Former Madison County Republican Supervisor and State Senator Tim Johnson has thrown his hat into the ring as Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor. Normally, we'd provide an explanation for this big switch, but Johnson does the best job explaining his mandate to run. See the full text of his speech below.
TIM JOHNSON for LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR
Delivered at the Mississippi State Capitol
First Floor Rotunda
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
I am here today to announce my candidacy for Lieutenant Governor as a proud new member of the Mississippi Democratic Party!
Why join the Democratic Party and run for Lt. Gov.? I’ll tell you…
We are all Mississippians first. Elected officials should be in the business of helping ALL Mississippians, not picking out who to hurt. And, the current way of doing business at the State Capitol, and in the State Senate in particular, has hurt a lot of my fellow Mississippians.
We’ve watched these current leaders make excuses for underfunding our schools; we’ve seen them refuse to repair and maintain our crumbling roads and bridges, and we’ve stood by while they ignore a $12,000 pay gap between working women and men. We’ve also witnessed shocking corruption on their watch. But, the failure of Republican leadership in the Senate to help sick people was the final straw for me.
My hometown hospital in Kosciusko was up here the other day asking for a $5 million, a FIVE MILLION DOLLAR stop gap bond loan to try to stay open due to the drastic hits they’ve taken because Republican leadership refused to accept the return of our federal tax dollars thru Medicaid expansion. Instead of doing the right thing, the Republican leadership would rather see a FIVE MILLION DOLLAR TAX BURDEN on the backs of the 18,000 citizens of Attala County.
That’s just not right.
That’s in MY hometown.
If Montfort Jones Hospital had been closed three weeks ago, we wouldn’t have had a place to take my mother when she suffered a stroke. Thank goodness they were still open when we rushed her there for help! But, all indicators are that they may not be open much longer – all because of Republican political grandstanding.
We need common sense and courage in the office of Lieutenant Governor. Not someone who just walks a straight party line and keeps his door locked.
Again…we are ALL Mississippians. No matter what our political party affiliation is, we are ALL Mississippians and we should be able to sit down and use common sense and common courtesy if we’re trying to do what’s best for this state.
Grown ups know this. They know how to get along with each other and set aside partisan differences for the greater good. And, the greater good here is helping all Mississippians--both rich and poor.
The Republican leadership in Jackson has failed working Mississippi families.
There’s no reason that we should still be on the worst end of every measurement that counts.
Education – on the bottom
Obesity – on the top
Unemployment – on the top
Job creation – on the bottom
Wage gap for women – on the top
Bad roads – on the top
And, finally, the worst of all – Corruption in Government – Mississippi is on the TOP.
They can say what they want to, but these “worsts” have occurred on the Republican watch, and they should be held responsible.
Mississippians deserve better than this. I look forward to visiting with people all over the state who, like me, are fed up with empty promises that have kept us in last place in virtually every important measure.
It’s time to have grown up conversations about these issues. I don’t see that happening in our State Capitol, and especially not in the Senate.
Let me assure you. I’m a Grown Up.
And that’s why I’m running for Lieutenant Governor.
Why as a Democrat?
I’ll be happy to tell you.
I’ve been considering moving to the Democratic Party for a good while now. The actions of the Republican Party leaders opposing Medicaid expansion and threatening our local hospitals and sick people was the final, deciding factor for me.
Having served as an elected Republican through five terms in three different offices – including two as a state Senator -- I have seen that the Republican party does not exist to serve the people any more. No, it doesn’t. It has quit trying to help people. Now, it is controlled by big corporate money and seeks to drive a bigger wedge between the haves and the have nots. The Republican leadership doesn’t listen to the people any more. If it did, we wouldn’t be in the shape we’re in today.
More people would be working at fair wages.
Our schools would be funded.
Our roads would be repaired,
We would not have the corruption we see,
And our local hospitals darn sure wouldn’t be closing!
I believe that MS Democrats are listening to the people. The Democratic Party offers people like me – people with a heart for public service – the chance to help others. That’s what public service should be about.
The Democratic Party embraces folks with different backgrounds, ideas and capabilities. And, we don’t have to tow the party line all the time. All are welcome in the Democratic Party. Even reformed Republicans like me.
I’m proud to be standing here today with all of these fine Democratic supporters.
I love this state. I love the people of this state.
I’m running because I want to help people, just like I want to help my Mother and others like her.
I’m running because I want to help cities and towns across this state, just like I want to help my hometown. And yours.
And I’ve got one more thing to say:
“LET’S GET THIS PARTY STARTED!”