- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 2, 2019

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) - The Latest on a Republican gubernatorial debate in Mississippi (all times local):

7:35 p.m.

Two of the three Republicans running for Mississippi governor say the state needs a long-term commitment to increase teacher pay, improve infrastructure and make health care more affordable.

State Rep. Robert Foster and former Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. debated each other Tuesday night at Mississippi State University in Starkville. The Republican with the most money in the governor’s race, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, declined a debate invitation from College Republicans.

Foster says Mississippi needs to restructure its tax system to become more competitive.



Waller says increasing the gasoline tax is a “user fee” that could help pay for better highways. He says people traveling through Mississippi from other places would help pay the tab.

Party primaries are Aug. 6, and the general election is Nov. 5.

____

3:37 a.m.

Two of the three Republican candidates for Mississippi governor are set to take part in the first debate of the campaign season.

State Rep. Robert Foster of Hernando and former Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. of Jackson accepted an invitation for the event at Mississippi State University in Starkville.

The candidate who has raised the most money in the race, Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves of Flowood, declined the invitation. His campaign spokesman, Parker Briden, originally said Reeves would be busy with the legislative session, where he presides over the state Senate.

The session was scheduled to run through this week, but it ended Friday.

Party primaries are Aug. 6, and the general election is Nov. 5.

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