House of Representatives District 91: 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? Four sons who attended public schools from K-12.
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. Will continue to support the issue and bring it to the fore in House debate about school funding, however little that will do to convince Republicans.
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? Continue to vote against tax breaks for those, like Walmart and Amazon, who are worth hundreds of millions and even billions of dollars.
4. Will you oppose vouchers that send taxpayer dollars to private schools, religious schools, home schools, or virtual schools? Why or why not? Yes. If you want your child to go to private school, that’s your choice. But you STILL are responsible for helping pay for public schools which are a boon to the state’s citizens as a whole.
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? Certainly.
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. I’ll continue to try to make sure that education funding, including, certainly, that for special education, is high enough on the priority lists that full funding can be accomplished before the available monies are depleted for other things.
7. Do you agree that Mississippi should provide high quality early childhood education statewide? Certainly.
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? Meaningful increase in state’s minimum wage, more financial and other economic assistance for those who need it, pre-K funding and adequate funding for the state’s mental health facilities.
9. Do you support raising teacher salaries at least to the level of our neighboring states and raising pay for teacher assistants? Certainly.
10. Do you agree that retired educators (and other retired state employees) should be able to draw their retirement while serving in the Legislature? Certainly.
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? As best I can from those whose opinions I trust.
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? I feel no such pressure. It’s simple for me. Vote for what’s right regardless of who or what is for it or against it and regardless of whether it will assist or harm my re-election chances.