Bryant was a collegial, folksy person, in contrast to Fordice, who was well-known for his grit and quick temper. However, they shared the same conservative principles and loyalty towards the Republican Party. Fordice, an instinctual politician recognized the potential of the little-known Rankin County Republican. He was correct. Bryant has been elected to the state legislature five times. Although he has never lost a statewide election, he did lose the first election in 1980 for Rankin County Supervisor. Bryant’s term as governor will be ending Tuesday. Bryant has stated that his name will not appear on the next ballot. Due to term limits, he cannot run again for governor. He could run for the federal office, or for a lower-ranking state office. After his term as governor in 1960, J.P.Coleman was elected to the state House. Bryant was elected to the House in 1991. He served until 1996 as Fordice’s auditor. Bryant was a leader of the Republican minority. He tried to amend a bill that dealt with banking issues in 1996 to reduce the state’s income tax. The bill did not deal with banking issues but had the income tax section. Bryant made his amendment on the House floor. After considering the issue for over a day, House Speaker Tim Ford (D-Baldwyn) ruled that although the code section was included in the bill, the issue of a tax reduction was not relevant to banking legislation. Fordice was convinced that Bryant’s bold efforts were able to achieve success at the state level. He did. He was elected to two positions, one as auditor and one as governor. The other is the post of lieutenant governor. “I thought he would move up the political ladder,” said Rep. Tom Weathersby (R-Florence), who was elected to House in the same year that Bryant, from the other end Rankin County. “He really voted what he believed in and he was determined work to kill bills that he opposed or pass bills that he supported.” Bryant, a former Hinds county deputy from a blue-collar family, described the end of his tenure as bittersweet, but he expressed excitement about the possibility of Mississippi’s Republican leadership taking over state government. Bryant was the lieutenant governor and saw the then-Gov. After two terms in office, Haley Barbour was forced to resign. This was due to the controversy surrounding Barbour’s decision that pardons would be granted to more than 200 felons including four who were convicted of murder. National attention was paid to the pardons. Bryant made it clear that he wouldn’t grant pardons except in exceptional circumstances like when there is clear evidence that someone was wrongly convicted. As he prepares for his departure, it seems that Bryant is still keeping that promise. Bryant is still popular even as he leaves office. Morning Consult’s latest poll shows Bryant has a 55% approval rating and a 26 percent disapproval rating. Bryant will still leave office with some controversy, at least in regard to prisoners. The state prison system is currently under lockdown as a result of violent incidents in the system, which have led to at least five deaths. Bryant stated recently that the only people responsible for violence and death are the inmates. Bryant appointed two commissioners to oversee the Department of Corrections during his tenure. They warned legislators that violence and carnage could be possible if not enough money was appropriated to hire prison guards and put in place additional safeguards. Bryant is able boast about nearly $1 billion in state reserve funds, and can tout cuts to many state programs. He also has about 50 tax cuts, the largest ever in state history. Bryant’s tax cuts – once fully phased in– will amount to more than $700,000,000 annually. The brutality of the carnage and deaths are stark reminders that Mississippi is a poor country with many needs. Some argue that increased state spending would solve some of these problems. This is a continuing debate about the appropriate level of government funding. Bryant, who is proud of his achievements, said that the state is in perhaps the most fiscally sound and economic position in its history. Rep. Willie Bailey (D-Greenville) stated that if they are going to house them then we will be responsible for them. And the new Republican Lt. Governor. Delbert Hosemann stated that the prison conditions were unacceptable. He said, “We shouldn’t as a society – we are a Christian church – people don’t deserve this.” Bryant will not be an official participant in the ongoing debates about state spending levels.