‘Free State of Mississippi’: GOP Governor candidate Dr. John Witcher speaks in Vicksburg

Published 4:58 pm Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Dr. John Witcher, a Republican candidate for Governor of Mississippi who launched his campaign on fighting vaccine mandates, visited Vicksburg on Wednesday to speak with the Vicksburg Association of Marketing Professionals (VAMP).

Witcher, an electrical engineer turned physician, entered the political field after his contract with Baptist Memorial Hospital in Yazoo City was terminated during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Witcher, he was fired from the hospital for switching patients’ COVID-19 medications to Ivermectin.

Wednesday’s speaking engagement centered on the organization he founded alongside his wife, Brooke Witcher, Mississippi Against Mandates, as well as his plans for the state should he be elected governor.

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“I was not too favorable of these federal mandates that were pushed out (during the COVID-19) pandemic,” Witcher said. “… These shots, many people lost their jobs. We started Mississippi Against Mandates to fight that. We felt like you didn’t have to take the shot if you didn’t want to.”

Witcher also sat down with The Post following his speaking engagement and discussed topics ranging from the pro-life agenda to economic development in the Vicksburg-Warren County area, as well as his ongoing efforts to advocate against vaccine mandates in the state.

VP: Should you be elected Governor, how will you address pro-life policies and advance a “pro-quality-of-life” agenda in Mississippi?

WITCHER: I’m pro-life for the baby in the womb and also for all life, including the elderly. It’s something we need to bring back and make sure each person’s life is valued and is sacred. I believe (for) the radical liberals, it’s all about the community and taking individual rights away, and really just taking away the sacredness of each and every one of us. We just have to stand forward and step up and say, we’re made in God’s image, every one of us human beings. No matter what race we are, we’re all one race, and we have to unify as one Mississippi, under God, united and not divided, because the enemy is constantly trying to divide us.

VP: Vicksburg and Warren County are burgeoning hubs for economic development. Are you familiar with the Port of Vicksburg Expansion? What ideas do you have to advance this project and in turn improve our area’s economy?

WITCHER: Mississippi has lots of natural resources. We really need to promote not only those natural resources and our way of life but invite people to come here. Not just industries, but we want families to come. A lot of families are moving to the South, to Florida, Texas and Tennessee. We could get even more of those folks, but we have to have good, safe communities with good schools.

We have so many resources. When you look at the Coast, we have some ports down there that are not doing a whole lot and we need to encourage those to get going. We have the Mississippi River down the entire west side of the state. We have lots of agriculture. I would also like to see more done in the Delta as well.

VP: Transportation infrastructure is another key issue in the Warren County area, especially along the Interstate 20 Corridor. Gov. Tate Reeves and Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann recently pledged funding to make improvements to the Flowers Interchange — what will you do to push that project forward?

WITCHER: Mississippi is well known for our road system, and not in a good way. Of course, we have problems in Mississippi that lots of places don’t, with the shifting dirt and the Yazoo clay underneath us, but we have to have better planning and ongoing maintenance and infrastructure rebuilds and build-ups. Roads, bridges, it’s all part of it.

VP: A big part of your campaign is your stance on COVID-19 vaccines and mandates. As the pandemic continues to dissipate, how does this issue remain relevant for Mississippians?

WITCHER: People are still suffering. I’m treating a lot of vaccine-injured patients, as well as other doctors around the state. We want these vaccine-injured patients to be recognized and really, they need help. Many of them have lost their jobs and they can’t work any longer; they don’t have insurance. A lot of these treatments that they’re getting are not normal treatments. They’re trying things like hyperbaric oxygen therapy and IV nutrients to detox the body, and these are expensive and most cannot afford it.

I believe our governor allowed Big Pharma to come in and push these vaccines as safe and effective — Moderna and Pfizer in particular — when they actually had the data to show there were risks involved. So we’re going in and helping these patients.

Many patients died in the hospitals due to COVID. Their loved ones are suffering right now because they’re heartbroken because they were not able to get treatments to those patients that probably could’ve saved their lives.

And then people lost their jobs; a lot of people lost their jobs in 2021 because they had to choose between a shot they didn’t want or a job they wanted. So they quit or got fired. If they lost their jobs and want them back, I’d like to see them go back. Students as well — there were a lot of young nursing students that just said, ‘I’m not fighting this battle and I’m changing fields.’

VP: Do you know which schools or programs had vaccine mandates for students?

WITCHER: When it first started, just about every college either mandated or highly encouraged (COVID-19 vaccines). But as of now, medical hospitals or colleges want everyone to get vaccinated. But that’s supposed to change when Biden’s vaccine mandate update rolls out. We’ll see how that goes.

The question we need to ask is: Why is the federal government still pushing these vaccines when COVID’s pretty much gone? That’s a question I have.

VP: What gives you an edge over your opponents (Republicans Gov. Tate Reeves and David Hardigree; Democrat Brandon Presley and Independent Gwendolyn Gray)? 

WITCHER: First and foremost, I’m an outsider. I’m a medical doctor. I’ve been all over Mississippi, born and raised; grew up on the Coast, but my mother’s from Yazoo City and my father was from Tupelo. I have a lot of family and friends around (the state).

Our governor is a career politician. He’s been there 18 years and started (in politics) in his 20s. He’s part of the system.

People are excited about what’s happening in Florida; they call it the “Free State of Florida.” We want to be the “Free State of Mississippi.” We believe in state sovereignty, we want to push back against the federal government. The World Health Organization is very likely coming after us soon with emergency lockdowns. It may not be a pandemic next time. It might be climate-related.