When Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch, who’s best known outside her home state for bringing the Dobbs case to the Supreme Court, was elected treasurer, she selected a particular desk for her own use.

“It wasn’t very modern or stylish. Or light—it took four strong people to move it,” Fitch reminisced in an article in the Mississippi Law Journal.

“But not a day goes by that I’m not grateful for the opportunity to sit at that desk because of who sat at it before me, Evelyn Gandy.”

If you happen to be a Mississippian or an aficionado of politics in the southern states, the name Evelyn Gandy, who went from being the only woman in her law school graduating class to being the first of four women elected to statewide office and serving as lieutenant governor, just might still ring a bell. For Lynn Fitch, who graduated from law school at the University of Mississippi in 1984, Gandy was an inspiration.

“There were very few role models for women in the law then,” Fitch recalled in her speech. “But what we lacked in the number of available mentors, we more than made up for in the personality and sense of purpose of the one who went on to teach me and other women so much about service, Evelyn Gandy. She was more than just a trailblazer. She was a pathfinder, creating a way forward for Mississippi women, particularly Mississippi women lawyers.”

With such an inspirational figure as her mentor, it is not surprising that “empowering women” is one of the goals Fitch is embracing in her job as attorney general. Fitch was the first state attorney general to sign Independent Women’s Voice’s Women’s Bill of Rights, which recognizes immutable differences between women and men and upholds real equality, as opposed to dismantling the hard-earned rights of women to accommodate a radical transgender movement.

“I think the Women’s Bill of Rights signifies the absolute importance of women and the role that we play, and it’s very impactful to have it,” Fitch tells IWF. “I think it certainly speaks to the tapestry of who we all are as women, what we all do uniquely, and then how we respond as a group. So, I’m very grateful that I can be a part of this.”

Fitch is most famous nationally as “the woman who helped take down Roe v. Wade,” as a Newsweek headline put it. She is primarily responsible for getting Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which led to the Court’s reversal of the Court’s 1973 abortion rights ruling, to the high court. IWF does not take a position on the issue of abortion, but Fitch’s projects to empower women for what might be called a “post-Dobbs world” are another matter.

Under the umbrella of The Empowerment Project, Fitch aims to help women and families by providing opportunities and resources for women to upskill, grow, and educate.  

“We looked at the different ways that we could help women through our different legislative agendas,” Fitch says. “For the initial stage, we are focused on five pillars: making quality childcare affordable and accessible, promoting workplace flexibility, streamlining and improving the foster care and adoption systems, enhancing child support enforcement, and supporting pregnant women and new mothers.”

Fitch’s office supported a new legislative initiative to help pregnancy resource centers, which provide services to mothers and children, with $3.5 million in tax credits. On Valentine’s Day of last year, Fitch asked the people of Mississippi to show “a little extra love” to Mississippi’s roughly thirty pregnancy centers by donating supplies to them through what Fitch called “a virtual baby shower.”  

As part of The Empowerment Project, Fitch is urging the state legislature to expand tax credits for employers offering child care, along with tax credits for certain kinds of childcare expenses. Focusing on mothers and children came naturally. “I have three beautiful children, and I was a single mom,” she says. “So, I completely understand the trials and tribulations and also know that with support you can continue along your career path.”

As part of her commitment to empowering others, Fitch has also launched a campaign to end human trafficking in Mississippi. Fitch explains that many mistakenly think of trafficking as an international crime that involves border crossings and professional traffickers. But sex trafficking in a rural state?

Under the umbrella of The Empowerment Project, Fitch aims to help women and families by providing opportunities and resources for women to upskill, grow, and educate.

“It is absolutely an issue in Mississippi,” Fitch responds. “When I took office, I said we would drive toward eradicating human trafficking in the state of Mississippi. Many people believe, not just in our state, but in other states, that we don’t have human trafficking going on. But we have it in every corner of the state of Mississippi. Just pick a direction. With a group of coalitions, law enforcement, prosecutors, and community leaders, we launched an initiative called Be the Solution. The first partners included the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Education who are training truck drivers and bus drivers on how to spot and report trafficking. Some of these bus drivers are the last ones that see these children.

“Are we getting some trafficking across the border? Absolutely,” Fitch continues. “But the majority of victims in Mississippi are people who have been trafficked by someone that they loved and trusted, like a mother, an aunt, or an uncle. It’s horrific.”

“And we are having successes in combating it,” she says. “In phase one, with all these partners, we received a lot of tips and we completed many rescues. We distributed a lot of information with billboards, PSAs, social media ads, and even stickers in convenience store restrooms, and we received a lot of tips in response. In fact, in the first 18 months, we ran over 43 operations with our partners in law enforcement across the state of Mississippi, and as a result, we arrested 60 predators. But here’s the real kicker: We rescued 187 victims of trafficking.” 

“When we do the rescue,” she adds, “we follow a detailed plan focused on removing them from danger and providing access to counseling, shelter, and other resources. You have to remember that these individuals didn’t ask to be in this situation, and it’s on every one of us to help them get back into society without any shame or blame. And we’re going to continue along those lines.” 

Lynn Fitch is a native Mississippian, who grew up in the beautiful little town of Holly Springs, characterized by nineteenth-century houses, near the Tennessee border. Her parents ran a consumer finance company, and, growing up, Lynn and her sister worked in the family business. The family at one time operated Fitch Farms, a popular hunting retreat that drew prominent people for the quail, turkey, and deer. Fitch attended Marshall Academy where she held her first elected position: student body president. She was inspired by the late headmaster Noel Akins. 

“He talked to us about where we should be and what we should be doing with our lives,” she recalls. “Really uplifting, and he made a huge difference.” Ole Miss was next.

Fitch completed undergraduate studies and law school in five years and was ready to start building a career. First stop—the Attorney General’s office. She had worked there as an intern while going to law school, and they wanted her back. “I started my practice here at the attorney general’s office,” Fitch says. “My first five years of law practice I served as a special assistant attorney general. So, to be able to lead my life and come back to be the first woman attorney general ever in the State of Mississippi is such a privilege.” It was as a young lawyer that Fitch met Evelyn Gandy. 

When an opening came up in the Attorney General’s office, Fitch knew it was her time. “I had worked here, I had been a client for eight years since the attorney general represents state agencies, and so I knew it was a great fit.”

Fitch recalls, “When I got out of law school, there weren’t many women lawyers in the state, but there was a small group of us, and we stayed together. And we were very fortunate. We had a mentor that spent a lot of time with us, like about 12 of us, and it was Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Gandy. She said around the country right now, there are new committees being created in all the bar associations called Women in the Profession, and we need one in Mississippi. All of us absolutely agreed. She said, ‘Lynn, I think you should make the presentation to the board of the Bar Association.’”

Fitch made the pitch to the Bar Association. “‘Can you get all the women’s stuff done in one year?’ the lawyer who was chairing the meeting asked. So, I bit my tongue, and I said we’ll try. We got it off the ground. So, I chaired the Women in the Profession Committee for three years. It was an ad hoc committee—it’s now not only a standing committee, but it is now a section of the bar.” 

In 2009, then-Governor Haley Barber tapped Fitch to serve as executive director of the Mississippi State Personnel Board, the human resources agency for the state. In 2011, Fitch ran for State Treasurer and won in a landslide (a whopping 59 percent). As State Treasurer, Fitch made financial literacy her focus. “We worked very hard and diligently on getting financial education into the schools,” she recalls. “We raised money and as a result were able to get this curriculum into the high schools. By the time we left, at least 140,000 students across the state had received financial education.”

When an opening came up in the Attorney General’s office, Fitch knew it was her time. “I had worked here, I had been a client for eight years since the attorney general represents state agencies, and so I knew it was a great fit.”

The voters agreed. Fitch is the first woman to hold this position and the first Republican to have the job since 1878. She has also been Counsel to the Mississippi House of Representatives Ways and Means and Local and Private Legislation Committees. Fitch is a resident of Ridgeland, a small town near Jackson, the capital.

Evelyn Gandy ran for Governor of Mississippi in 1983 and was defeated in the runoff. It was the glass ceiling she did not break. But she has a mighty fine protégé, who’s gaining a national reputation. Who knows what might be next?