State’s image top priority for governor candidate

Published 7:00 pm Wednesday, February 23, 2011

His answers on the big issues – immigration, eminent domain, theSecond Amendment – are the same answers any Republican wouldgive.

In his run for governor, the issue Pearl River County SupervisorHudson Holliday is paying the most mind to is image. Not his, butMississippi’s.

“Mississippi is a great state, and we don’t deserve the reputationand the image we have,” he said. “When people come here they don’twant to leave, but a lot of people won’t move here because of ourimage. If we can change that image, our state will explodeeconomically.”

Holliday, a 66-year-old businessman and retired MississippiNational Guard general, stopped by Brookhaven Tuesday on what willlikely be a long run for a long shot at the governor’s seat. He’salready facing James Broadwater, Phil Bryant and Dave Dennis in theRepublican primary on Aug. 2, with Democrats Johnny L. DuPree andBill Luckett battling for the Democratic nomination.

The Poplarville native is trying to set himself apart from thecompetition with an all-for-one message, preaching the unificationof Mississippi’s people and industries to fight off the backwardimage and make the state an attractive option for relocatingfamilies and businesses.

“Right now, we try to bribe people to come here, and we’ve beensuccessful. That helps the area, but it doesn’t help the wholestate,” Holliday said. “What we can do is use our resources topropel the state forward – home ownership, low taxes, goodhospitals, good people. If you’re going to grow a garden, you haveto have all the ingredients right.”

Holliday said the plan requires statewide investment, withimprovements to education, health care, roads and infrastructure,safety and law enforcement and more. Most importantly, it requiresreconciliation between the races.

“Black people hold the key,” he said. “We’re never going to moveoff the bottom if we leave 30 percent of the population behind.Sometimes we hunt complex answers to simple questions.”

Holliday is a businessman of many trades, operating a real estatebusiness and a wetlands litigation company. He’s worked in timber,farming, home construction and more, and spent 38 years in theMississippi National Guard, starting out as a private.

“I have done the things everyday Mississippians do,” he said. “WhenI go down the road and see a guy driving a tractor, I’ve beenthere. I see a log truck, and I’ve done that. I see a guy buildinga road or putting down sewage lines, and I know how he feels. Iunderstand how government rules and regulations affect people.”