/I’m very proud today’ The man behind Tate Reeves’ rise to power

I’m very proud today’ The man behind Tate Reeves’ rise to power

Reeves the elder, with a smiling face, stood in the metal shop where he had built his heating and air conditioning company. His son had just completed the next step in an unlikely political path. Reeves’ speech was accompanied by steel ducts and cardboard boxes that contained Goodman and Amana AC conditioners. The company was established in 1975 and its metal shop was added in 2003. Terry Reeves didn’t just build the shop that year. He also laid the foundation for his son’s rapid rise to political power during his first campaign for state office. Terry Reeves said that he is proud of today’s accomplishments. “I didn’t believe Tate would get into politics. He did and it was an amazing experience. Tate Reeves was only 28 when he ran for the office of state treasurer in 2003. He was an investment banker at Jackson-based Trustmark, with no prior government service experience. He was faced with a fierce Republican primary, and later a formidable Democratic challenger who had extensive government experience. Arnie Hederman (a lobbyist who was a close friend of Reeves and has been the chairman and executive director for the Mississippi Republican Party) said that he had doubts about his first race in 2003. He was young and had never ran for any office. It’s a state-wide race and you need money. Terry Reeves began making phone calls as uncertainty over his son’s candidacy loomed. He was the campaign’s treasurer and reached out to his associates in Climate Masters. They collected tens of thousands from HVAC industry friends. He helped his son’s campaign raise just under $600,000. This is a remarkable fundraising total for a young down-ticket candidate. Terry Reeves personally contributed $115,000 to the campaign over that same year, which is about 20% of the total fundraising for 2003. In the tight general election, every dollar was counted. Gary Anderson, his Democratic opponent, was a formidable candidate. He had more than 15 years of experience in state government as the head of Department of Finance and Administration and the deputy director of Mississippi Development Authority (the state’s economic development agency). Reeves won the general election by six points or approximately 45,000 votes, beating Anderson, who was raised by $250,000 more than Anderson. Although experience and fundraising were important components of the campaign, many people believed that race was the decisive factor in the election. The Clarion-Ledger was told that Leslie McLemore, a civil rights leader and Jackson city councilman, said, “I don’t think it would have been a contest if Gary Anderson weren’t black.” Anderson was the closest African American to win the state’s statewide seat. However, Reeves made history by becoming the youngest state official in modern state history. Terry Reeves stated Monday that “we’ve worked over the years to help him, and things seem good.” “It really does seem like something,” the newly elected treasurer said. At a time when Mississippi Democrats were losing power, the young Republican made waves in Jackson. He was known for standing up to the establishment politicians as treasurer. He established relationships with state power brokers, including influential lobbyists. Since then, Reeves has not had to worry about raising campaign cash. His father did not have to contribute much to his campaigns when he ran in 2007 for treasurer and then for lieutenant governor in 2011, and 2015. His father’s financial influence may no longer be necessary but the values he instilled are still driving his son’s policy initiatives, especially regarding the state budget. Terry Reeves was raised in Bogue Chitto in southwest Mississippi. He grew up with 10 siblings and a two-bedroom house. His father’s business was on the right track to success by Tate’s birth. This small business, which was started in 1975, grew to become a multimillion-dollar enterprise that employs over 100 Mississippians. Tate described his father as “the American dream” in an interview with Sid Salter (then at The Clarion-Ledger) in 2003. Tate said that Tate was “a living example of the American dream: building a successful company, pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and giving back to the community.” My earliest memories are of my father working in his family’s business. Reeves told journalists that it was during these long Saturdays that he taught me the most important lesson that his father had taught me: that hard work is the key to success. His father’s business success inspired many events that prompted him to run for public office. Reeves decided to study finance at Millsaps College where he was involved in the student stock portfolio club. Reeves graduated in 1996 as a Chartered Financial Analyst. This rare credential is only available to 20% of the candidates who complete this multi-year program. Park South Corporation was his first job, which was a subsidiary of the Deposit Guaranty Bank. After leaving Park South Corporation, he moved to Trustmark National Bank. He managed a portfolio of $300 million for well-connected institutions and individuals, according to a Clarion Ledger article. He worked with the state treasurer’s office on bond issues while at Trustmark. This connection ultimately led to his entry into politics. Reeves spoke for 15 minutes about the economy and jobs at Monday’s campaign kickoff. Reeves boasted of his efforts to create jobs, reduce government expenditure, and extend tax reductions to corporations doing business within the state. He also promised to keep the “right track economic model” that Republican Govs have championed. Haley Barbour, Phil Bryant. Reeves stated that “As governor it will be my goal to make Mississippi home to more new business permits, and more plant expansions per person than any other state in the South,” before he began to criticize a possible general election challenger. “We will make Mississippi the No. Mississippi is the No. 1 destination for job creation. I fought for lower taxes on job creators. On that issue, I faced Jim Hood and other liberals and won. I will tell you now — Jim and his liberal friends love to blame me because we got the largest tax cut in Mississippi’s history. Jim and his liberal friends, I say: Bring it on! Reeves mentioned Hood several times, but didn’t mention his primary GOP challengers, Bill Waller Jr. or Robert Foster. With his wife Elee and his three daughters, Tate Reeves was accompanied by Dianne Peeples, his mother. Tate Reeves spoke out about his efforts to expand a scholarship program that would allow parents with special needs to send their children to private schools. Reeves’ last-minute move to insert the voucher program in a nonrelated budget bill was a surprise to many Republicans at Capitol. Reeves spoke out about his father’s life and called his father “one of my hardest working men” – drawing extended applause from nearly 200 people. He introduced his son to several people, took some pictures, and directed campaign volunteers on where to place signs and other paraphernalia. Todd Reeves (Tate’s younger brother and Terry’s youngest child) said, “This is such an important moment for our family. It’s a place that holds many memories and life lessons.” “It’s an event and a place that reflects the lessons our dad and mom taught us growing up: Keep God first and work hard to achieve great things.