Mitch Tyner discusses gubernatorial run
By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
June 30, 2003
Mitch Tyner, Republican candidate for governor, was a guest of The Meridian Star's editorial board last week.
Tyner, 40, is an attorney who lives in Madison. He will face Haley Barbour in the state's Republican primary on Aug. 5.
The Meridian Star: When did you decide to run for governor and why?
Mitch Tyner: It was a long process. Since childhood I have felt some calling to leadership positions. During college, I studied political science and was very interested in politics.
I made up my mind the biggest problem we were facing in government was career politicians. While we have great people who start out wanting to be public servants, eventually their life is filled with nothing but getting re-elected. I don't like that. I think it truly is public service.
My idea was that you should be in the business world and know what's going on, on a first-hand basis, and then if you still felt compelled to lead or run for office, then you do so not only with the experience, but also with the idea that, "This is not how I'm going to earn my living, this is going to be true public service."
In this election cycle, I saw people basically being pushed out of the race on the Republican side.
I felt a very strong religious conviction that I was being called to run for governor. I shared that at first with one close Christian friend. He and I and then a few others agreed to pray about it and we did so for several months before the qualifying deadline.
The Star: Why are you running as a Republican?
Tyner: I've always identified with the Republican party. The thing I believe is the difference between the two parties is what is most important to me the social issues. Republicans are not afraid to talk about God or their faith and are willing to let that be part of their platform.
I think government needs to stay the heck out of business, quit trying to regulate every facet of business and I believe in smaller government instead of larger government.
I believe very strongly in the social issues of our party. I am not in favor of expanding gay rights acknowledging gay marriages. I am not in favor of gay adoptions. I am also not a gay basher, but I do not want to portray a gay lifestyle as a normal lifestyle because it is inconsistent with my party beliefs. It's also inconsistent with my Christian beliefs.
I am pro-life. I am anti-gambling. I am anti-tobacco.
I believe we must get back to government providing only basic services and allow our communities, churches and synagogues to take care of charity. Also, I think we ought to eliminate all welfare, not just individual welfare, but more importantly corporate welfare at every level.
Our party looks at welfare as simply giving cheese to the hungry. The distinction I'm making is I also want to eliminate corporate welfare, for example, the tobacco industry. We have been supporting the tobacco industry through Congress for decades and tobacco causes over 400,000 deaths a year.
The Star: It's been documented that you have made financial contributions to Democratic candidates in the past. How do you justify that and then turn around and run as a Republican for governor?
Tyner: My contributions to Republicans far outweigh my contributions to Democrats. I'm not going to doggedly follow Republicans off of the side of a mountain either. I will vote for the person, always. The party platform simply is more consistent with my beliefs than the Democrat platform.
Sid Salter wrote an article condemning me because I gave money to Ronnie Musgrove last time around. Mike Parker was in Washington for 10 years, he came home to run for governor. I knew Ronnie Musgrove better. I thought he'd make a better governor.
The Star: What is your assessment of Ronnie Musgrove's four years in office?
Tyner: If I thought he'd done a great job I would be supporting him. I think he has allowed us to overspend. Regardless of what my primary opponent says, Mississippi is not in bad shape. Yes, the rest of the country is suffering a severe recession, but Mississippi is not.
State government is not the end-all, be-all, and is not required to make sure that everyone is taken care of. The government is to provide infrastructure and the very bare necessities to keep us an orderly society. Other than that, they need to stay out of it.
The Star: Give us a couple of examples of inappropriate benevolence.
Tyner: The thing that has grown the most is the CHIPS program, the Medicaid program. It has been expanded dramatically over the past four years.
It's great to give insurance to every kid out there, but now let's look at it a little bit more objectively. Children are the healthiest group among us. If we've got the surplus and we can afford it, great, but we can't spend more than we've got.
I think the public believes we are suffering from a lack of income and we're not. We've had more income every year for the last four years.