Neshoba County Fair Politics

One of the headliners, Republican gubernatorial candidate Haley Barbour, told the group that more responsible spending is the key to solving the state's $700 million shortfall.

"Alabama is going to send 1400 Alabama convicts to the private prison in Tutwiller and they're going to pay $27.50 a day. We have Mississippi prisoners 12 miles away and they pay $43 a day. Now, why can't Mississippi's taxpayers get that good of a deal in Mississippi?"

Although the Mississippi Association of Educators has endorsed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ronnie Musgrove for governor, Republican Lieutenant Gubernatorial candidate Amy Tuck says, despite her recent party switch, she feels she still has the support of teachers.

"They know that I've fought for teachers and put discipline back where it belongs. They know I am a strong advocate for early childhood education," Tuck said.

Third District Congressman Chip Pickering was also on hand for what was quite a different scene from his debate last year with then- Cong. Ronnie Shows.

"It's good to watch everyone campaign and run and so it's a welcomed relief."

Later in the day State Treasurer candidate Gary Anderson, who is facing two opponents in the primary election, told the group why he feels he's qualified for the position.

"As the state's chief fiscal officer, I've had the responsibility of seeking the bonds for the state. For instance, the Nissan plant, I had the responsibility of $360 million in bonds. My officer handled that responsibility."

On tap to speak at Founders Square Thursday are gubernatorial candidates: incumbent Ronnie Musgrove, Katie Perone, John Cripps and Mitch Tyner. Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, Barbara Blackmon, along with several candidates for the legislature and other state offices will also speak.

Speeches kick off at 8:30 a.m. and end at 2:20 p.m.