Neshoba County, Miss.—Republican Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann’s top priorities for a brighter Mississippi include resolving infrastructure problems and refocusing on our small businesses.
Hosemann’s first action item, however, relates to Mississippi’s most valuable resources: our teachers and our children.
“For Mississippi to succeed, public schools must succeed,” said Hosemann during his annual Neshoba County Fair speech. “Spending our taxpayer dollars wisely starts with increasing teacher pay . . . . Just adequately funding education is not adequate for me.”
While he did not announce a specific bid for higher office, Hosemann said he plans to be on the ballot in 2019—but not as Secretary of State.
“We are excited thinking about Mississippi’s future and how our fresh eyes might envision all the ways we can rise together,” he said.
Hosemann, first elected as Secretary of State in 2007, also highlighted three of his major achievements while in office.
This year, Mississippians celebrate their fourth anniversary with a constitutional Voter ID law. Hosemann, a champion for protecting the integrity of elections, spearheaded the effort to see the law’s enactment. While other states continue to be embroiled in litigation over Voter ID, Mississippi’s law has yet to be challenged in court.
“You remember some of the liberal Democrats saying 400,000 people would be disenfranchised,” Hosemann said. “We listened to and trusted each other when we were deciding how to shape our Voter ID law. And, instead of disenfranchising anyone, we enfranchised more than 6,000 citizens who now have a free Voter ID inviting them to the polls on Election Day.”
Other achievements including raising almost $1 billion for the State’s schoolchildren through 16th Section leases and overseeing the wholesale revision of Mississippi’s business laws to make it as easy as possible to open up a business and invest in the State.
Hosemann closed his remarks with a request to voters: remember the 3,200 Mississippi National Guardsmen and women defending our rights in the Middle East when considering whether to cast a ballot in November.
“They will not be home for the Fair, football season, or Christmas,” Hosemann said. “Our obligation to them is to go vote.”
For more information, visit www.delberthosemann.com.
Full Remarks by Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann at 2018 Neshoba County Fair
“It is great for Lynn and me to be back here with you at Mississippi’s Giant House Party.
When Lynn and I came home from college, everything we owned was in our car. We rented an apartment and I began my job.
Lynn went to work as a Secretary for the President Pro Tem of the Mississippi Senate in the State Capitol. She was a State employee. Funny how life comes full circle.
There was only one major problem… The car we drove home was rented and I had to take it back to the airport. We had to bum rides to get to work until we got paid the first month and could make a down payment on a car.
We did not inherit wealth. We are just like you — we worked for it. Three children and soon to be seven grandchildren are our reward. We bring those same Mississippi values and work ethic to the job you hired me to do as Secretary of State.
This year marks our fourth year with a constitutional Voter ID law. You remember some of the liberal Democrats saying 400,000 people would be disenfranchised.
We listened to and trusted each other when we were deciding how to shape our Voter ID law. And, instead of disenfranchising anyone, we enfranchised more than 6,000 citizens who now have a free Voter ID inviting them to the polls on Election Day.
Other states have spent millions of dollars defending their laws. We did not get sued by the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. We have not been sued by anyone. They are still fighting about Voter ID in Texas. Now 81 percent of Mississippians support Voter ID.
Dead people do not vote in Mississippi.
Spending less of your hard-earned money on lawyers means more money can go where it is needed the most.
As the State Land Commissioner, we reviewed thousands of 16th Section leases and found a lot of folks had been getting sweetheart deals on the backs of our school children. We put an end to that, and I did not make everyone happy.
When we publicly bid deer land in Carroll County and the price went up, I got word there was not enough orange in Mississippi for me to deer hunt there. But, the results have paid off. By this time next year, we will have raised $1 billion in 16th Section revenue during my tenure in Office.
Every cent has gone to our public schools.
I had a job before you hired me, mainly working with small businesses. So, my Agency has never done things the same old government way.
When I worked in the business world, it took me more than two weeks and a ream of paper to open a business in Mississippi. Now, you can start a business in a matter of minutes with the click of a mouse. We are one of the most automated Secretary of State agencies in the country, taking in 700,000 documents and winning a dozen national and international awards for our website.
We need to make it easier for folks to invest in our economy, and this is why we launched Y’all Business. We give our small businesses access to the same consumer and demographic data available to big box stores when making a financial decision.
Mississippi businesses can compete with anyone in the world. They just need the right tools to be successful.
And, you know what else we do? We answer the phone 65,000 times a year, within 10 seconds, with a live person who is glad you called.
So, I have done the job you hired me to do — drafting the best business laws in the country, securing our elections with Voter ID, and raising $1 billion for Mississippi schools.
At the Neshoba County Fair, you are supposed to make political announcements so here is ours: I will not be running for Secretary of State again.
But I will be a little higher up on the ballot in 2019.
We are excited thinking about Mississippi’s future and how our fresh eyes might envision all the ways we can RISE together.
We have made it as easy as possible to set up a business in Mississippi, and now we have got to continue to make it as easy as possible to make businesses profitable here.
When our businesses succeed, our economy grows, our families prosper, and our State has more to spend on important issues like infrastructure and public schools.
Your government should be reformed to run like your business from the citizen up, not the bureaucracy down.
One of our problems is infrastructure. Bridges are closed and highways and city streets need repair. Inconvenience is one thing. Making sure our children can get to school safely and our products and agriculture get to market is not optional.
And, it is not just roads and bridges. Every home and business should have access to broadband internet—whether you live in a large city or on a small farm.
Infrastructure is a non-negotiable investment for our State.
We not only need more new businesses to choose to invest in Mississippi, we need to help the businesses that are already here to grow and prosper.
I am so proud of the Ingalls, Nissans, and Toyotas across our State. They have been great partners. Our investment in them and their investment in us had paid dividends.
But, small businessmen and women are the backbone of Mississippi’s economy. They are providing most of our goods and services and they are employing the majority of our people.
We should not give a tax break to big businesses that we cannot give to you and your business.
One of the resources businesses of every size and shape have told us they need is an educated workforce. Look at the results on our website of the recent survey of thousands of Mississippi businesses. This is the most important piece of the puzzle.
Before we can solve it, we have to provide our children with a quality education beginning as early as possible and job alternatives to maximize their individual talents and future income.
There can be no barrier between our K-12 schools, community colleges and 4 year universities, because we cannot afford to duplicate efforts. You and your business are going to have to be involved in sharing your employment needs with our school leaders. Look at the “Making Trades Cool Again” example in Lowndes County or Career Academies in Pascagoula for how this is working.
For Mississippi to succeed, public schools must succeed. Education dollars must be spent in the classrooms so we can grow and nurture our most treasured resource—our children.
Spending our taxpayer dollars wisely starts with increasing teacher pay and not just to the average of our sister states.
The one live person who touches every Mississippian and every business is a teacher.
Just adequately funding education is not adequate for me.
We have got 3,200 reasons to get in our trucks and get out to the polls and vote this fall.
I was present in June when 3,200 of our Mississippi National Guardsmen and women of the 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team trained and then deployed to Syria and the Middle East to defend the freedoms we enjoy every day.
They will not be home for the Fair, football season, or Christmas, and we are indebted to them and their families they left with us. Our obligation to them is to go vote. They are risking their lives for you and the least you can do is take 10 minutes and cast a ballot in November.
Enjoy the Fair and God Bless Mississippi!”