Photo: Mississippi Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann speaks to the DeSoto County Republican Club Thursday evening in Nesbit. (Bob Bakken/desotocountynews.com)
Mississippi’s two top state leaders made DeSoto County a destination on the campaign trail this week, as Gov. Tate Reeves and Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann made appearances in the county.
Reeves made stops in Olive Branch and Southaven Tuesday to promote business growth and women’s rights with Riley Gaines and Paula Scanlan in their effort to model legislation to reinforce the definition of sex-based words used in Mississippi law and to help protect women-only spaces from legal attack.
Thursday, it was Hosemann’s turn to come to DeSoto County, where he spoke to the local Republican Club and urges the party faithful to vote and start encouraging others to be at the polls on Election Day, Nov. 7. Hosemann said a strong turnout from DeSoto County would send a loud message to the rest of the state.
“It makes a difference if DeSoto County is 10 percent, or 15 percent of the total election,” Hosemann said. “It makes a difference for us when we try to get things for DeSoto County. Turning out is important, not only to get elected, also show the rest of the state the strength of this county as part of the state.”
The strong voice would come into play on a couple of important county issues, particularly the widening of I-55 and the recent court ruling that requires the Horn Lake Creek Interceptor Wastewater Treatment District to be treating its own sewage within eight years. The U.S. District Court ruling came as the City of Memphis sought to remove itself from future DeSoto County wastewater treatment.
In reacting to the court ruling, Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite said it would take state and federal money to help get a treatment plant costing about $280 million to start operating within that time frame.
Talking with DeSoto County News Thursday in Nesbit, Hoseman said he had not yet read the details of the court decision, but he hopes local officials have started to make their early determinations, aware the court’s decision would be forthcoming.
“We allocated $10 million two years ago to help start the engineering process for this event, because we knew this was coming, and I’ve met the last two years with the mayors about preparing for this event,” Hosemann said. “The best way would be for the state to put up some money, the federal government to put up some money, and the ratepayers will have to put up some money. I would like all of that to happen sooner than later.”
Hosemann also said he expects money for the I-55 widening project will be set aside this year, but it could be at least two years before a build out occurs.
“We are asking for a match from the federal government, but I’m committed to making another up front contribution to that,” Hosemann said. “I have met with the Mississippi Department of Transportation and (Transportation Commissioner) John Caldwell, who is in charge of this, about accelerating the build out. They said they couldn’t do that for another two years, but I would be hopeful we can start prior to that.”
Both Republicans have Democratic challengers in the November general election. Reeves is challenged by Brandon Presley and Hosemann is facing D. Ryan Glover, the Democratic nominee, in the general election.