- Associated Press - Thursday, January 7, 2016

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Seven of Mississippi’s eight statewide elected officials were inaugurated for new terms Thursday, and Republican Gov. Phil Bryant begins his second term next week.

Legislators packed into the House chamber to watch Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller administer the oath of office, one by one, to Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, Attorney General Jim Hood, Treasurer Lynn Fitch, Auditor Stacey Pickering, Agriculture Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith, Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves.

This is the first time in Mississippi history for the same eight statewide elected officials to return for consecutive terms. The state lifted its ban on gubernatorial succession in the 1980s, and until now at least one of the eight offices had changed hands each term.

Hood, the only Democrat remaining in statewide office, started his fourth term.

All other statewide officials are Republicans.

Hosemann, Pickering and Chaney started a third term.

Reeves, Fitch and Hyde-Smith started a second term.

“I look forward to continuing to implement conservative solutions for our people,” said Reeves, who made the only speech Thursday.

The lieutenant governor said he wants Mississippi to expand the availability of charter schools, which receive public money but operate under a separate governing board from other public schools. He also said he wants to make taxes “fairer and flatter for both families and job creators,” but he didn’t discuss specific proposals for tax cuts.

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Follow Emily Wagster Pettus on Twitter: https://twitter.com/EWagsterPettus .

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