Neshoba County, Miss. — Mississippi will only succeed if our public schools succeed, Lieutenant Governor candidate Delbert Hosemann told a crowd of supporters at the Neshoba County Fair today.
In giving a preview of his plans for education and the economy, Hosemann said he was laser-focused on raising teacher pay to rates in alignment with neighboring states and ending the State’s teacher shortage, which has reached a critical level. He suggested incentivizing retired teachers to come back to work full-time and attracting teachers to critical shortage areas.
“We can’t lose new teachers from the start because we aren’t competitive in pay,” said Hosemann, currently serving his third term as Mississippi’s Secretary of State. “Whether to stay in Mississippi and teach our children must not be based on an economic decision.”
Hosemann also highlighted his plans to grow Mississippi’s small businesses and educated workforce. Small businesses, he said, are the “backbone of our economy, employing most of our people and delivering most of our services. We need to listen to them, and give them a seat at the table.”
On growing Mississippi’s educated workforce, Hosemann committed to expanding career and technical classes for high school students, standardizing dual-enrollment.
“All Mississippians deserve the opportunity to have a meaningful job for a living wage,” said Hosemann, a Republican, who spent most of his career in the private sector as a businessman.
He closed by reminding voters of his record. This year, Mississippians celebrate their fifth anniversary with a constitutional Voter ID law. Seeing through the enactment of Voter ID was one of Hosemann’s chief commitments when he announced his candidacy for Secretary of State in 2007. While other states continue to be embroiled in litigation over Voter ID, Mississippi’s law has yet to be challenged in court.
Other achievements include raising almost $1 billion for the State’s public schoolchildren through 16th Section leasing reforms, revising business laws to make it as easy as possible to open up a business and invest in Mississippi, and fighting to secure insurance coverage for treatment for children with autism.
“I don’t over-promise. I over-deliver,” Hosemann said. “We will create an even better place for our children and grandchildren to live, work, and raise their families. And, that’s a promise.”
The Republican Primary Election is Tuesday, August 6, and the General Election is Tuesday, November 5. For more information about the campaign, visit www.delberhosemann.com.
Full Prepared Remarks by Lieutenant Governor Candidate Delbert Hosemann at 2019 Neshoba County Fair
It is great for Lynn and me to be back here for our 12th Giant House Party.
Seeing all of you and your families and your friends, it reminds me of when we came back to Mississippi from college. Everything we owned was in our car. All we had was an old TV, some wedding gifts, and student loans. Thank goodness we had just enough for the first month’s apartment rent.
And, there was one other problem. The car was rented and I had to take it back to the airport. For the first month, we bummed rides to work until we could get a paycheck to put a down payment on a car. Lynn went to work as the secretary to the President Pro Tempore of the Mississippi Senate on the third floor of the State Capitol. Isn’t it funny how life goes full circle?
Mississippi has given us many opportunities. Three children and seven grandchildren later—it’s time to give back.
It has been an honor to serve as your Secretary of State for the last 12 years. I have had a bright, dedicated staff, and we work hard for you. Here is what you asked us to do:
Make Mississippi an easier place to form a business. It used to take two weeks and a lot of paper to form a business in Mississippi. We re-wrote every business law to make them business friendly, and now you can start a business with the click of a mouse and file all of your paperwork electronically. More than 25,000 of you will use this process to start a business this year. And, we cut your filing fees. They are the lowest in the Nation.
You asked me to put an end to sweetheart deals on 16th Section Lands. This year we will break $1 billion raised from 16th Section Land over the last 12 years. This is a $400 million increase for public schools since you hired me, and we have purchased more than 20,000 acres of public land and an island—without significant State money—you and your grandchildren will own forever.
And, you asked me to institute a common-sense constitutional Voter ID law. The liberal Democrats said 400,000 people would be disenfranchised. Well, guess what? We did not disenfranchise any Mississippians. In fact, we enfranchised 7,000 Mississippians by issuing them a valid Mississippi Voter ID. We were the only State that was not sued by the Department of Justice.
And, you asked me not to leave autistic children without insurance coverage so they can achieve the same hopes and dreams you do. Today, they do.
Moving forward, first and foremost, Mississippi will only succeed if our public schools succeed.
We must start by raising starting teacher salaries to, at the least, rates which are comparable with neighboring states. This will automatically raise the salaries of our already hard-working teachers. We cannot lose new teachers from the start because we aren’t competitive in pay. Whether to stay in Mississippi and teach our children must not be an economic decision for our teachers.
Speaking of losing teachers, our school administrators are frustrated. More than one-third of our school districts are facing a critical teacher shortage, and graduation in teacher education programs at our public universities has declined 25 percent in the last four years.
Increases in salary are critical, but we must also have an increase in respect for teachers and this profession.
We are committed to incentivizing retired teachers to come back and work full-time. We are committed to funding programs which attract new teachers to critical shortage areas. We are committed to minimizing unnecessary, burdensome testing; and, to maximize classroom instruction time.
We are committed to starting earlier to provide a better chance of success later in life. Early Learning Collaboratives have seen great outcomes and we will fund them all. Every 4-year old child in Mississippi needs access to high-quality pre-K.
Seeing these commitments through begins next year.
Our small domestic businesses have told us time and time again they need community support and an educated workforce to succeed. We need to listen to them, and give them a seat at the table. They are the backbone of our economy, employing most of our people and delivering most of our services in Mississippi.
Small businesses deserve the same incentives as those offered to multi-billion dollar corporations.
Healthcare in Mississippi has reached a general financial breaking point. Our rural hospitals serve 50 percent of our population and 50 percent of them are at risk of closing. It’s time to consider and evaluate healthcare reform implemented in other states, particularly those proposals with no net impact on budget.
We also must strengthen team-based and collaborative care agreements between physicians, nurses, and nurse practitioners, and fund rural scholarship and residency programs for healthcare professionals at all levels.
And, no Mississippian should be further than thirty (30) minutes away from an emergency room.
Healthcare begins when you wake up. We will renew our commitment to wellness for every citizen.
But, that’s not all. Right now, less than 30 percent of our population has a two or four-year college degree. All Mississippians deserve the opportunity to have a meaningful job paying a living wage.
Graduation day is too late to start discussing employment options with our high school seniors. We must expand career and technical education opportunities in high school. We must increase dual-enrollment in community colleges while are children are in high school. And, to make sure they can afford to go to community colleges, we will start by the State paying a part of tuition for full-time students and for part-time students.
All education leads to employment. Economics will not be a barrier to Mississippi children getting a quality education.
Finally, adequately funding the State’s infrastructure needs is non-negotiable. The legislature made strides by providing MDOT and local governments with revenue last session, but more funding is necessary to ensure our roads and bridges are in good repair, particularly in our counties.
I don’t just talk about being conservative when it’s convenient for me. I am not purple. I am a conservative Republican.
I’ve been endorsed by Governor Bryant, the NRA, Mississippi Right to Life, the Mississippi Manufacturers Association, The Realtors Association, Bully-Bloc, and many other businesses, organizations, and individuals.
And, I don’t just talk about getting things done. I do it.
It is beyond me how you can serve in the legislature for four straight years with so little positive influence. We don’t need that kind of Lieutenant Governor. We need a leader who has a proven record.
We can run State Government better. The budget I requested this year is less than the budget the day I started. By being a good steward of your money, we turned back over $1 million to the State from last year’s budget.
We are fully automated and we answer about 65,000 phone calls a year within 10 seconds with someone who is glad you called. Needless to say, we do not believe you should stand in line a full day to get a driver’s license. That’s not the way we run our agency.
If you liked the way the Secretary of State’s Office is running now, you are going to love the way we will run State government. Every penny we save we will be spent on education, infrastructure, and healthcare.
Some people say you can over promise in an election year. I am here today to tell you—look at my record. I don’t over promise. I over deliver.
We will create a better place for our children and grandchildren to live, work, and raise their families.
And, that’s a promise.
Thank you for your support for Lieutenant Governor. Enjoy the Fair and God bless Mississippi!