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Catching up with the candidates: Tiffany Longino, Lt. Governor

Tiffany Longino
Photo courtesy of Tiffany Longino/Facebook

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.

Tiffany Longino is a Republican seeking the office of lieutenant governor. Longino, who has served as a member of the Mississippi Federation of Republican Women, joined an episode of MidDays with Gerard Gibert to outline her platform. A full video of the conversation can be found at the bottom of the article.

Reasons for running

Having a background in education, Longino believes her experience with a wide variety of Mississippians qualifies her to hold one of the state’s highest offices.

If elected, Longino says she would change the status quo of politics in the Magnolia State and restore more power to the citizens.

“We’re kind of tired of seeing those professional politicians because that is what it is becoming — the same thing over and over again,” Longino explained. “You have people implementing and drafting legislation who are not concerned with the public. So, one of the main things I want to do is bring the public back into public policy.”

Fixing Jackson crime

While Longino is an advocate for strengthening the police force in Mississippi’s capital city, she is not in favor of controversial House Bill 1020, which creates an inferior court system to try cases in an expanded Capitol Complex Improvement District.

The longtime educator is in favor of expanding Capitol Police’s jurisdiction in Jackson and adding more officers to the force. However, she argues that any measure to appoint judges to an inferior court system violates the Mississippi Constitution.

“We need more policing in the city of Jackson, though that’s not going to fix the problem because you have to get to the root,” Longino continued. “It is unconstitutional to appoint judges unless you have a special election, a recusal, or someone dies.”

Longino accuses lawmakers in favor of HB 1020 of not seeking Jackson residents’ opinions on the matter and adds that the people’s voice is essential when drafting legislation of this magnitude.

Cutting taxes

Though Longino is in favor of the idea of cutting the state’s grocery and income tax, she would like to see the legislature formulate a plan to recover that lost income from other means.

“If you cut those taxes, where is the rest of that revenue going to come from? That’s what I want to see,” Longino stated.

The candidate acknowledged that Mississippi does not have the same population as nearby states like Florida and Texas, nor does it offer the same entertainment attractions, which puts the Magnolia State in a peculiar position in terms of recouping lost funds due to cuts in taxes.

As lieutenant governor, she would work with lawmakers to develop a comprehensive plan to inform citizens where they would see reductions in their taxes, but where there would also be inevitable increases.

“If we can develop a plan and show the people — if we cut the income tax and the grocery tax — now what is going to go up? Because if you cut this, then obviously, some taxes are going to go up,” Longino said.

Medicaid expansion

With a multitude of hospitals across the state in danger of closing, Longino joins numerous Mississippi health officials in supporting Medicaid expansion.

Although Longino is against increasing the size and scope of government, she finds Medicaid expansion to be an exception. She argues that it is necessary to provide monetary resources to struggling Mississippi hospitals in order to serve the people of a state that is ranked No. 49 nationally in healthcare.

“I’m for Medicaid expansion,” Longino continued. “When you look at statistics and you look at the research, we’re like No. 1 in poverty. We’re obese. We have 43 percent of Mississippians who suffer from high blood pressure. We have to give resources first before we can take [them] away.”

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