Gov. Reeves tells Hattiesburg audience it’s ‘great day to not be in Jackson’

Reeves says its a great day, "as always" to not be in Jackson.
Reeves says its a great day, "as always" to not be in Jackson.(WDAM)
Published: Sep. 16, 2022 at 4:16 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A day after declaring victory in helping to restore clean water to tens of thousands of people in Jackson, Gov. Tate Reeves took a swipe at the capital city at a groundbreaking ceremony in Hattiesburg.

“It is a great day to be in Hattiesburg. It’s also, as always, a great day to not be in Jackson,” he said, to laughs, speaking to a crowd at Jones Capital LLC headquarters. “I got to take off my emergency management director hat and leave it in the car and take off my public works director hat and leave it in the car.”

Reeves was speaking at a groundbreaking ceremony at Jones Capital LLC headquarters in Midtown Hattiesburg. Our sister station, WDAM, streamed the governor’s speech on its Facebook page.

The mayor’s office declined to comment, and officials with the governor’s office could not be reached.

The comments illustrate the continued back-and-forth between the state’s top elected leader and Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, who leads the state’s largest city, which was brought to the forefront during the water crisis.

They come a day after Reeves touted the state’s efforts to restore clean drinking water for Jackson residents, and after weeks of saying the state and the city were united in addressing the emergency.

“I know you in the press really want to play the blame game and you really want to focus on pitting different people against one another, and that’s certainly your priority. That’s fine. What we’re focused on is the immediate health and welfare of Jackson residents,” Reeves said at a press conference on September 1. “There will be plenty of time in the future to play the blame game... and y’all can do all of that you want to do. You can do that in real-time... but I ain’t got time for it.”

The state took over operations at Jackson’s main water treatment facility, the O.B. Curtis Plant, on August 29, after flooding caused two backup pumps there to quit working. The failure led to a loss of water pressure for tens of thousands of customers in Jackson and in Byram.

Ward 5 Councilman Vernon Hartley said he’s not surprised by the governor’s statements.

“At the end of the day, we pay taxes, we’re part of Mississippi and we’re part of his state,” he said. “Whether he’s in Jackson or not, we’re part of what makes up his state.”

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