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Lt. Governor candidate visits Picayune

Better education, insurance, jobs and the need for affordable health care were topics lieutenant governor candidate Jamie Franks discussed during his visit to Picayune Tuesday.
After making several stops around town, he met with the Picayune Item at the Picayune school district office during his reception. In a recording made of his speech at the Neshoba County Fair he addressed his anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage and anti-gay adoption views.
Franks is married to an educator and put himself through college by forming his own lawn cutting business. The candidate said those experiences have helped him to form one of his top political stances, the need for better education. He said better funding for education should be done year round, not just during election years.
Economic development is important to help create jobs for Mississippi residents, Franks said. He said he helped to bring Toyota to his home county of Itawamba, but says that local and small businesses are just as important to provide jobs and keep the graduating youth at home.
“I’m sick and tired of our brightest and best leaving to get a job,” Franks said.
Better, more affordable education should be available at all levels, including community and junior colleges and universities, Franks said.
“Education and economic development go hand in hand,” Franks said in the recording.
With the failure of the tax break on groceries recently Franks said he will work to cut food tax in half by raising the tax on cigarettes by $1.
“It’s appalling to have the highest sales tax on groceries in this union when we live in the poorest state in the union,” Franks said in the recording.
Health care and insurance coverage of all kinds are also hot topics that Franks said he will tackle if elected. He noted that the Senate cut about 65,000 elderly people from Medicaid and that about one third of the population does not have heath care coverage. His plan is to make health care affordable for everyone and increase insurance coverage for homeowners. Franks said he is concerned that people on the Gulf Coast can not rebuild their homes due to the high cost of insurance coverage. To alleviate that problem Franks said bringing in more competition for the insurance companies will in turn bring in more competitive rates. He said he will work to make sure the next insurance commissioner is not in the pocket of the big insurance companies.
“We need to make sure he or she is pro consumer,” Franks said.