Hattiesburg mayor qualifies for Miss. gov contest

By The Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree says he’s running for Mississippi governor because he wants to help the state reach its full potential in health care, education and jobs.

“I’m running because I love Mississippi. I’m running because I think the citizens of Mississippi need choices, they need alternatives,” DuPree, 57, said Tuesday at the state Capitol, just before filing qualifying papers with the state Democratic Party.

Bill Luckett, a Clarksdale businessman and attorney, filed last week as a Democrat for governor.

Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant and Pass Christian businessman Dave Dennis have filed for governor as Republicans, and state employee James Broadwater plans to file Friday. Pearl River County supervisor Hudson Holliday has also said he’ll run as a Republican.

Candidates’ qualifying deadline is March 1. Party primaries are Aug. 2, and the general election is Nov. 8.

Republican Gov. Haley Barbour is limited to two terms and can’t run again this year.

DuPree is in his third term as mayor of Hattiesburg, which is home to the University of Southern Mississippi.

DuPree was appointed to the Hattiesburg School Board in 1987 and was elected as one of five Forrest County supervisors in 1991. He served nearly a decade as supervisor before winning the mayor’s race in 2001.

“When I’m looking at budgets, I have a sensitivity to what it actually takes to do things,” DuPree said. “I also understand that whatever happens here has a positive or a negative affect on people in the municipalities or in the counties or on school systems. I have that firsthand experience that nobody else has.”

Luckett, 62, said last week that if he’s elected governor, he wants to increase educational offerings in day-care centers as a step toward eventually developing a state-funded pre-kindergarten system. Luckett says the state can’t currently afford a full-fledged pre-K program. He also said he wants to promote renewable energy and increase tourism.

“Education and jobs are indivisible,” Luckett said. “Without one you don’t have the other.”

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Online:

James Broadwater campaign: http://www.broadwaterforgovernor.com

Phil Bryant campaign: http://www.philbryant.com

Dave Dennis campaign: http://davedennisforgovernor.com/

Johnny DuPree campaign: http://www.johnnydupree.com

Hudson Holliday campaign: http://www.hudsonholliday4gov.com/

Bill Luckett campaign: http://www.luckettforgovernor.com