"I am a native and current resident of Jackson. Most recently, I was on the state Supreme Court for 21 years, serving the last 10 as Chief Justice, the highest level attainable in the judicial branch of state government.
During my tenure on the state’s highest court, I was a strong defender of the rule of law. I consistently worked to reshape the court in a conservative direction, helped end lawsuit abuse and sought to repair the state’s judicial reputation to foster an attractive environment for economic growth. My successes while on the Supreme Court include a pay raise for judges, an expansion of drug courts and an expanding electronic record system. The court also decreed criminal court rules that have helped defendants see judges more quickly and efficiently.
As lifelong conservative, I was elected three times to the Mississippi Supreme Court and was endorsed by the Mississippi Republican Party for my record of service, upholding the Constitution and the rule of law.
Prior to my election to the Mississippi Supreme Court, I practiced law with the firm of Waller and Waller in Jackson for over 20 years and served as a Municipal Judge for the City of Jackson.
In addition to my legal and judicial career, I have more than 30 years of commissioned service including the Mississippi Army National Guard and the United States Army Reserve and presently assigned to the Retired Reserve. I am a graduate of the U.S. Army War College and a recipient of the Legion of Merit. I attained the rank of Brigadier General while serving as the Commander of the 66th Troop Command, Mississippi Army National Guard, once again reaching the highest level in leadership.
I have received significant recognition for my work and service. I was the recipient of the Judicial Innovation Award for 2003–2004 by the Hinds County Bar Association and the Jackson Young Lawyers Association. I received the Chief Justice Award in 2005 for my work as chairman of a special study committee to develop a statewide e-filing and docket management system. I received the Mississippi State University Pre-Law Society’s Distinguished Jurist award in 2009. I received the Judicial Excellence Award for 2011–2012 from the Capital Area Bar Association and the Jackson Young Lawyers Association; and the Mississippi Bar Association’s Judicial Excellence Award for 2013. In 2012, I was inducted as a Fellow of the Mississippi Bar Foundation, and Mississippi College School of Law presented me with an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws. I serve as an adjunct faculty member at the Mississippi College School of Law and the University of Mississippi School of Law.
I am currently a member of the Stennis Institute Advisory Board at Mississippi State University. I am also a former Eagle Scout and served on the Advisory Board of the Andrew Jackson Council, Boy Scouts of America."
Why are you running for Governor?
"I feel the issues our state faces, like education, infrastructure and healthcare, are not being addressed by the other candidates in the race. My experience as a Brigadier General in the National Guard and 21 years on the Mississippi Supreme gives me the leadership that our state desperately needs right now.
Mississippi’s roads and bridges are in critical need of improvement. They are a key factor for public safety and economic growth—now and in the future. Using revenue from the lottery will only be a drop in the bucket to address the major needs for our infrastructure. We can’t stick our head in the sand and hope these problems will go away. We’ve got to address this issue in a long-term, sustainable way that protects taxpayers, whether it be through a tax swap or some other mechanism that generates adequate funds so we can take care of our crumbling roads and bridges.
Teachers are working hard, and we need to support them even more with a pay raise that keeps good teachers here and attracts new teachers. Students, parents and teachers deserve more focus than they’re getting now. Currently, Mississippi has the lowest teacher salary in America, and clearly, our teachers need a pay raise so we can get their salary up to the Southeastern average as quickly as possible.
When nearly half of Mississippi’s rural hospitals are in high financial risk of closing, we have a health care crisis in our state. Ignoring the problem is not going to bring about a solution to ensuring access to quality, affordable health care, particularly in rural areas. I’m exploring ideas that bring about improvements in health care, that reforms Medicaid in a way that doesn’t put taxpayers or our state budget at risk, and maximizes Mississippi’s potential to bring about more accessible, quality health care. Our citizens deserve our best efforts on this pressing issue."