Candidate Q&A: House District 119
Special Election 2022
Our public education questionnaire is offered to candidates in legislative elections. A special election will be held on July 19, 2022, to elect a new state representative for House District 119 in Harrison County. Search for candidates’ questionnaire responses below.
1. What is your experience with K-12 public schools, personally and/or with your children or family? My family has a legacy of supporting K-12 public schools. I’m the president of the Gulfport branch of NAACP. We have fundraising events supporting /adopting the North Gulfport K-8 and the 28th Street Elementary School. We also support summer enrichment programs.
2. Do you agree that the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) should be fully funded every year? If yes, what actions will you take to ensure full funding? If no, explain why. The MAEP is the funding mechanism for our state’s public schools. See https://tpcref.org/mississippi-adequate-education-program-maep/ for information. Yes, fully. Public education is significant throughout our entire Magnolia State. MAEP is more important today than ever. A quality safe, fully funded public education and competitive pay is required. COVID has placed many challenges on our public schools. Much funding and legislative work must make this attainable.
3. What will you do to ensure state revenue that is sufficient to provide all of the services Mississippi’s citizens need to lead productive lives? Fully support with my vote and hopefully engage to the ”better angels” of my colleagues to achieve these needed goals.
4. Will you oppose vouchers that send taxpayer dollars to private schools, religious schools, home schools, or virtual schools? Why or why not? Personally, I feel that our current public schools if fully funded can achieve all the goals necessary to advance our state. I received a great public education as well as my son. The system works.
5. Do you agree that all K-12 schools that receive taxpayer dollars, including private voucher schools, should be accountable to taxpayers for the quality of education they provide, using the same accountability measures as public schools? Absolutely! I do not understand why all Legislature members don’t work to improve and advance our current public school system. Education should not be political.
6. Public schools serve the vast majority of Mississippi students with disabilities. Do you agree that special education services in public schools should be fully funded every year? (Special education has been underfunded by the state every year since 2008.) If yes, how will you accomplish full funding? If no, explain why. 100%! Advocate for equal funding and remind all in the decision making process that our current state underfunded education national ranking is unacceptable.
7. Do you agree that Mississippi should provide high quality early childhood education statewide? Again ”YES”! Mississippi has so many opportunities for advancement. Politics should not ever interfere when it comes to children.
8. The nation’s top teachers say that the greatest barriers to school success for K-12 students are family stress, poverty, and learning and psychological problems. What steps do you believe legislators should take to alleviate these obstacles for Mississippi children? Advocate for support services and champion fair pay for those that educate our children. Education can be a rewarding long-term career if we place Educators atop of the food chain. Our state needs these courageous individuals.
9. In the 2022 Legislative Session, a significant teacher pay raise was passed. Do you support continued pay increases to ensure that Mississippi’s teacher salaries keep pace with inflation and salaries in our neighboring states? I personally feel that the Legislature came up short. We have a long road ahead to compete with the national metrics enacted in other states.
10. Do you agree that retired educators (and other retired state employees) should be able to draw their retirement while serving in the Legislature? Yes! Education is a noble profession. An educator can offer much value in the legislative process regarding laws adopted.
11. Legislators have little or no staff to help them understand the many bills they must consider. Before introducing or supporting a bill that could affect public education, will you commit to seeking input from teachers, principals, superintendents, and parents of public school students in your district? Who will be advising you on education policies? It is essential to visit the schools and ask the truthful questions needing answers. Education should be bottom-up in its design for long term success.
12. In the past, legislators have received tremendous pressure from the leaders of their chamber (House or Senate), state and party leaders, and corporate lobbyists, to vote in ways that could contradict the will of their constituents and harm their communities. How would you respond to such pressure? The facts are the facts. Quite often, a statesmen must stand alone when fighting for equality and fairness.