Why does Pearl River County vote Republican?

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Agnes Dalton is Chair of the Pearl River County Democratic Executive Committee.

Wages in our county are some of the lowest in the state.  Since most of our revenue comes from service industries like fast-food restaurants and big box retailers, our workers earn at or just above the minimum wage of $7.25. Over 47% of our citizens depend upon assistance of some kind.  With statistics like these, Pearl River County should be a blue (Democratic) county but tends to be one of the reddest.

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The Democratic Party has identified four issues that will assist those living on the edge of disaster to improve their situation.  We have discussed them previously but we feel they can never be repeated enough.  First, the minimum wage must be increased.  The Democrats feel like $10.10 an hour will lift many people out of desperate situations and remove many from the so-called “entitlements.” We hear how it will cost jobs or cause prices to go up. When President Nixon proposed a raise in minimum wage during his Republican Presidency, no such argument was proposed and the measure passed overwhelmingly. There is no economic evidence to support the loss of jobs.

In the same vein, there should be equal pay for equal work. In Mississippi, women earn 30% less than men for the exact same job. They are also faced with having to choose between children and career. The U.S. is the only developed country that does not provide resources for both men and women so that both can contribute to the rearing of children or the care of an aging parent without fear of losing their job.

The third issue hit close to home recently with the announcement of lay-offs at the Pearl River County Hospital and Nursing Home. Our state can prevent the financial difficulties experienced by many of our rural hospitals by accepting the millions of Federal Funds offered to offset the loss of revenue by these hospitals that must by law treat uninsured patients. If our state can accept 45% of its budget from the federal government for other projects, why can’t it accept the federal funds available through ACA to assist the most vulnerable citizens and its rural hospitals?

Finally, Mississippi must fully fund education. Our school’s budgets have not been fully funded since Democratic Governor Musgrove’s term in office over 12 years ago. Funding K-12 is one criteria used to rate the performance of a school system. Our teachers and Democratic caucus in the Legislature had to fight to get a long overdue pay raise without strings attached. Through compromise with the Republican majority, a much smaller raise was passed with merit pay in the future but benchmarks removed.

We challenge Pearl River County residents to take a look at our issues objectively and see how they would affect your situation. Go to our web site http://prcdec.wix.com/prcdec and learn more about us and what we do in Pearl River County.