The Neshoba County Fair is entering its second day of political speeches today. On Wednesday, Lt. Governor Tate Reeves used his speech to reclaim a term that had previously been meant as an attack.
Reeves used his 10-minute speech at the fair pavilion to highlight what he considers to be his accomplishments as a conservative leader in the state senate.
"You sent me to the capitol to control spending. To cut the debt burden on Mississippi's tax payers. And to protect your constitutional rights. You just might be a tater tot if you believe your elected officials should fight to protect your rights," Reeves said.
That term, 'Tater Tot', had been used by some in the capitol to criticize Reeves and his Senate leadership team whom they considered too insular.
But Reeves used the phrase repeatedly, attempting to make it synonymous with conservative ideals.
"In fact, you just might be a tater tot if you believe that we ought to fight the status quo and fight for better opportunities for our children," Reeves said.
Reeves did draw attention to actual political achievements such as paying down state debt, limiting borrowing and improving reading standards in school.
But he also took time to attack the federal health care reform law that's called Obamacare.
"The effect of Obamacare has not changed. It is still a job killer. It is still unworkable. And it is still crushing out economic recovery," Reeves said.
Reeves was also one of many speakers who addressed the controversial open-carry gun law, saying he and the chamber are fighting to protect the second amendment.
Also in attendance was MIssissippi Attorney General Jim Hood who defended a controversial gun law and called for greater bipartisanship.
During his 10-minute speech under the pavilion at fair, Hood called on the Supreme Court to take up the so-called open carry gun law.
A court battle over the law has created confusion about whether or not it is actually in effect state wide, and Hood says the Supreme Court needs to clear up any misunderstanding for law enforcement and citizens.
"So I hope our Supreme Court will step up and give some clarity because it is just a matter of law. Our constitution says you shall have the right to keep and bear arms. The only part in it that says the legislature may regulate it is the area of concealed carry. No that is what our constitution says. The inference would be that if you can only regulate concealed carry than open carry is fine," Hood said.
Hood is the only Democrat elected to any of the eight statewide offices.
After saying he is still seeing the impact of what he calls the 'Bush-Cheney depression', Hood expressed concern that voting districts drawn specifically to favor one party or another has poisoned the political realm.
"It just divides us. And our country is divided like no time I have seen in history. And I have read a lot of history. I don't know who said it, it is in the bible, but when you talk about a country divided it cannot stand. I don't see how in the future going forward we are going to avoid this problem," Hood said.
Hood also spent time, like many speakers, addressing politically safer topics such efforts to stop Google from helping counterfeiters to the $700 million dollars his office has recovered from corporations trying to cheat the state in his nine-and-a-half years as attorney general.