Candidates for governor face off - - Jackson, MS

Candidates for governor face off

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

They answered the same questions and hoped their answers would set them apart. In their first debate since winning the primary elections the two remaining candidates for governor went head to head Friday evening in downtown Jackson.

It's the state's current lieutenant governor, republican Phil Bryant against the mayor of Hattiesburg, democrat Johnny DuPree.

"The number one thing people talk about is jobs, number two almost interchangeably is education," said DuPree.

"Governor Barbour and I have worked hard together to make sure this state is moving ahead when others are faltering," said Bryant.

The candidates stood before a statewide audience answering questions ranging from teen pregnancy and healthcare to state spending and education. For the most part, the candidates were in tune with each other except when it comes to one of the three voter initiatives appearing on the ballot.

Both say they support the personhood amendment and believe eminent domain should not take away property for a private use, but when it comes to voter ID, DuPree is against it and Bryant is for it.

"Absentee voting is the problem, not having an ID. There's no real significant evidence that's the problem in Mississippi," said DuPree.

"It gives the integrity to the voting system and I believe that's what we all want," said Bryant.

Both Bryant and DuPree say education needs immediate attention and touted their plans to reform early childhood development.

"We're looking at how we can use the existing system to build the very best early childhood education system in America," said Bryant. 

"I think we've got to stop just plugging holes and we've got to start at the beginning and work our way all the way to the end in education," said DuPree.

On healthcare, both say the state needs to use existing resources more effectively and when it comes to state spending the budget will have to remain tight. In the end, it's politics both candidates say is changing in Mississippi.

"Hopefully we're going to change the way you politic in Mississippi because this is the way you wanted to politic. You want us to talk about the issues, not each other,"said DuPree.

"I think we've changed the dynamic of politics in Mississippi for years to come," said Bryant.

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