The 2018 legislative session begins tomorrow and the weather is not cooperating. As I write this on New Year’s Day sitting in my hotel room in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico it’s a sunny 81 degrees and I’m looking out at the Caribbean Sea. I’ll be honest, I’m not looking forward to facing the 24 degree weather in Jackson tomorrow. But I am looking forward to another year of working to make positive changes for our state.
Over the past couple of years our state has made some great strides forward and I believe we are set to see even more positive changes. Education is always a major issue during every legislative session, the Education Committee handles more bills than any other committee. I suspect this year will not be any different from others and the task of sifting through all the ideas will be daunting. The education committee will be working with a new leader in 2018, who that will be has not yet been announce but as a member of that committee I anxiously await that announcement so we can begin our work.
A major issue facing the education committee this year will be legislation that changes how our state distributes state funds to school systems. The current funding formula has never been accurately followed by any legislature because it was designed to meet political purposes (grandstanding by politicians) and not designed to be a sustainable way to fund education. The new formula must be sustainable and fairly distribute state funds across the state to give our children the best education we can afford. As the session progresses hopefully the new formula will accomplish these goals and will be something I can support.
Another major issue facing the education committee this year will be finding ways to give parents more options for the education of their children. Some of our least successful school districts who have failed in their attempts at providing adequate education to their students have trapped children in failing school systems. This failure must change and allowing parents to choose better schools will help these children.
The opioid Crisis is another important issue that must be dealt with during the 2018 legislative session. I’ve spend a lot of time this past summer reading and learning about how this problem started and how we can best address this issue. As many issues we face there is never a simple solution but that doesn’t make finding a solution any less important.
While there is plenty of blame to go around over how we’ve found ourselves in this situation my commitment is to finding a real solution and not one that is politically convenient. So may times the solution that government designs does more to help politicians than to solve problems. The failure of government is partially why we are facing this crisis so we must be careful that the government solution does not drive us deeper into the problem.
As we move forward this session there will be many issues we face, my promise and commitment to you is to adhere to the basic principles of conservative policy and to my guiding principles which include;
Protecting the personal liberty and freedom of our citizens is the primary role of government. Government does not exist to create liberties, but to protect those that were granted to us by God. These liberties have been defined in the constitution of the United States, the constitution of Mississippi, and within the Word of God. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness is a God-given right that must be protected and cherished.
Government by nature grows stronger, left unchecked it erodes the freedoms of its people, therefore we must be constantly vigilant to control the growth of government and make efforts to reduce its size. Governmental authority should be concentrated at the lowest level possible because local government is the most responsive to the people.
Taxation should be restricted to the lowest possible level that allows government to accomplish its purpose of protecting individual liberties and freedoms. Government does not exist to provide charity, recreation, or to redistribute wealth. Individuals, not government, are best equipped to spend their money, promote economic growth within the community, and help others less fortunate.
Our nation and our state depends on its people and its leaders adhering to the values given to us by God. The freedom to worship God and to raise a family is key to our existence. All decisions such as education, medical treatment or discipline are reserved for the parents not government. Government must not interfere with the parent’s decisions as they rear their children in the nurture and admonition of God.
Government only works when you stay involved. Do not trust any elected official to represent you without supervision. That includes me. The forces in politics that work against freedom and liberty are great. Please contact me with your opinions, your critiques and your criticisms. Elected officials are a dime a dozen, you are the invaluable and irreplaceable element that makes our government work.