Sep 17, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Mississippi Gov. says it’s a "great day to not be in Jackson" amid water crisis

Photo: Dylan Hollingsworth/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) said on Friday that it was, as always, "a great day to not be in Jackson," the capital city that had been facing a water crisis after flooding in the Pearl River damaged its water system.

The big picture: Reeves made the comments while speaking in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. It's the latest in a back-and-forth between Reeves and Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba.

  • They have each accused the other's office of failing to address longstanding issues in the city's water treatment prior to the crisis, Axios' Shawna Chen reports.
  • "I feel like I should take off my emergency manager director hat and leave it in the car and take off my public works director hat and leave it in the car," Reeves added in the speech.

Flashback: Reeves claimed that city officials failed to give the state and federal governments a plan to fix longstanding issues with the water system, and that staff in the water plant where the failure happened "had been abandoned."

  • Lumumba shared records that he says contradict Reeves' statements, including the city's capital improvement plan from a few years ago, which included funding requests for the water treatment plant, and a document that listed a number of critical repairs and a schedule for implementation.
  • And last year, Reeves said that Jackson needed to work harder at "collecting their water bill payments before they start going and asking everyone else to pony up more money," the Washington Post reported.

Jackson's city-wide boil water notice, put into effect weeks before the flooding occurred, was lifted on Thursday.

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