Miss. candidates seek support at MEC Hobnob

By The Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Republican Phil Bryant and Democrat Johnny DuPree pledged to be pro-business governors if elected next Tuesday.

The two gubernatorial candidates and others spent Wednesday rubbing elbows with business and community leaders.

The politicians spoke at Hobnob, a social gathering sponsored by the state chamber of commerce, the Mississippi Economic Council.

Candidates gave speeches under a big white tent at the state Agriculture and Forestry Museum in Jackson. Hundreds of bankers, lawyers, manufacturing executives and other business people dined on catfish and other Mississippi specialties.

DuPree, speaking first, said he wants to lead Mississippi the way he has led Hattiesburg, where he has been mayor the past 10 years. He said he has made city government more efficient while attracting jobs and improving the quality of life.

“We put everyone together around the table and decided we wanted to have a better community,” DuPree said.

As DuPree stepped off the stage, he shook hands with Bryant, the first-term lieutenant governor. They hugged briefly.

Bryant said he will not raise corporate taxes. He said he also will appoint a commission to study all of the state’s regulatory agencies and he intends to get rid of regulations that hurt businesses.

Bryant said being lieutenant governor while Republican Haley Barbour is governor is like being an assistant under the late Bear Bryant, Alabama’s legendary former football coach. Bryant said he is not intimidated to follow Barbour as governor.

“I’m going to carry that passion into this office,” Bryant said.