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The Latest Reeves/ Hewes Mailer War

July 29, 2011

We mentioned in our notebook earlier today that Billy Hewes was less than pleased with the latest Tate Reeves mailer. The mailers, apparently sent to households in certain school districts, takes issue with Hewes’ support for school consolidation. Hewes has said the mailers have gone to counties including Lowndes, Lauderdale, Madison, Desoto (which I believe only has one school district anyway), and Marion. The mailer says that Hewes wants to consolidate to just one district per county. And as is the case of the example below- Clinton and JPS- they often include areas with very good schools and bad schools (and to be blunt districts that are largely white and districts that are largely black).

Here is the first page, along with thumbnails you can click on for the next three:

After the mailer was sent out, the Hewes campaign responded with a press release calling on Reeves to apologize for what they dubbed a false mail piece.

And his campaign said this: “This is race-baiting scare tactics, plain and simple. At some point, describing or opponents many attempts as misleading or false doesn’t seem to fit the level this is stooping to. His desperation is reaching new lows. No doubt he felt compelled to do this when he realized Senator Hewes’ Game Plan and discussion of the issues is taking center stage in engaging people across the state. It is unfortunate that Mr. Reeves prefers to use falsehoods about what is in the Game Plan for Mississippi rather than telling the Mississippi voters what his plans are if he were elected. He owes the people of this state, and especially the recipients of this mailer, an apology.”

Moreover, Clinton Mayor Rosemary Gibens Aultman has some pretty harsh comments for Reeves. On Facebook, she said this: “Before you realize how livid I am, let me be perfectly clear; I’ve supported Tate Reeves in the past. However the mail piece Clinton residents received today from Tate is a prime example of the dirtiest kind of politics. He’s using scare tactics at the last minute when the other candidate doesn’t have time to respond in the same manner to try and frighten Clinton residents into voting for him. Saying that Billy Hewes supports merging the Clinton schools with Jackson is the utmost in stupidity . First of all that isn’t going to happen in our life time and secondly I’ve followed the school merger conversation very carefully because the Clinton schools are important to our community. Never has such a merger been mentioned by any legislator. Quite frankly there are some under-performing districts where a merger would be appropriate. This behavior is a classic example of a candidate who thought he had the race won and now realizes the momentum has turned in the other direction. He’s running scared.”

Also in the Hewes presser, they said this about his support for consolidation: “Hewes released his legislative agenda entitled “Game Plan for Mississippi” on July 20 at a Press Conference at the State Capitol. In the Game Plan, he called on the implementation of efficiency standards and shared services. The policy, if adopted, would require school districts within counties to adopt cost cutting measures where feasible by sharing payroll, purchasing and transportation departments and redirect the millions of dollars in savings to instructional support, such as classroom supplies and teacher pay raises.”

The Reeves camp hasn’t said anything in return, as far as I know, but Yall Politics does have a link to SB 2024, a bill authored by Hewes last year. You can view it here. In it, the first line of the bill says: “AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR THE REORGANIZATION OF ALL PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICTS IN THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI INTO A SYSTEM WITH ONE COUNTYWIDE SCHOOL DISTRICT PER EACH COUNTY.”

17 Comments leave one →
  1. sailorms permalink
    July 29, 2011 5:04 pm

    GO Billy!!!!

  2. Clayton permalink
    July 29, 2011 5:33 pm

    First, the accusation against Hewes appears to be true when you look at the legislation Billy Hewes authored.

    Second, race has been a block to school consolidation. Sports has been another block. I actually like Billy’s legislation and I wish he would stand up for it because that would be the kind of courage in the face of supposed opposition we need for political reform. But apparently he fears a backlash from likely Republican white voters. If so, he owes them the same apology he demands Tate Reeves gives for thinking that would influence them because that is a tacit admission that he also thinks they would respond to such a thing, thus showing their “racial” (since that is the charge he is making, not an educational concern) opposition.

    If he has faith in the Republican voters not to be bothered by a racial component of consolidation, then he doesn’t really need to demand an apology from anyone unless he fancies himself the etiquette police.

  3. John Coleman permalink
    July 29, 2011 5:44 pm

    Billy Hewes needs to apologize to the taxpayers for inventing a cush job for his brother-in-law with no education at $86K/year plus perks as second in charge at a State Agency and his sister-in-law on State contract for 7 months of “research” for $51K. This is only one small example of the unethical course this man has taken. He really has his nerve wanting to have TR to apologize for telling the truth. He is the one that started the negative campaign on Tate Reeves and when Tate Reeves responds, Billy Hewes puffs up like a child…wah wah. Hewes is one way and one sided and only out for his and his family’s benefit…he could care less about this State and its people. He is a career politician. I say give Tate Reeves a chance. Throw out the old dishwater and lets try someone new. Hewes has had more than ample time to prove himself….he hasn’t done much of anything except appear at photo ops. Good luck Tate Reeves!!!!
    P. S. To the lady that was supporting Tate Reeves above….I hope you are still supporting him. He is the best candidate for the job. We’ve had enough of the good ole boy Billy Hewes and his brother-in-law Joe Ziegler and family.

  4. Dontreadonme permalink
    July 29, 2011 7:50 pm

    I remember that Bill, did not know Billy authored it I will be making an election day decision on who to vote for in the Lt. Guv.

  5. Windy permalink
    July 30, 2011 12:33 am

    Hewes is the MOST qualified candidate. Tate is scared and he’s realizing he isn’t as powerful as he thought he was. Shame on Tate for using scare tactics. I volunteered for Tate’s campaign in the beginning but a lack of gratitude on his part and a rude staff pushed me into the Hewes camp. As a resident of Rankin county I have no desire to see Tate elected to higher office.

  6. SaltwaterAngler permalink
    July 30, 2011 7:37 am

    Tate needs to explain why Mississippi taxpayers paid for him to have a driver while he was State Treasurer. Who does he think he is?

  7. Bill Billingsley permalink
    July 30, 2011 9:37 am

    Please cool it on the driver nonsense. Practicality calls for all statewide elected officials, and many others, to have company cars and drivers. Lots of work can get done when you’re riding in a car. Documents can be read, phone calls can be made, texts can be sent, e-mail can be checked and sent…do you want anyone trying to do all these things while they’re driving? The cost of a driver is miniscule, and to forfeit the work that an official can get done just make a political statement isn’t in the best interest of the taxpayers.

    • Dontreadonme permalink
      July 31, 2011 1:47 pm

      That is a great point Bill… That opens a pandora’s box…
      With the increase of great technology that allows people instant information and communication to the point that classrooms from across the world can interact in real time and students can attend university level classes in the comfort of their own home. Plus the fact that our government has already purchased this technology.

      Why would anyone need to travel to communicate information?

      It seems like the government could opperate more efficent and more cost effective. However Mississippi is always last to innovate and never gets ahead of the curve…

  8. John permalink
    July 30, 2011 10:52 am

    The Mayor of Clinton needs to read the bill – apparently she has not. The bill says that there will be “81 school districts” – period. The last time I looked at a map Clinton and Jackson were in the same county. Read the bill Rosemary. And that goes for Gallo too.

  9. Phillip permalink
    July 30, 2011 10:59 am

    Has anybody read Rick Ward’s book and gaming and bingo in the state of Mississippi? I just finished it and was surprised at the number of politicans in it. Hewes campaign manager and his partner Steve Guyton have had a bingo hall in Cleveland for the past 11 years. They contribute about $50,000 a year to Boy’s State and the rest goes to a “St. Ambrose Leadership College” in Drew, Ms. It used to be located at Shands’ house in Hancock County, but “moved to his sister’s home in Drew. And Guyton works for both Harper and Wicker. Something stinks to high heaven and needs to be investigated.

    • Monroe permalink
      July 30, 2011 1:25 pm

      Right on man…Shands ran Jim Hood’s campaign in 2007 and now he’s running Hewes’….something definitely is fishy!

    • Dontreadonme permalink
      July 30, 2011 10:02 pm

      I like the part he exposes Haley… I just can not believe the gaming commision has not found any transgressions against any casino in Mississippi… It also concerned me that Rick Ward focused most all his investigations on Bingo. I noticed that most every charge he brought, while with the gaming commision, was a bingo charity. It almost seemed like he was paid by the casinos to shut down every bingo game he could. Guyton is a good guy! he does not deserve such slanders for the charity he gives. Plus he has plenty of money, no need to make more, more you make the more Obama takes…

  10. Frank permalink
    July 30, 2011 1:13 pm

    SB2024 has 128 pages and 4202 lines, I couldn’t find any wording that would indicate it was a study. The title of it is “MISSISSIPPI SCHOOL REORGANIZATION ACT of 2011″. After reading the first line you may want to pay close attention to lines 70 through 80.

  11. Hayes Dent permalink
    July 30, 2011 2:46 pm

    Thanks for that comment Bill…and I agree by the way, however, even that scenario is not true. I’ve seen probably 6-8 times in the last 7 years Tate driving east on Lakeland in his (I presume) white Tahoe and we’ve waved. While I’m not in this race for several reasons, it would be nice to stick to issues that actually effect policy, etc. Tuesday can’t get here quick enough!!!

  12. Steve Seale permalink
    July 30, 2011 3:21 pm

    I agree with Bill and Hayes about the driver controversy.

    Speaking of issues and this mailer, Gov. Barbour advocated for and formed a commission in 2009 to study school district consolidation. Gov. Barbour’s aim, I believe, was the same as that of Sen. Hewes … to ensure the continued performance of high-performing districts, improve low-performing districts and to maximize the financial resources directed to all districts by consolidating administrative, duplicative programs.

    Here is a link regarding the Commission:

  13. bmackenzie6895 permalink
    July 30, 2011 9:57 pm

    You can’t fool me! Hewes gave a recommendation, not a job, to his brother-in-law. The department hired his wife. Give props to the department for that little bit of favoritism and not Hewes. You’ve had a man crush on this issue since I don’t know when but you have yet to take Tate to task for helping line his buddies’ pockets through HIRING them for bond underwriting… the way they donated $400,000 to Tate’s campaign. Get a clue!

  14. Maya Anderson permalink
    August 2, 2011 3:25 pm

    Do you really believe any Jackson Public School administrators and staff are going to give up their jobs when districts are consolidated? Why would anyone think that the folks who run a terrible school district are going to do a good job managing a (formerly) good district? Of course it’s about race, because the administrators of JPS will demand that they keep their jobs on the basis of their race…they certainly can’t make the demand based on the success of JPS schools.

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