Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Lynn Fitch, 49, is from Holly Springs, but has lived in Madison for 26 years. She attended the University of Mississippi for her undergraduate degree and for her law degree. She has two daughters and one son.
Gov. Haley Barbour selected Fitch in 2009 to be the executive director of the Mississippi State Personnel Board, which provides human resource services for state agencies. She has also worked as a bond lawyer, counsel for the Mississippi House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, and special assistant attorney general with the state attorney general's office.
She faces state Sen. Lee Yancy in the Aug. 23 runoffs, who has not been available for an interview. The winner will face Democrat Connie Moran and Reform Party candidate Jon McCarty in the November general elections.
What is your main goal as treasurer?
The reason I am involved is so that I can, certainly, give to the state of Mississippi and be their public servant, because I have the credentials and experience to start on day one. It won't require any on-the-job training for me, and I can step right into the treasurer's office.
How has your experience prepared you for the job as treasurer?
Working in an agency, I've got a record. I've done more with less. I understand budgets and budget cuts, and I understand how to manage people. ... I already have that experience of being an agency director. Just having the opportunity to be very involved from the legal side and the public service side, I feel very compelled that I've got so many layers that truly qualify me to be the state's chief financial officer.
What's your campaign strategy leading up to the runoff election?
We've been 24-7 full throttle right after the Aug. 2 election. Our message is this is a very technical, critical job, so it requires someone who has that experience, who has that expertise level. So we're continuing to focus on the message of that experience.
There's been a lot of talk about cutting budgets in the tough economy. Where do you think we can cut the budget?
I think due to the economy we're going to have to learn to do more with less. We're going to have to learn to operate within our means. ... We are going to have to make decisions and hard choices for how we utilize the money, and certainly as the state treasurer I will do my part. I'm very much a believer, as you can see from my track record, that you can do more with less, you can manage and you can take the opportunity to provide more, but you've got to have a strategic plan for how you can do that. I think our state is headed in that direction until we get another uptick in the economy, and right now that's looking not very good.
Anything else you'd like to add?
It's been a great experience running for treasurer. It's such an honor. I recently was endorsed by (former Arkansas) Gov. Mike Huckabee. He endorsed me as the most conservative and the most knowledgeable candidate to begin the job as treasurer, and that's very exciting for me. The treasurer has a lot of roles on boards of agencies and commissions, and I would certainly be able to step into those roles as well. I think it's important that we have a treasurer that's very well versed in economic development, because as the treasurer, there's a role of understanding the economy, understanding how we can create jobs, how we can work toward more education for our children and then that becomes the workforce for our job creation.
You mentioned creating jobs. How do you think you, as treasurer, can work toward creating more jobs?
The treasurer should truly be involved in the economic development of our state, and that goes into talking about the bonding of our state. Currently, we have $4 billion that we owe in debt, which is sort of like our credit card. Many of those are for economic development projects, and we need to look at the return on our investment and make a decision about what kinds of bonds are being issued, the terms of the bonds. Being a bond lawyer in private practice, I understand that process.