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State Rep. Criswell takes issue with...

State Rep. Criswell takes issue with fellow Republicans during 2021 legislative session

By: Frank Corder - April 5, 2021

State Representative Dana Criswell says the failures by the Mississippi Legislature seem larger than the wins during the 2021 legislative session.

In an email release over the weekend, the DeSoto County Republican highlighted what he saw as some of the positive pieces of legislation to survive this session, including the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act, loosening the ability to purchase pseudoephedrine from pharmacies without a prescription, providing for a Veteran Driver’s License Designation, and the Mississippi Fairness Act, requiring schools to designate sports teams based on biological sex.

But Criswell says he is saddened to report that the failures seem larger than the wins this year.

“This is particularly disheartening when we consider the fact that we have a super-majority of Republicans in the legislature and throughout state government,” Criswell wrote. “It’s disappointing when Republican leadership bow to liberal ideology instead of standing up for the principles of the people who elected them.”

One “huge failure” Criswell points out was the gun bill that Rep. Shane Barnett proposed. The state representative said that bill would have made positive changes and advanced the rights of Mississippi citizens.

“Unfortunately, leadership bowed to the will of The Mississippi Institute of Higher Learning (IHL),” Criswell stated. “IHL proved themselves to be the most liberal anti-freedom, anti-gun agency in our state. Legislative leadership was more concerned about their season tickets to football games than the freedom of our citizens.”

Criswell went on to say that IHL also opposed a resolution to affirm the state’s commitment to the Bill of Rights.

“If the leadership of our universities and colleges refuse to affirm their commitment to our US Constitution and our Bill of Rights, we are in deep trouble,” Criswell said. “I am glad that none of my children are immersed in the liberal ideology of our state universities and colleges.”

Criswell then went further, expressing his disappointment with Republicans “who profess to believe in lower taxes and less government do everything in their power to increase government spending and take as much money as possible from the people of Mississippi.”

He said that in a year where the federal government sent the state of Mississippi almost $3.5 billion, the state government refused to even consider reducing the tax burden on the citizens.

“We saw the budget balloon with over 4% increases across the board, and an increase in our state debt of almost half a billion dollars,” Criswell said, adding, “The fact is, in 2021 the Mississippi legislature spent your money on pet project, increases in salaries, and general mis-spending like drunken sailors after six months at sea.”

Criswell closed his email by saying he regretted that he did not have a “more positive report to bring the people of Mississippi regarding your 2021 legislature.”

“I find the Mississippi legislature to be largely unresponsive to the people who elected them, unwilling to adhere to the principles and values of the Republican party on which they campaigned, and generally concerned only about their personal gain and re-election,” the state representative wrote in summary.

About the Author(s)
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Frank Corder

Frank Corder is a native of Pascagoula. For nearly two decades, he has reported and offered analysis on government, public policy, business and matters of faith. Frank’s interviews, articles, and columns have been shared throughout Mississippi as well as in national publications such as the Daily Caller. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, providing insight and commentary on the inner workings of the Magnolia State. Frank has served his community in both elected and appointed public office, hosted his own local radio and television programs, and managed private businesses all while being an engaged husband and father. Email Frank: