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Biz folks remain non-committal on statewide races

In tightly contested statewide races, it’s sometimes easier to remain non-committal than to speak first and pay later, in some form or fashion. Savvy business folks know that politicians have long memories.

“I don’t have any partisan views because I vote in New Orleans,” said Curtis Wilke, a political journalism professor at the University of Mississippi and Louisiana State University. “Both (Republican gubernatorial candidate) Haley (Barbour) and (Democrat incumbent Ronnie) Musgrove are people I know and like. Whoever wins, Mississippi will be well served.”

The lieutenant governor’s race between Republican incumbent Amy Tuck and Democrat Barbara Blackmon is interesting because of the precedent Blackmon is setting as the first major party female African-American candidate to seek the No. 2 power post, said Wilke.

“People are beginning to realize how much power the lieutenant governor has in the Legislature,” he said. “It’s a serious job, not one that calls for just standing around waiting to fill in for the governor.”

Lex Taylor, president of Mississippians for Economic Progress, and president of Taylor Machine Works in Lexington, said this year’s election is “particularly important in light of the tort reform movement now in full steam at full speed.”

“In view of the progress made in the special session late last year in tort reform, it is vitally important that the right people be elected to insure the completion of that effort next year,” he said.

“Economically speaking, while we’re proud to see new business coming to the state, the existing industry that is home grown and has stuck around needs to have the help and support of the right kind of executive and legislative branch.”

The tort reform movement would definitely lose steam if the right people were not elected, said Taylor.

“There’s no question that there is going to be a detrimental outcome to the progress we’ve made if someone like Barbara Blackmon from the Senate side is elected, and if the drum beat we hear from Billy McCoy is accurate in the House side,” he said.

Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynne W. Jeter at mbj@thewritingdesk.com.

About Lynne W. Jeter

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