Golden Wave Media Gubernatorial issues questionnaire

Hi-Times staff member Paige Moore reached out to the two major candidates for the upcoming gubernatorial election. Prior to this, Moore polled THS Students to find out what issues they found important. Based on the non scientific poll results, she formulated questions for the candidates. Those questions were sent to the candidates, their answers are printed as received above.

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Golden Wave Media Gubernatorial issues questionnaire

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Jim Hood (D-Governor)
1. What are your priorities for public education, specifically for students, throughout the state?

As a product of a Mississippi public school and a father of three of the same, I strongly support public schools, public school teachers, and public school students. We must fully fund our public schools through existing programs, raise the teacher salary to at least the Southeastern average, implement statewide pre-kindergarten, and provide workforce training and tuition assistance to community college students. Lee County and surrounding counties already have a tuition assistance program, and I would like to mirror that model statewide. It would be huge for our students who want to learn skills to build a career in instead of pursuing a four-year degree.

2. How would you raise student involvement in state government if elected?

Young people are important to our state, and, unfortunately, we’re losing more of them to other states than any other state in the country. We can help shape Mississippi’s next generation of leaders by having more students involved in state government. If elected governor, I’d like to have several days where students in Mississippi schools can shadow the governor and see what it’s like to lead our great state.

3. What are your views on the increasing number of Mississippi teenagers using electronic cigarette devices such as JUULS and other vaping devices? Do you have any plans for legislation on the topic?

I introduced legislation last session that would have regulated vaping products to protect our young people. Unfortunately, those bills didn’t pass through the legislative process. I will continue to push for regulations of these products. Many people were misled to think that vaping was a safe alternative to cigarettes, but the truth is we don’t know what kinds of concoctions are brewed up in these unregulated stores mixing these chemicals. I want parents to know what their kids are doing, because it’s incredibly easy to hide these devices, and many teenagers don’t even know how dangerous it is to their health. One JUUL pod has just as much nicotine in it as an entire pack of combustible cigarettes.

4. How would you ensure mental health awareness and treatment for students and children?

Mental health is an issue of which I am very passionate. Last year, my office launched an app specifically for teenagers that gives them local resources if they are struggling with depression, bullying, addiction, anxiety, and a host of other issues. I know kids won’t go look at our office’s website for brochures that we have on these topics, so we decided an app like this would be a better way to reach them. I hope kids who don’t feel comfortable talking to someone in person about their problems will be able to use this as a first step, recognize their problem, and find a way to address it. Additionally, with the expansion of healthcare, which is something I strongly support, Mississippians will have better access to mental health services and treatment. Getting these resources into schools would be a huge benefit for students and children, who face more today than other generations.

5. What will you do to ensure accessible educational opportunities for immigrant students in Mississippi?

When we truly invest in public education by fully funding our public schools, every child in the public school system will have access to quality educational opportunities.

Tate Reeves (R-Governor)

1. What are your priorities for public education, specifically for students, throughout the state?

We recently announced a robust new plan for public education in Mississippi that would raise teacher pay, double the teacher supply fund, give national board-certified teachers the highest supplement in the country, and more. I believe we must invest in education, and focus on student outcomes—not bureaucracy.

2. How would you raise student involvement in state government if elected?

Our students are the future of our state, and the quicker we can get them involved in our political processes, the better off Mississippi will be. I am committed to increasing student involvement in every area of our government, and encourage students of all ages and backgrounds to get involved however they can to better understand and positively influence our state government.

3. What are your views on the increasing number of Mississippi teenagers using electronic cigarette devices such as JUULS and other vaping devices? Do you have any plans for legislation on the topic?

I support President Trump and his efforts to keep these vaping products out of the hands of children. I am opposed to marketing these products, such as flavored vapes, to underage users. It’s an issue that deserves more study to ensure that we respect everyone’s individual rights while making sure that children aren’t targeted.

4. How would you ensure mental health awareness and treatment for students and children?

Mental health is a huge issue in Mississippi, and it is one that I will prioritize as Governor. For the best possible results, intervention should begin early, and I would support programs that encourage mental health counselors in our state’s schools to identify mental illnesses and develop a plan of action. We can better serve those with mental health challenges and their families by recognizing issues as early as possible.

5. What will you do to ensure accessible educational opportunities for immigrant students in Mississippi?

Did not provide an answer.

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