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Fact Check: Touring Tate Reeves’ $3.3 Million Governor’s Mansion Renovations

JACKSON, Miss.—The first thing you see when starting a tour of the historic and regal Mississippi Governor’s Mansion is a lot of pink. Pink walls, rugs infused with salmon splashes, and antique magenta and gold chairs. A delicate pink chandelier glows overhead in the formal Front Rose Parlor in the oldest part of the mansion in downtown Jackson. Each room’s nickname in the older part of the mansion is its color. There’s also the yellow room, gold room and so on.

It was a family affair on Sept. 20, 2023, when Gov. Tate Reeves, his wife Elee Reeves and youngest daughter Maddie greeted a Mississippi Free Press team, including Editor Donna Ladd and photojournalist Imani Khayyam at the public entrance to the 181-year-old mansion. The Mississippi Free Press had reached out to his office to fact check claims made by a national publication about expenditures spent on renovating the Governor’s Mansion.

In response, the governor insisted on providing a personal tour himself. His wife and first lady Elee Reeves, dressed in pink, oversaw the renovation and led much of the tour with her daughter, who would reveal that her personal motive was really to show off her handiwork in cleaning up her own room to get ready for the uncommon media tour.

Gov. Tate Reeves welcomed a Mississippi Free Press reporting team into the formal Front Rose Parlor in the oldest part of the 181-year-old mansion in downtown Jackson on Sept. 20, 2023. Photo by Imani Khayyam

The Daily Beast reported on Sept. 13, 2023, that Reeves had spent millions in taxpayer dollars renovating the Governor’s Mansion. Senior Political Reporter Roger Sollenberger cited documents he obtained through a public-records request.

The article says Reeves sold his personal home in Flowood, in Rankin County just east of Jackson, and moved his family into the mansion and immediately began spending $3.3 million on renovations to fit the Reeves family’s taste, with $900,000 of that coming from private funding. 

The pink chandelier glows overhead in the formal Front Rose Parlor in the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion in downtown Jackson, Miss. Photo by Imani Khayyam

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