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Q&A: First Woman to Represent Mississippi Appointed to US Senate

Gov. Phil Bryant appointed the Mississippi’s Agriculture and Commerce Commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith to the U.S. Senate to replace Senator Thad Cochran, who stepped down from the position due to health reasons. HottyToddy.com’s Steve Vasallo had a chance to sit down with Hyde-Smith to discuss her historic achievement as the first woman representing Mississippi appointed to the Senate. 

Vassallo: Senator, first of all, congratulations on your new position. Did you ever anticipate that your entry into politics years ago would lead you to the United States Senate?
Hyde-Smith: This is not something I sought out, but I am honored and humbled Governor Bryant believed in me and asked me to serve the people of Mississippi in the Senate. I pledged to him and to the voters that I will serve with honor and respect.
Vassallo: How will your background in the Dept. of Agriculture and Commerce prepare you for your new assignment?
Hyde-Smith: My background as a farmer, a conservative state senator and commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce has prepared me for this job. Agriculture is the single largest economic sector in our state, and in my role as commissioner, I have traveled the state, meeting men and women who run small and large businesses, who play by the rules and contribute to Mississippi. The one thing I know for sure is in order for them to maintain their competitiveness, they need a fair playing field and the ability to sell their products here and abroad.
Vassallo: Before we get too deep into policy and politics, could you share some background information about your family, hometown and education?
Hyde-Smith: I am a graduate of Copiah-Lincoln Community College and the University
of Southern Mississippi. My husband Mike and I are the proud parents of Anna-Michael, our family’s fifth-generation farmer. We raise beef cattle and are partners in Lincoln County Livestock, the local stockyard auction market in Brookhaven. We live in Brookhaven and are active members of Macedonia Baptist Church.
Vassallo: Describe your thoughts on some of the challenges that you will be facing as a United States Senator.
Hyde-Smith: As a strong supporter of President Trump and the conservative agenda, I am looking forward to working with the White House and my colleagues in Congress on key issues including: protecting the historic Trump tax cuts, which are unleashing a wave of booming economic growth and low unemployment across America; rolling back unnecessary regulations that get in the way of American farmers, workers and small businesses; supporting President Trump’s immigration reform agenda, including
building a wall on the southern border of the U.S.; rebuilding America’s military and readiness by working with President Trump and our Republican majorities to make sure the military is stronger than ever; honoring the promises made to America’s veterans; championing Mississippi’s economy; finishing the fight to repeal Obamacare; protecting the Second Amendment; and supporting the right to life of the unborn.
Vassallo: With Mississippi’s educational standing still among the lowest of the states, will you attempt to focus any new initiatives in this direction?
Hyde-Smith: The challenge of the 21st century is making sure our workforce is educated and prepared for the jobs of the modern economy. Gov. Bryant and the conservative leadership in our state are making significant strides in improving and reforming our schools. The third-grade reading gate legislation is making a positive difference and already showing its effectiveness to ensure children are prepared at an early age, which will help increase our graduation rates. As I mentioned, workforce training is a major issue because not only do we need more jobs for the future, we need to make sure people are prepared and well trained to retain those jobs and recruit new ones. As Senator, I will make sure Washington supports education and our state’s workforce training initiatives but that it does not interfere with state and local control of education.
Vassallo: You played a key and active role in President Trump’s campaign. What attracted you to the campaign, initially?
Hyde-Smith: When President Trump was candidate Trump, I was asked to co-chair his Agricultural Advisory Council. I immediately knew that I wanted to work to help get this man elected. Being involved in the campaign before he was elected was a great opportunity to get to know a lot of like-minded conservatives, not only in the area of agriculture but in other policy areas as well. I am honored to now be able to work with him to help rebuild the military, support our troops and our veterans, secure our borders, fight to protect the rights of the unborn, fight to protect our Second Amendment rights and all of our Constitutional freedoms.
Vassallo: How do you feel about the President’s relationship with the national media? DO you think he’s treated fairly? 
Hyde-Smith: It’s frustrating to see how unfairly the national media treats President Trump. I would encourage people to look at the conservative results President Trump and the Republican Congress are delivering for us and not listen to the liberal national media that want to tear him down.
Vassallo: By reopening the market for beef exports into China, how could this possibly impact the state’s economy?
Hyde-Smith: I had the opportunity to travel to China to plead our case for lifting the ban that they had on buying U.S. beef. Ten days after my return, the ban was lifted and after 13 years of not buying our beef, we shipped them our first shipment from Omaha, Nebraska last June. This was a great win for our beef industry and will help our state with economic growth and more jobs.
Vassallo: Being a social conservative and a pro-life advocate, how do you feel these positions will play to the electorate this November?
Hyde-Smith: I am a firm believer in the right to life. When I was in the legislature, I authored a bill banning abortion. After 12 weeks, Gov. Barbour signed that into law. We were all once in our mothers’ womb, and every child deserves the right to life. Mississippians are strongly pro-life, and I will fight for the rights of the unborn when I go to Washington.
Vassallo: Mississippi has not had an abundance of women seeking statewide and federal offices? Do you believe this will be a positive or an obstacle looking ahead to November?
Hyde-Smith: I am honored to be the first woman in Mississippi’s history to be sent to Washington, D.C. to represent our state. But I have never asked for support based on my gender. It’s my hope that I can inspire all young people to work hard to achieve their goals. I think our governor is an excellent example of that, and I’ve always admired how he’s worked hard to become the top elected official in our state. I’m asking people for their support based on my conservative record, my character and my values. I am going to work hard every day to earn the votes of my fellow Mississippians in November.

Steve VassalloSteve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at sovassallo@gmail.com or call him at 985-852-7745.
For questions or comments, email hottytoddynews@gmail.com

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