Vote the issues, not the parties

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Do you study the issues or just blindly vote a political party?  If the citizens of Pearl River county and Mississippi are truly independent in their selection of candidates, then we ask you to study the issues. Democrats advocate fully funding education, improving our infrastructure, returning integrity to our political system and adequate access to healthcare through acceptance of Federal funds for the benefit of our rural hospitals as well as our citizens.

Education and its funding are at the forefront of this election.  The Mississippi legislature and Governor Bryant have refused to follow the law and fully fund our public schools for their tenure in office. Lack of funds forces school districts to request a millage increase to fill gaps in their budgets to prevent losing teachers or increasing class sizes.  That request results in higher property taxes for all of us. Many districts have reached their limit forcing painful cuts in programs like music, the arts, and gifted studies.  This begs the question – why don’t our state officials care about our children?

The next issue to consider is our infrastructure. Mississippi has one of the highest percentages of substandard bridges in the country. That’s one of those lists we place at the top. This issue is rarely addressed. Highway funds are used around the state for building access ramps to subdivision or shopping centers as in D’Iberville.  There is an argument that this was needed to ease congestion and spur economic growth, but at what cost?  In the same county, a major connecting road was closed for many months during the school year because the bridge was in danger of collapsing.  Again, why isn’t our current elected officials’ priority protecting the public over corporate interests?

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Now let’s move on to integrity.  Because most of us watch television out of New Orleans, some may not realize how widespread corruption is in Mississippi.  This is another list we scored #1 for two years running.  Department of Marine Resources broke first with several top officials now in jail for profiting on funds designed to protect our Gulf waters for safe use by our citizens.  Instead they were purchasing luxury yachts for parties and entertaining among other things.  The Department of Corrections fiasco was next.  No bid contract to “friends” and kickbacks resulted in lavish homes, condos, and luxury cars for at least one of the participants.  Both of these investigations are ongoing so we will hear more.  The very popular Chancellor of Ole Miss was fired for remarks he made about refusal to accept federal funds harming the University Medical Center.  Apparently the governor feels telling the truth should be punished.  Lastly, did you know the legislature voted to give Gulfport $25 million to build an aquarium?  How many teachers, textbooks, computers and/or reading coaches could school districts buy with that money?

Finally, we revisit Healthcare.  We have presented this point many times so we will just summarize here. Rural hospitals would not be forced to close because they would receive their reimbursement for treating the uninsured. Over a hundred thousand of our working poor could finally receive healthcare.  These are waitresses and part-time workers who regularly depend on the emergency room for healthcare and are creating (through no fault of their own,) the pressure on the rural hospitals.  Those who struggle to pay their health insurance premiums could have access to a Mississippi Exchange with subsidies to reduce the payments and sometimes the deductible.  The exchange as created by Republican Insurance Commissioner Chaney and refused by Gov. Bryant would create a competition among more than two providers.  It would provide choices and better premiums

With 42 percent of Pearl River citizens dependant on some kind of assistance, isn’t it time to look at issues that affect your lives and the lives and future of your children? Visit our Facebook pages at Pearl River County Democrats and Picayune Democrats. We also have a website at

The Democratic Party is for justice and opportunity – with no exception – for everyone.

By Agnes Dalton.