Presley challenges status quo in Mississippi governor race

Published 9:17 pm Thursday, August 31, 2023

Democratic candidate for governor of Mississippi, Brandon Presley, visited Oxford Wednesday to hold a town hall at the Oxford-Lafayette Public Library. Speaking to a packed audience, Presley outlined his priorities and fielded questions from citizens.

Presley wasted no time in expressing his frustration with the status quo in Jackson. “Y’all know this; this state has problems. Serious problems that require serious solutions,” he said, eliciting applause from the room.

Presley continued, “Hospitals are shutting down all across Mississippi, and Tate Reeves acts as if this crisis doesn’t even exist. I promise that as soon as I take the oath of office, I will expand Medicaid within the first five minutes.”

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Presley pointed out that he had consulted with GOP leaders from neighboring states like Arkansas and Louisiana about their successful Medicaid expansion initiatives concluding that there is bipartisan support in Mississippi as well, but with one road block: Mississippi’s current governor. He further expressed frustration over what he views as partisan politics at play in Mississippi, which he believes prevents residents from accessing proper healthcare services. “The system in Jackson is currently bought and paid for by the highest bidder,” he declared.

According to Presley, his opponent Tate Reeves is more concerned with making national headlines than with solving the state’s problems. Reeves, a veteran in Mississippi politics, uses his experience as a selling point. However, he currently faces opposition within his own party, according to Presley.

“A governor should work with both parties to find consensus and reach across the aisle,” Presley stated. “Politics in Mississippi need to return to the middle; that’s where the solutions are.”

Presley emphasized his dedication to bipartisan problem-solving in Jackson, highlighting his focus on education and health care. He encouraged Mississippians to look beyond partisan labels when voting this November. “I may be a Democrat, but I don’t like paying $3 for gas either,” he quipped, drawing laughter from the room.

The questions posed to Presley by attendees primarily concerned health care and the economy—a trend he said he’s observed while traveling the state. “I’m more committed to tax cuts than Tate Reeves is,” he claimed.

“In Mississippi, if you buy feed for a hog, you pay zero sales tax. But if you buy formula for a baby, you pay the highest sales tax in the United States,” Presley continued. “I don’t want to hear Tate Reeves talk about being more pro-life when you tax life at the highest rate in America.”

When asked about women’s health care and a woman’s right to choose, Presley was adamant that the issue was unlikely to revert to its Roe v. Wade status in Mississippi. However, he says he intends to prevent the issue from extending to include cases of rape and incest.