Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann (left) speaks with DeSoto County Sheriff Bill Rasco following Hosemann’s appearance at Wednesday’s Southaven Chamber of Commerce Quarterly Luncheon in the Landers Center.

Bob Bakken|DTT

Mississippi’s Secretary of State talked economic development and touched on recent primary elections as he visited DeSoto County on Wednesday.

Delbert Hosemann appeared at the Quarterly Luncheon for the Southaven Chamber of Commerce, which was held at the Landers Center and after a brief visit with county municipal leaders and DeSoto County Republican Women at Latimer Lakes Park in Horn Lake.

In his Southaven address, Hosemann was quick to point out the growth of business in DeSoto County.

“DeSoto County is an awesome place,” Hosemann said. “It has continued to expand. We have formed almost 7,000 Limited Liability Companies, or LLC’s, in the state in the first quarter of 2017. Of those, about 400-plus are in DeSoto County.”

Hosemann told business leaders attending the luncheon that small business is the future of Mississippi and DeSoto County has three factors needed for continued growth: an educated workforce, financial backing and community support.

While touting the need for continued small business growth, however, Hosemann predicted DeSoto County would soon be the headquarters of a major company.

“We have a headquarters relocation credit available to help pay for people to come here to this part of the state,” Hosemann said. “It’s only a matter of time before they come here.”

Hosemann expressed disappointment in the recent primary election turnout statewide, but noted that the political parties are in charge of primary elections and they should continue doing so without state government involvement.

“This is not the government and I have repeatedly discouraged the Legislature from getting the government more into party primary elections,” Hosemann said. “I think whatever the party happens to be, you need to be able to run your own elections, as long as it complies with state law.”

There have been challenges in some municipal primary elections in the state and Hosemann said his office has been asked to look into those issues, but he remained adamant that state government should not run party elections.

He did say, however, that Mississippi has greatly improved its election process since he took office, to the point where state elections have been run without legal challenges.

“You still have to have a voter ID and 99.9 percent of our people had ID’s that showed up in the presidential election,” Hosemann said. “We’re the only state that didn’t get sued. Since they entrusted me with it, our process has improved pretty dramatically when you think about the history and where we were before.”

Bob Bakken is Staff Writer and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.

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