2023 Mississippi Governor Voters Guide

Brandon Presley (D) vs Tate Reeves (R)

Governor | Election | Nov 7, 2023

The Candidates

Brandon Presley

Brandon Presley

Democrat

Tate Reeves

Tate Reeves

Republican

Incumbent

The Issues

Abortion

Ban or legal?

Brandon Presley (D)

Ban. “There should be exceptions for cases of rape, incest, and life of the mother. I believe being pro-life, as I am, means more than just the abortion issue; it means being pro-hospital, pro-emergency-room, pro-doctor, pro-Medicaid expansion.”

Climate

Should climate change be a top priority?

Brandon Presley (D)

Yes. Supported a program to incentivize the growth of solar energy in schools and residential areas, “a source that is not dependent upon international energy markets.”

Tate Reeves (R)

No. Opposed the program to incentivize the growth of solar energy, calling it “a bad deal.” Opposed an SEC rule compelling publicly traded companies to disclose their climate-related risks. Signed bill restricting in-person electric-car sales.

Criminal Justice

How to ensure effectiveness and fairness in law enforcement?

Brandon Presley (D)

Would “fund the police.” Seeks “meaningful, thoughtful reform to police training and standards” to make police forces stronger. Opposes expanding the authority of the state police in Jackson and having Jackson judges appointed by the chief justice of the Supreme Court instead of through local elections. Seeks “collaboration with local officials” to address crime in and around Jackson.

Education

Use public funding for private and/or for-profit schools?

Brandon Presley (D)

No. “Taxpayer dollars should go to public schools.” Private school voucher programs are “justifying diverting funding from our public schools.”

Tate Reeves (R)

Yes. As Lt. Governor supported adding $2 million to public funding for special needs students to attend private school. As Governor declared “School Choice Week.”

How to examine issues around racism in the classroom and the community?

Brandon Presley (D)

There is no way to ever deal with the issues of race without facing them…. We must confront ourselves and our beliefs…, especially on the issues of race.” “We’ve taken an important step to keep Emmett (Till’s) memory alive, but there’s more we have to do to fight for civil rights and equality here in Mississippi.”

Increase funding for K-12 education?

Brandon Presley (D)

Yes. “We must fully fund public education.” “We owe it to our local school boards and our local schools to have a constant stream of funds that is predictable. We owe it to the taxpayers.” “Inflation is eating up the cost of a pay raise – and we need to make sure that teacher salaries keep up with the price of inflation so we can recruit and retain educators.”

Tate Reeves (R)

Mixed. Vetoed a bill in 2020 to shift funds from a teacher incentive program in order to fund teacher salaries statewide. Signed the largest teacher pay raise in state history in 2022. Criticized a 2023 plan to fully fund the state’s public education.

Elections

How to restore Mississippians ability to place citizen ballot initiatives?

Brandon Presley (D)

Would “lead the effort to restore the ballot initiative process.” After the state Supreme Court ended it, he called the legislature’s failure to restore it “a huge setback for the right to vote.”

Tate Reeves (R)

“Citizens should have access to the ballot, and it ought to be done in a way where it’s challenging to get on the ballot but that it is possible.”

Health Care

Support expansion of Medicaid?

Tate Reeves (R)

No. Opposes expanding Medicaid, which he sees as “socialized medicine.” “I’m opposed to Obamacare expansion in Mississippi.” Would address health care shortages by encouraging “competition in the healthcare area” and “innovative free market solutions that disrupt traditional healthcare delivery models.”

Infrastructure

How to address Jackson’s long-running water system problems and other infrastructure needs?

Brandon Presley (D)

On Jackson’s water, wants “the state (to) work together…with the city of Jackson” as a “major public works project” to fix “the water issue.” Would use federal money to build the infrastructure to expand high-speed internet service across the state.

Tate Reeves (R)

Vetoed unanimous 2020 legislation passed to improve Jackson’s water-billing system and solidify the city’s water revenues. As state treasurer, blocked and delayed bond funding for Jackson water improvements. In 2022 declared a state of emergency to repair Jackson’s water system. Proposes a $1.3 billion infrastructure plan, mostly for road repairs and upgrades.

Labor

Make it easier or harder for unions to organize?

Brandon Presley (D)

Unclear. Would “strengthen Mississippi’s equal pay law,” which protects workers from pay discrimination. It is currently weaker than federal equal pay laws.

Tate Reeves (R)

Likely harder. When asked about a lack of a union role in the official COVID recovery, said, “We don’t need union bosses to tell us how to tell us how to take care of our people.”

LGBT Rights

Limit or expand LGBTQ rights?

Brandon Presley (D)

Mixed. Would not have signed a bill outlawing gender-affirming care for transgender minors such as puberty blockers. “I trust mamas and I trust daddies to deal with the health care of their children first and foremost.” Later he said new restrictions are “settled in Mississippi,”so would not work to reverse them.

Tate Reeves (R)

Limit. Signed a bill banning gender-affirming care for minors. Signed a bill banning transgender athletes from competing on girls or women’s sports teams. Supported a Supreme Court decision allowing a woman creating wedding websites to refuse service for same sex weddings.

Marijuana

Ban or legal?

Brandon Presley (D)

Legal on medical. Opposed the Tennessee Valley Authority decision to block local utility companies from providing power to medical cannabis facilities. No position found on recreational marijuana.

Mississippi Welfare Fraud Scandal

Response to Mississippi’s misuse of more than $77 million in federal welfare funds?

Student Financial Aid

Support lower interest on student loans or forgiving them?

Brandon Presley (D)

Yes, at least partly. “We need to…expand access to Mississippi’s teacher loan repayment programs.”

Tate Reeves (R)

No. Opposes federal loans forgiveness programs. When Reeves was President of the State Senate as Lt. Governor, the state cut loan forgiveness programs for teachers.

Taxes

How to handle state taxation?

Tate Reeves (R)

Is focused on eliminating the income tax, which “makes more sense economically” than ending the grocery tax. However, is “open to cutting taxes of any sort.”

Voting Rules

Tighten or ease voting rules?

Brandon Presley (D)

Ease. “Voting is as much a privilege as a right. Thanks to… those who fought in the struggle to expand those rights to everyone.” On ex-felons voting, “it’s important for nonviolent offenders to have a chance for their voting rights to be restored.”

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