Legislative agendas

Published 7:00 am Friday, June 9, 2017

After a large number of Pearl River County residents put forth their names last year in the special election to fill Mississippi House of Representatives District 106 seat, I was surprised Monday to only see three names on this year’s list.

Mark Formby represented District 108 for over two decades and became a stable figure in the community and in Jackson. Whoever is elected to fill his seat will have some reputable shoes to fill. During the previous special election, many of the candidates discussed term limits.

Essentially, imposing a two or three term limit is a way to introduce fresh ideas into the political arena. But it’s also a way of saying “move up the ladder or get out.”

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With the complex legislative and budget system in our state there are some potential negatives to instating term limits. Some people say that officials could be booted out of office just when they are starting to get things done.

Yet, maybe that’s just an indication of another problem.

One thing I’ve noticed about the state legislature is a central concept of business. Candidates often say that if they can successfully run a business then they can successfully work in state government. But I don’t necessarily agree that the state government should be run like a business.

The state shouldn’t set out to make a profit, its employees shouldn’t set out to make a large salary and its people shouldn’t be treated like numbers on a page.

Sure, a budget is a budget and a state absolutely has to stick to that, just like any other governmental entity.

But governing is about more than facts and figures; it’s about inspiring your constituents to do better, make better and be better in their own communities so that a cycle of support can truly function.

If “common sense bills” like animal rights or safety regulations can’t get past the brick wall of our partisan state legislature, then how are we ever going to effect real change that would improve the lives of all Mississippians?

About Julia Arenstam

Staff Writer

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