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Catching up with the candidates: Chris McDaniel, Lt. Governor

Chris McDaniel
Photo by SuperTalk Mississippi News

As election season kicks into full swing, SuperTalk Mississippi is offering every candidate seeking statewide office an opportunity to join our airwaves and discuss why they are running.

Chris McDaniel is a Republican seeking the office of lieutenant governor. McDaniel, a longtime state senator from Ellisville, joined Friday’s episode of MidDays with Gerard Gibert. Below is a recap of some key topics from the interview. A full video of the conversation can be found at the bottom of the article.

Reasons for running

McDaniel, who describes himself as one of the most conservative leaders Mississippi has to offer, explained that the state of the nation as a whole is what led to his decision to run for lieutenant governor.

“It’s a long decision-making process honestly. I think it started with me considering the state of the nation as a whole,” McDaniel said. “I never thought I would see the day that society seemed to be unraveling the way it is now – not just the governmental institutions but culturally and socially and just about every other way.”

McDaniel added that part of the problem is what he believes to be stagnation within the Republican party.

“We need people of conviction, people of principle,” McDaniel said. “Many people in our party have decided to just go with the flow, to not push back, to not stand on those very core principles. And what that gives you is one small incremental change after another constantly moving to the left.”

Relationship with Hosemann, other elected officials

With the goal of unseating Republican Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann, McDaniel says Hosemann continues to have more of an overarching Democratic viewpoint.

“Fundamentally, we’re just very different people from a political perspective,” McDaniel said. “It’s not that he’s a bad person. I would never imply that. Politics shouldn’t be about personal insults. It’s just that he’s more of a Democrat than he is a Republican.”

McDaniel’s rationale partially centers around Hosemann’s promotion of Democrats amid a Republican supermajority in the Senate. Currently, 13 of 16 Senate Democrats chair what McDaniel called “powerful committees.”

As for moving into the chamber’s highest position of power if elected, McDaniel said that he has a good enough relationship with his peers that there should not be any issues.

“There may be one or two, obviously, but nothing personal. I happen to respect everyone in that chamber,” McDaniel said. “I’m a professional. I try to be. And I hope they are as well.”

McDaniel also said that he believes the state will be in a much better place if he gets the chance to work directly with incumbent Governor Tate Reeves.

“Tate Reeves has done his very best to govern conservatively,” McDaniel said. “Wouldn’t it be amazing if we had conservatives in all those positions of power? What if he didn’t have to fight every day to see conservative reform passed? What if he could actually get things done, his agenda passed for the next four years? We could build a legacy of conservatism in a four-year term.”

Elimination of income tax

As the fight to speed up the elimination of income tax appears to have reached a dead end during the current session, McDaniel said the Senate would have a much better chance of achieving the feat if he were lieutenant governor.

“Believe it or not, we have enough votes in the Senate to pass it, but one man stands in the way of that,” McDaniel said. “And that is Delbert Hosemann. That is not a Republican position, and I want to see conservative legislation passed.”

Mississippi’s income tax is currently on pace to be completely phased out within the next 12 to 14 years, with Reeves continuously calling on lawmakers to speed up the process.

Holding government accountable

McDaniel, who has served in the Mississippi Senate since 2008, shared multiple ideas that he believes would work to hold government accountable. First and foremost, he would like to see term limits implemented for all elected officials.

“I don’t like the lifestyle that’s been created by this continual reelection of establishment politicians,” McDaniel said. “I have pushed for term limits every year I’ve been there. Now, people say, ‘McDaniel, you should just step down.’ Well, that’s kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy… If the only people that always step down are the ones trying to get systemic term limits, guess what will never pass.”

McDaniel continued, sharing his support for recall elections.

“Politicians are no longer accountable,” McDaniel said. “If we can’t fulfill our promises and hold down these conservative positions, then people should be allowed to bring us home.”

Additionally, McDaniel would like to see the ballot initiative restored in Mississippi. He also does not agree with pay raises for elected officials.

Health care

With a multitude of hospitals across the state in danger of closing, Mississippi health officials continue to urge lawmakers to pass Medicaid expansion. Like most Republicans, McDaniel says there are ways to save the state’s hospitals without expanding Medicaid.

“I don’t think we have to expand Medicaid to save the hospitals, but are there other ways? We have to find it. It could be tax breaks, it could be more competition, it could be the elimination of CON laws. Whatever the case may be, but we have to get creative because our people do need health care, and no one wants to see these hospitals shut down.

McDaniel also noted his affirmation that there are inherent flaws within the system of Medicaid as a whole.


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