Read Jay’s Announcement Speech!

Good Morning!

I’m proud to stand before you today with the two most important people in the world to me: My wife, Cris, and my daughter, Patricia. Without them, I wouldn’t be here.

Also a key part of our family is our dedicated dog, Sadie, who proves what President Eisenhower said: “What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

I’ve definitely got “fight.”

I want to use that fight to make Mississippi better – better for my daughter, better for your children and grandchildren.

I want them to grow and spread their wings with skills, preparedness and determination, but not be part of those who have to move away for better opportunities and never come back.

To do that, we’ve got to Demand Something Different!

Imagine a legislature that follows the laws it creates!

Imagine an education system where ALL schools have the same great resources and buildings.

Imagine classrooms where every one of them has the teacher it needs

Imagine every child graduating from high school, AND being READY for a job or college.

Imagine roads without pot holes and bridges without restrictions

Imagine mental health and addiction treatment for all Mississippians who need it.

Almost four decades ago, Gov. William Winter said: “The only road out of poverty runs past the schoolhouse door.”

It’s 2018 and we still haven’t built that road! And, like many of our roads, they’ve been neglected, filled with too many potholes, and hurt by a LACK of forward-looking leadership.

Some things have to change to make that a reality, and it Starts At The Top!

Career Politicians and the Party Elite are so consumed with getting power and keeping control, they remember only their big campaign donors and lobbyists, and forget everyone else. A few career politicians still believe they are rightfully next in line to the throne.

This is just more of the Same Old, Same Old!

In the past few years, I’ve toured almost every county in Mississippi, and talked with people from ALL walks of life. From that, I genuinely believe Mississippi’s ready to Demand Something Different! Like them, I Imagine a better and more transparent way to conduct our state affairs.

I also believe Mississippians are tired of sending the exact same type of career politician back to our Capitol, again, and again, and again!

I’m NOT Career Politician or Party Elite. I’m DIFFERENT! And, today, I’m announcing in crystal clear language that I am absolutely, positively, 150% running to be YOUR next LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR, on November 5, 2019.

Because I want to bring to our state capitol a PRIORITY for Public education, balance, common sense, open doors and transparency

WHEN ELECTED WITH YOUR HELP, I’LL MAKE my highest priorities the public education for our 477,000 children, and true EARNING SKILLS for ALL Mississippians! Those are the greatest economic tools to attract real Full-Time jobs that pay Real Wages.

This isn’t a career – it’s a CALLING.

It isn’t a position, it’s a PASSION.

It isn’t about me – it’s about OUR future!

Every single day, I remember where I came from, the journey, and how humbled I am to be where I am today. I was born to a poor, hardworking family which had no one who had gone to college in over a hundred years. Money was ALWAYS tight. We literally counted pennies, drank powdered milk, and weren’t able to do even the most basic things because we simply lived paycheck-to-paycheck.

The sad reality is that too many Mississippians still live this way, regardless of how hard they try.

I struggled throughout school and even spent a year in Special Ed. One teacher, Mr. Richard, taught me science and was determined to find the pearl inside this hard, rough shell. He had faith in me and cared. It showed and it worked. To this day, I still know all the different types of clouds he taught. In fact, I sent him my first Thank You note the day I graduated from law school:

You see, Teachers truly make a difference, just like people who believe in you!

We called our grandparents Moose & Poose. My granddad, Poose, was the most important person in my life! He and Moose were married for 72 years, separated only by death. They were always poor with money, but always rich with happiness.

They entered the Great Depression with a mule and 10 acres of land. The mule died and the dustbowl killed their first and only crop. He then went to work digging sewer ditches by hand, and worked for the city sewer department the rest of his life. He was most proud of holding the state record for hand-digging the most feet of sewer ditch in one day.

He proudly and often told me: If you don’t do anything else, son: “Work Hard and do right.” That’s the best education and life lesson I ever got!

I didn’t get my values from some National Political Party or a cable news program. I got them from my parents and grandparents at home, at church, and the School of Hard Knocks.

My parents and grandparents are long gone, but I know they are smiling down on me today with great pride seeing that I learned the lessons I fought so hard against at the time. I am far from perfect, but I’m honest and I’m real.

I don’t pledge that you’ll agree with every vote or action I take. Even Cris and I don’t agree on everything after 25 years of marriage. But I do pledge that you will always know EXACTLY where I stand and why.

Like you, much of where I stand and why is based upon what I observed and learned in so many different experiences and jobs in my life.

For starters, as a young Paper-Boy on a bicycle route, I was constantly chased by dogs, but still had a job to do if I wanted to get paid. From that, I learned to be fearless.

As a Janitor in the local mall, I learned to appreciate and respect every single person I encounter, particularly those who could do nothing for me.

As a Vo-Tech student in my junior and senior years of high school, when no one thought I would go to college, I learned real skills and to never underestimate the potential of any student.

As a Truck Driver in the oilfield, I learned that no one can do everything on their own, and that, like life, size and distribution of load is always important.

As a Store Clerk, Bag-Boy, Bus-Boy I learned that it’s the simple things that count.

As an Oyster-Shucker I learned that inside some rough and tough looking shells are beautiful pearls.

As a Waiter, I learned to multi-task and relate to people from ALL walks of life.

As a young Army Soldier, I learned Order, Pride and Respect for our great nation. I also learned to respect our commander in chief and office of the presidency, regardless of whether I agreed with every decision. And, the Army is where I went from a Poor Kid who didn’t like school to a man on a mission of lifetime learning.

As a College Intern at a Mental Health & Addiction Center I learned that mental illness and addiction are NOT just choices, and they impact entire families and communities. I also learned that treatment is critical and definitely helps.

As a Law Student, I learned to understand and respect our Constitution and our great form of democracy.

Finally, as a Businessman, Real Estate Attorney, Alderman, Husband and Father, I learned that no one is ever 100% right, and that COMPROMISE and RESPECT are how conflicts are best resolved.

My parents worked most of their lives, Mom retiring as TRUCK DRIVER and Dad from an OIL DERRICK in the Gulf of Mexico. Even with all that hard work, I watched them struggle to get by on their RETIREMENT checks every single month. Had I not been so lucky to be able to help them, they would’ve had to choose between food or medicine.

This same things still happen every single month in every corner of Mississippi for Teachers & Assistants, Mental Health workers, Firefighters, Law Enforcement, State Employees, and just hard-working families living paycheck-to-paycheck. Too many politicians have conveniently forgotten that reality.

I truly UNDERSTAND what it means to be in a family where you work and work and work …and still fall behind. My life story has been one of working and working and working and being lucky enough, because of education, to get ahead.

Political posturing and vitriol has left real people out – Those who just want government to do its basic job and stay out of our personal lives and pockets.

I AM NO DIFFERENT THAN YOU. I GET IT! I just happen to be in a position to be your voice:

I believe in quality, equitable public education for all. If we are all created equal, why aren’t our schools?
I believe infrastructure and access to healthcare lift people and attract real jobs.
I believe in complete transparency in state government.
I believe in providing the best care we can for people with mental illness and addictions.
I believe that everyone should have their voice heard, and have a seat at the table.
I believe that the people and local businesses are far more important to the function of Mississippi government than political parties, foreign corporations, lobbyists and Political Action Committees.
I believe that COMPROMISE is what our Democracy was founded upon, and how it works best.
Finally, I Believe in common sense problem-solving, instead of spin & political posturing.

Mississippi problems aren’t miraculously FIXED by ignoring them. The first step in solving a problem is admitting there is one.

I’m so tired of hearing career politicians claim everything — EVERYTHING — is GREAT in Mississippi: for JOBS, ECONOMY, Food On The Table, College Graduates and Roads and Bridges. They ARE NOT!

Jackson, we have a problem! We MUST acknowledge problems and find solutions.

Outside a few bubbles, real Mississippians are seeing plants closing, retail and grocery stores boarded up, and small towns dying.

Since the great Recession, Mississippi has only created 3,300 more jobs for 60,000 more people. That means 57,000 didn’t get a chance at REAL JOBS with REAL Wages.

ALSO, our elected officials need to QUIT claiming our public schools are BROKEN – THEY AREN’T!
What is BROKEN is the leadership and legislature continuously underfunding them and passing unfunded mandates and attacks against teachers!

Instead of giving up on our public schools, we ought to be improving them, like giving our teachers the same FREEDOMS TO TEACH that were so freely given to the teachers in Charter School.

It’s time to put PEOPLE above party – PEOPLE before campaign DONORS.

Mississippi has 82 counties, 410 supervisor districts, and 1,995 voting precincts.
Over the next 20 months, we’re going to visit EVERY SINGLE ONE of them – From Corinth to Pass Christian, from Scooba to Natchez. We’ll do this to Listen and Share our message about a better future for ALL Mississippians.

This has been and will continue to be a people-powered, Grassroots Campaign of INCLUSION.

It’s about passion and sense of urgency, and It ALL starts with education – including MINE!

It’s time to have a PERSON in charge of Mississippi instead of a PARTY!
That WILL happen if people register to vote, actually vote, AND vote for the person.

I’m 54 years old and still believe in the American Dream – Because I am living it!

With quality public education and work ethic, it will be alive and well for every single Mississippi child!

I demand a Mississippi where every child, regardless of circumstances beyond their control, truly knows that they CAN be a part of the American Dream, and grow up to be a school teacher, electrician, doctor, lawyer, astronaut, farmer, OR a small-town legislator with a loud mouth and a Facebook account.

People just need opportunities!

I’ll let my record in life, as a Christian, a veteran, a husband, father and public servant speak for itself.

I believe my life record says I’ve honored my grandad’s advice: Work hard and do right!

Now I want to spread that ethic in the political corridors of Jackson!

It is time to Demand Something Different!

I need your support, and I need your vote!

IF SO, It ALL starts with education!

AND it all starts with this campaign: JAY HUGHES FOR LT. GOVERNOR.

What you get in return is the right to make Mississippi the best it can be!

Thank you!