Luckett going strong in governor's bid

TUPELO – Clarksdale’s Bill Luckett knows some pretty swanky people, like his business partner, Hollywood actor Morgan Freeman.
Tuesday, he voiced his concern for the thousands of Mississippians with worries about their immediate futures and their children’s educations.
Luckett, 62, is a Democratic candidate for governor in 2011 and he launched his pitch at his first Cellular South Networking at Noon luncheon.
He said he’s running “with hopes of providing progressive leadership” in Jackson.
“Our children need an advocate – our businesses need support,” he told the crowd. “I want Mississippi to be better, don’t you?”
Luckett, who’s been involved with revitalization of downtown Clarksdale, is an attorney and with Freeman owns Madidi restaurant and Ground Zero blues club.
He praised Tupelo’s downtown program, which he said shows him how far his hometown has to go.
“I’m not a career politician,” he said, noting he’s never held public office. “But I will bring job and business know-how to the Capitol.”
Thus far, only Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny Dupree has publicly announced plans to join Luckett in the 2011 Democratic primary.
Luckett, the father of four, said he and his wife, Francine, have deep concerns about the future of public education in this state.
“Too many children simply are not ready for the first day of school,” he said. “Good jobs and a good education are inextricably linked. Not all our children are being offered this opportunity.”
But he said improvements, especially early childhood education, do not have to mean costly expenditures.
“We have to start thinking creatively about solutions,” he said, citing increased reliance upon existing local networks and volunteerism.
He linked the state’s high incarceration rate with its low educational attainments.
“I’m not soft on crime,” Luckett insisted, “but when our state spends two times per year per prisoner more than we spend per year on a student, something is wrong.”
He said some others who are lining up to run for governor have been in public office for decades.
“They’ve had their opportunity to change. They are the voices of the past,” Luckett noted.
“I am the voice of the future. It’s time for new ideas.”
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@djournal.com.

Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal