Republican Tate Reeves is now the governor of Mississippi, presiding over a deeply red government and a legion of interests looking for pieces of the state government's full coffers. Reeves took the oath of office yesterday in the Mississippi House of Representatives chamber in downtown Jackson, formally accepting the reins from outgoing Gov. Phil Bryant. The inauguration ceremony fell on a particularly uncooperative day, with torrential rains flooding several parts of the capital city. Outside the Capitol, military Humvees ringed the block, with impassive soldiers in camouflage ponchos waiting out the storm.
Reeves addressed the crowd with a message of inclusion and unity that seemed at odds with his history of uncompromising conservatism, the foundation of his campaign for governor against both Republican and Democratic opponents.
"Here is my promise," Reeves told the chamber. "This will be an administration for all Mississippi." The new governor momentarily departed from the soaring language of unblemished harmony to call for the defense of the state's "loving culture" that has "knitted Mississippi's families together, and tied them to each other for ages." Such a culture has made Mississippi special in a "fast-paced and transient world," Reeves said, and must be defended against the "erosion that frays societies."
The more substantive targets of Reeves speech included workforce training and teacher pay, one of Reeves' key platform planks. In recent weeks, legislators have taken an increasingly optimistic stance on the possibility of truly competitive teacher pay. New Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann said at a press event in December that he wants Mississippi to exceed, not match regional baselines.
Sen. David Blount, D-Jackson, newly appointed vice chairman of the Senate Education Committee, echoed those sentiments. "We have to be ambitious," Blount told the Jackson Free Press in an interview. "We want our best and brightest people to stay in Mississippi, and