House of Representatives District 33: Candidate Q&A
Candidates for this office were offered a questionnaire on education issues by The Parents’ Campaign. See below for responses received to date.
1. What is your experience with K-12 public schools, personally and/or with your children or family? My wife is a retired public school teacher and my father was a public school teacher until his death.
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. Yes, support measures to adequately fund education and the necessary revenues required.
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? Support measures necessary to fund our basic state needs. Education is of paramount importance.
4. Will you oppose vouchers that send taxpayer dollars to private schools, religious schools, home schools, or virtual schools? Why or why not? Yes, public school funding is not up to the level needed so it is not good to deprive these schools of much needed funding for the sake of private vouchers.
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? Yes
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. Yes, make funding of our schools the first item addressed in the Session.
7. Do you agree that Mississippi should provide high quality early childhood education statewide? Yes
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? We need to make pre-k education available throughout our state on an urgent basis.
9. Do you support raising teacher salaries at least to the level of our neighboring states and raising pay for teacher assistants? Yes
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
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? My wife as a retired school teacher is always helpful on k-12 issues. I will and do seek broad input from all my constituents on education issues.
12. Legislators receive tremendous pressure from the leaders of their chamber (House or Senate), state and party leaders, and corporate lobbyists, to vote in ways that may contradict the will of their constituents and harm their communities. How will you respond to this pressure? Try to put the people’s interests first by considering the long term effects of issues presented. We do not live in a perfect world and the choices presented are not always as we would like, but I will strive to continue to support public education as I have tried to do for the past 40 years. Probably the highlight of my legislative service was helping to pass the Education Reform Act of 1982. We must keep the promises for the future we made in that Act if our state is to truly progress as it should.