Mississippians are four days away from heading to the polls.
WJTV is profiling each of the candidates in the special U.S. Senate race.
Democrat and former Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy is the first balck representative since reconstruction from Mississippi to go to congress.
Now he hopes a mix of public and private sector work will laugh him to D.C. s the next United States Senator from the magnolia state.
Espy says if he’s elected he’ll work across party lines to get things done. He has painted himself as an ‘independent’ choice for Mississippi and a person to think outside the box.
Among his ideas is free college tuition for the first two years of public colleges to help with student debt.
“Really what I want to make sure is that we have less student loan debt,” Espy said. “I really want to make sure that the first two years of college the first years are free.”
He would like to see the same with community and technical colleges and says the state lottery and federal support could pay for it.
With some Mississippi rural hospitals closing or claiming bankruptcy , Espy says the state of healthcare is awful and one way to fix it should’ve been done years ago.
“The leadership of this state did not accept the Medicaid expansion money when it was offered some years ago and now those chickens are coming home to roost,” Espy said.
The secretary adds with the rise in prescription drugs and healthcare cost the expansion would have provided low cost options.
For the economy Espy says to keep pace with other southeastern states Mississippi must train students for technical jobs and attract businesses here.
“The bottom line there is education so we have more students staying in school and not dropping out,” Espy said. “We have more students graduating we have more students graduating in technical disciplines and we can apply those to the job opportunities”
The former congressman says he believes in a strong and moral immigration plan.
“If you come here illegally you ought not be able to get in but asylum is a legal feature in our immigration policy so if you’re coming with a legitimate petition for asylum right then we outta listen to you,” he said.
The former county attorney for Claiborne and Madison counties he says infrastructure is a key issue and congress must address cost shares in any infrastructure bill.
“No county in Mississippi can afford 80 percent of what it cost to restore a bridge or build a new bridge or fix a series of pot holes,” said Espy. “We’ve got to have more revenue from the federal government.”
Mike Espy is also against the tariffs by President Trump’s administration saying the retaliatory tariffs hurt Mississippi farmers.