Tuck Joins GOP

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Surrounded by virtually every Mississippi Republican leader Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck made her announcement at the Capitol in Jackson.

"Yesterday I represented the people of Mississippi as a Democrat and today I am honored to represent the people of Mississippi as a Republican," said Tuck. "There comes a time when you must be true to yourself. Far too many times I have found myself on the opposite side of a certain issue of the state and the national Democratic Party."

She listed some of those times, her failure to support Al Gore for President because of his liberal agenda, Congressional redistricting in which she said the Democrats put party politics ahead of the state's best interests and tort reform and reforming the civil justice system.

"I have found that my sincere and conservative beliefs and views are not welcome nor shared by the Democratic Party leadership," Tuck said. "How did the Democratic Party feel about me being fair on those issues? Well, the chairman of the Democratic Party was quoted in the paper as saying that he thought I was like a person with a terminal illness. Now I think it is sad that he would use that term but since he did I think it deserves a reply. And I would just like to say to him today I have found a cure for that illness, leaving the Democratic Party."

Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott was one of the political leaders who attended Tuck's announcement.

"Her philosophy hasn't changed. Her constituency hasn't changed," said Lott. "She's going where she will feel at home, where she has been welcomed and where she is showing once again the courage of her convictions. Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck, we're glad to have you in the Republican Party."

Among the speakers at Tuck's announcement was Republican Cong. Chip Pickering. He brought a message from retired Cong. Sonny Montgomery.

"It's a great honor for me to read the words of a message from my predecessor, a great man, a great American and a Democrat, Congressman Sonny Montgomery. He says--`` I certainly understand why Amy is making this move. She is my close friend and I'll continue to support her and help her in any way``," said Pickering.

Pickering added his own praise to Tuck, as he welcomed her to the Republican Party.