Ketchings making bid for state treasurer

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 26, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Andrew Ketchings qualified Wednesday to run for state treasurer, just two weeks after he announced he would not seek re-election to the Legislature.

The Natchez Republican said he has long been interested in the position &045; but would not run as long as Marshall Bennett remained in office. When Bennett announced he would not seek reelection, Ketchings, who had earlier said he would limit his time in the House of Representatives to two terms, decided to throw his hat in the ring.

&uot;As state government continues to spend more money even in the face of huge deficits, I am troubled that our state’s bond indebtedness will leave our people vulnerable in the future,&uot; Ketchings

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&uot;Now more than ever state needs investment ,and the surest way to attract investors is to prove we have a growing economy backed by sound and solid borrowing policies.&uot;

Ketchings is also interested in looking at the state’s pre-paid tuition investment plan &045; and in making sure the investments are protected.

&uot;As treasurer, I will be able not only to oversee state borrowing levels but also to protect Mississippi’s families who invest in our prepaid college tuition program,&uot; he said. &uot;I will work diligently to ensure the money is there when it is needed.&uot;

Ketchings’ background is in banking and finance. He is a former vice president

at Britton & Koontz First National Bank and also served as assistant director of the Natchez-Adams County Economic Development Authority. He currently is a real estate appraiser.

&uot;I am running for state treasurer because I believe my background in banking, experience in state government and my deep concern for Mississippi’s struggling economy ideally suits me for this office,&uot; he said.

Ketchings recently was one of the lone votes against passage of the state education budget

because, he said, he worried about where the money would come from next year. Much of the money in the budget &045; which includes a salary increase for teachers &045; is in one-time money.

Ketchings said he looks forward to the statewide campaign, although now he is concentrating much of his attention on majority Republican counties in the Jackson metropolitan area, the gulf coast and near Memphis, Tenn.

&uot;It’s always difficult to mount a statewide campaign,&uot; Ketchings said. &uot;But there’s no one in this race who has huge name ID.&uot;

Ketchings said he has support from several state business groups.

The only other Republican who has filed for the treasurer’s race is Wayne Burkes, a former state transportation commissioner.

On Tuesday, Jackson banker Cindy Ayers Elliott filed papers to run as a Democrat for state treasurer.

She will face state Sen. Rob Smith of Richland in the Democratic primary.

Saturday is the deadline for candidates to file to run for state offices. Party primaries are Aug. 5 and the general election is Nov. 4.