Reeves and Waller debate less than a week ahead of runoff election

Reeves and Waller debate less than a week ahead of runoff election
Former State Supreme Court Justice Bill Waller Jr., left, and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves are in a runoff for the Republican nomination for Governor. (Source: John Fitzhugh)

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - With less than a week till the primary runoff elections, Republican gubernatorial candidates Tate Reeve and Bill Waller, Jr. squared off for a 30 minute debate Wednesday night. The debate started with the topics that are the fault line between the two campaigns, starting with Medicaid expansion.

“I’m actually the only candidate running for Governor this year in either party that is opposed to more Obamacare in Mississippi," said Reeves. "I do not believe that putting 300,000 more Mississippians on government healthcare is a good solution.”

“It’s good for the citizens," explained Waller. "It lowers the cost of healthcare. It would be a billion dollars a year to our 115 hospitals, over 60,000 employees at no taxpayer expense.”

And then they commented on their thoughts about raising the gas tax.

“We need to have something that everyone pays for... the unemployed, the drug dealers, the out of state motorists and that’s the Ronald Reagan plan," said Waller. "Nobody’s every called Ronald Reagan a liberal.”

“That’s a 240 million dollar increase on hard working Mississippi families," responded Reeves. "I’m opposed to raising the gas tax and, yet again, here’s another issue where I am the only candidate running for Governor that is opposed to raising the gas tax. Both Judge Waller and Attorney General Jim Hood are for raising the gas tax.”

But there was a point of agreement in the night.

“We need to raise teacher pay as fast as we can, every year, and I intend to do that until we reach the Southeastern average,” said Waller.

“We need to raise teacher pay as fast as we can to get to the Southeastern average,” agreed Reeves.

And a consensus that something has to be done with the DMV but not many details on exactly how that would happen.

“If I’m elected, there’ll be no more than a 30 minute wait at the drivers station if we have to make some changes on that but that is unacceptable to the public,” Waller explained.

“Go online and you ought to be able to define an appointment so you don’t have to stand in line," Reeves noted. "They don’t even allow simple things such as that. So, I believe we can fix that and it should be one of the first priorities of the next Governor.”

The runoff will be held next Tuesday, August 27th.

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