to the realistic conclusion that I may not have that opportunity, especially in 2011. I guess that is why this is on my mind since the election is only a couple of years away and the candidates are already positioning themselves. Bill Luckett, a Clarksdale attorney and co-owner with Morgan Freeman of the Ground Zero Blues Club, is seriously exploring a run along with Attorney General Jim Hood on the Democratic side. The media has pretty much anointed Lt. Governor Phil Bryant as the Republican nominee and the next governor, but there are rumblings about a GOP primary with Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann and /or State Treasurer Tate Reeves in the mix.

Needless to say that I am not overly enthused about the choices out there, but it is what it is. Forces beyond my control have shaped this race and decreased my options. I know that it is impossible for me to pursue something that I would love to do. Well, let me rephrase that: I know that it is impossible to win a position I would love to hold. I could run, and then be labeled “the Black Shawn O’Hara” and as some already said nastily before , “a perennial candidate”. I would hate to tarnish my reputation in that way.

Erik Fleming’s Weblog