Campaign conversations: Brandon Presley talks politics, family, and more

The Democratic candidate for governor says his main inspiration for public service was his mother

NETTLETON, Miss. (WCBI) – For Brandon Presley, his interest in politics was sparked at an early age by his mother.

“My daddy was murdered the first day I was in the third grade and we grew up extremely poor. I think her making sure we had hope in our household, she taught me that if you want to help your fellow man, public service, is sometimes the best way to help your fellow man,” Presley said.

Presley served as mayor of Nettleton for six years, before being elected as Public Service Commissioner for the Northern District of Mississippi. He pushed for internet access and expanded availability of natural gas in rural areas of the state, and earlier this year, announced his candidacy for Governor.

Presley said he believes there are two main challenges facing the state.

“One is hospital crisis. We have 230,000 Mississippians who work every day and can’t get health insurance. 34 hospitals on the brink of closure. Secondly, corruption in the state. I have said I am going to declare a war on corruption my first day as governor, to root out the type of corruption where Bret Favre got $5 million for a volleyball court and the governor at the center of that controversy,” he said.

The 46-year-old has spent a lot of time on the campaign trail but says he has been able to juggle a busy campaign, with family life. This summer, Presley married Katelyn Mabus.

“I jokingly said Katelyn and I have been married 50 days and we have been together five. But I’ve been on the road and she’s been on the road. I make sure I work hard to get back to Nettleton, to home, as much as possible. But luckily, I have a wife and family supportive,” Presley said.

When asked what was one thing people might not know about him, but he wished they did, Presley turned to music.

“I sing a lot, bluegrass a bunch. Used to when I had time and wasn’t running for governor, I spent every Monday night at the Carolina Community Center, with the old guys picking bluegrass, singing Bill Monroe songs,” he said.

Regarding economic development, Presley said it’s important to provide opportunities that will encourage young people to stay in Mississippi.

“We have got to stop the brain drain. One way we do that is through high-quality education and full funding of our public schools. Every governor, myself included, wants to land big projects. But we also have to understand in the modern economy a lot of people can work from home and have high-wage jobs. And we have to give those folks a reason to stay here in Mississippi,” he said.

As days countdown to the election, Presley said he would wrap up his campaign, where it started.

“I will be back in Nettleton voting. We will have a good downtown party here either the night before or the night of the election, and get folks fired up,” Presley said.

Presley said he will work hard through election day.

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