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7 of 8 Mississippi statewide officials are inaugurated

Mississippi’s new lieutenant governor, Republican Delbert Hosemann, said immediately after his inauguration Thursday that he wants to work with all lawmakers to improve education, enact pay raises for state employees and address problems in a state’s prison system that has been rocked by deadly violence.

“We’re all in this together,” Hosemann told lawmakers and other officials in a crowded House chamber at the state Capitol.

Hosemann was among seven statewide elected officials who took the oath of office Thursday. His predecessor, Republican Tate Reeves, will be inaugurated as governor on Tuesday.

Hosemann, who previously served three terms as secretary of state, said the rotunda at the center of the Capitol does not need to divide the House and Senate.

“It’s not going to be a chasm as long as I’m blessed to be the lieutenant governor,” Hosemann said.

The statewide officials were elected in November, and all are Republican. Some have changed offices.

The new attorney general, Lynn Fitch, is the first woman to serve as Mississippi’s top legal officer. She is the first Republican in that job as she succeeds four-term Attorney General Jim Hood, a Democrat who ran unsuccessfully for governor last year. Fitch served the past two terms as state treasurer.

The new secretary of state is Michael Watson, who served three terms in the state Senate.

The new treasurer is David McRae, who worked as a manager of his family’s investments.

Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney was sworn in for a fourth term.

Auditor Shad White and Agriculture Commissioner Andy Gipson were both appointed to office by Republican Gov. Phil Bryant during the last term. Each begins a full four-year term.

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