By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Billy Hewes insists his life experience and leadership in the Mississippi Senate make him the voters’ better choice for lieutenant governor.
“People can have confidence in me to make sure things get done,” the Gulfport native said Wednesday during a Daily Journal editorial board interview.
Hewes faces state Treasurer Tate Reeves in the Aug. 2 Republican primary. With no Democrats in the race, its winner will be one heartbeat away from the governor’s office.
Hewes criticized Reeves’ lack of legislative experience, saying it matters that the lieutenant governor as presiding officer of the state Senate have a good understanding of how to get things done around the state Capitol.
“My opponent brags about holding the line on spending,” Hewes said. “When did he have anything to do with state spending?
“He’s not passed one piece of legislation and he doesn’t even show up at the Capitol.”
Hewes also said Reeves “can’t have it both ways” – by criticizing legislative spending but approving the vast majority of long-term debt as a member of the state Bond Commission.
“I don’t think he’s prepared to be lieutenant governor,” Hewes said.
Describing himself as a fiscal and social conservative, Hewes said he’s spent the past 20 years learning the intricacies of the legislative process and how to build effective relationships to get things done in Jackson.
He touted some accomplishments as passage of a Rainy Day Fund reserve for the budget, tort reform, home-seller disclosure and a prepaid college tuition program.
Hewes said his leadership skills were borne from his living through Gulf Coast hurricane experiences since Camille in 1969.
“I’m not subject to on-the-job training,” he added. “We have serious issues ahead – the budget, redistricting – that need an experienced hand in the Senate.”
He said he’s optimistic about election results, despite Reeves’ claims that he’s ahead.
“I think the numbers will work in our favor,” he said, citing his expectation of strong voter turnout in his south Mississippi stronghold, as well as key areas in north and central parts of the state.
He also noted political endorsements from well-known Republicans like former Sen. Trent Lott, Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler, Billy Powell and Billy Mounger, and others “who understand how the legislative process works.”
“Do voters want someone who’s proven and seasoned, or do they take a chance on someone who isn’t?”
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or email@example.com.
Billy Hewes, 49
– Gulfport resident
– Family insurance business owner
– 20 years, state senator
– Current Senate president pro tempore