Golden Wave Media Lieutenant Governor issues questionnaire

The Hi-Times staff member Paige Moore reached out to the two major candidates for the upcoming Lieutenant Governor 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 below.

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Golden Wave Media Lieutenant Governor issues questionnaire

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Delbert Hosemann (R-Lieutenant Governor)

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

In terms of teachers, my major platform points consist of raising teacher pay to be competitive with neighboring states and finding ways to incentivize retired teachers to return to the classroom to end the teacher shortage. We also need to show our public school teachers respect and listen to them when formulating policy. By supporting our teachers, we support students across the State. We also support making sure every 4-year-old child has access to a pre-K program by funding more Early Learning Collaboratives, fully funding special education services (which would increase funds dedicated to MAEP), and focusing on standardizing dual-credit and career and technical opportunities for high school students.

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

As Secretary of State, I have worked to increase civic engagement among students at all levels through our Promote the Vote program. I have also worked with our college students to support voter registration drives and other events aimed at increasing participation in our elections. I will continue to support these programs as Lieutenant Governor.

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 have not formulated an opinion on this issue, but continue to study it in light of recent reports. Improving accessibility and affordability of healthcare is one of my platform priorities. This includes wellness and preventative care, including encouraging our young people and all citizens to make healthy decisions.

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

We need a wholesale evaluation of our mental health system, from access to treatment to the effectiveness of community mental health centers and inpatient facilities. I have proposed most state agencies, not including Mental Health and Education and a few other exclusions, find 1 percent in savings. Funds raised will go toward a position realignment raise for all State employees, including our mental health workers who are woefully under compensated. Expanding access to pre-K is also important, along with staffing our schools with support personnel, like counselors. The earlier we can start our children in quality educational programs, the more likely they are to receive access to care.

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

Our public education platform is aimed at ensuring every child in a Mississippi school receives a quality education. As previously discussed, we need to start earlier and we need to provide more career and technical opportunities for students. To accomplish this, we need to support our teachers and make sure money appropriated by the State makes it to our classrooms.

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

The most important thing is to truly make public education the highest priority for the state, in reality, not just hollow promises. Along with that, we should spend less time on standardized testing and more on letting teachers decide what and how to teach to get their students to where they need to be. All classroom funding should be used for classrooms, and teacher pay and incentives needs to happen immediately so we don’t continue to lose our best and brightest. Educational resources should be the same in all districts, particularly if the students are going to the held accountable to the same tests. Last, I would like to end the End of Course exams and replace them with the ACT and Work Keys.

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

My plan is to have an Education Advisory Panel which will evaluate all K-12 education bills being considered by the Senate. Students would be on that panel, along with parents, current and former teachers, principals and superintendents.

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 do not believe that students under 18 should be able to use these devices, just as with cigarettes.

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

This is a major issue for me. With proper education funding getting to a level and where the funds should be, we need to have counselors available in every school, and that they actually have the time and training to provide counseling, instead of just paper work. We also need to have at least one psychologist per district to help in very real evaluation, counseling and referral for students that are struggling with mental illness and/or addiction.

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

The MAEP funding formula should be revised to incorporate ELL as a component of the formula.

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