Hosemann spoke at the 2021 Neshoba County Fair.
Hosemann provided remarks from his speech which are listed below:
“Good morning! It is great to be back at the Neshoba County Fair! A welcome home. We all missed each other, and Lynn and I are so glad to be back. We do not even care how hot it is.
We came in last year and had to face the devastation of a historic number of floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes.
Then the COVID pandemic reached Mississippi, and everything changed. Our hospitals filled up and our economy came to a grinding halt while we all took steps to protect our families and neighbors.
Even in the face of COVID, we continued to work every day on the agenda you elected us to execute: jobs, education, healthcare, infrastructure, and right-sizing state government.
Thanks to your support, and the work of your Senators and Representatives, we elevated workforce training efforts. We shrunk the bureaucratic board overseeing workforce training from 41 to seven key people, hired a “czar” to track and consolidate our efforts, and began evaluating current programs for outcomes.
If a program is not performing, we do not need to spend taxpayer money on it.
And every Mississippian deserves access to quality training so they can secure a meaningful job and provide an economic future for their family.
We brought the Mississippi Senate to your living room.
You have a right to know what happens inside your State Capitol. Now, all of our sessions, redistricting hearings, and committee meetings are webcasted and archived so citizens can view them at any time.
We increased capacity at our hospitals. When the pandemic raged, our hospitals were Ground Zero for the sick and dying. Our healthcare workers, at great personal risk, have taken care of us tirelessly without complaint. This is their finest hour.
We recognized the major role our hospitals have played and provided millions of dollars in additional funding for personal protective equipment and increased ICU-bed capacity. All of which is being used today.
We protected the integrity of our roads and bridges. We worked with our farmers and loggers, two of Mississippi’s most important industries, to increase weight limits for harvest permits to a reasonable amount while simultaneously increasing penalties for overweight trucks and providing additional funding for our county roads and bridges.
We instituted a statewide one-to-one technology plan for all schoolchildren. Mississippi is the first state in the nation to institute a statewide rollout of computers and tablets for all K-12 students. Over $150 million was set aside by the Legislature to provide our children with first-rate technology—and teach them how to use it.
The greatest asset we have is a child’s brain.
We made broadband more accessible. Growing Mississippi’s economy requires connectivity to the wider world. We cannot achieve this without reliable, high-speed Internet access. Our match program with our state co-operatives will connect 50,000 new homes in two years, and our other legislation opened up public utility fiber in some of our most rural areas.
Our goal is to reach the last mile down the gravel road in every neighborhood.
Here is where we are going in the year ahead:
We are working on getting our fellow Mississippians back to work. Our labor force participation rate still sits at 56 percent—the second lowest in the nation and not improving with the pandemic shutdown. Raising it immediately depends on moving unemployed adults back into the workforce.
We are committed to investing in high-quality training programs, offered through our high schools and community colleges, which end in a meaningful job. We need to begin this training with our high school students before graduation day. With more dual enrollment and career and technical opportunities, we will continue to push training down into our high schools.
Less than 30 percent of our population has a two- or four-year college degree — but all Mississippians deserve opportunities for a meaningful economic life.
Small to medium businesses are our target for most of Mississippi to grow and our business incentives should encourage those businesses. We will pass again, as we did last year in the Senate, the MFlex program.
This is a common sense, performance-based formula for tax incentives for small and medium businesses developed by your local economic developers to grow and diversify your local economy.
We are working on making healthcare more accessible and affordable in Mississippi.
The time for simply saying “no” to our options for working Mississippians has passed. When a cancer diagnosis can bankrupt a family, we have a responsibility to help. Further, no Mississippian should be further than 30 minutes from an emergency room.
This fall, the Senate will hold hearings and dig deeper into the delivery of healthcare in our State. From managed care, to scope of practice issues, to insurance options, everything is on the table.
When our working Mississippians are healthy, they are holding down jobs, contributing to their communities, and supporting their families. We should treat our neighbors as ourselves.
We are working on ensuring every child in Mississippi has access to a high-quality education. Teachers are helping grow the next generation of Mississippians. The Senate has supported pay raises both years I have been in office, and this year, we will take a wholesale look at the current salary schedule.
We will again redouble our investment in early childhood education, which is the basis for our children’s future.
If the pandemic proved anything, it is our children want and need to be back in our classrooms in front of a dedicated teacher. Every school needs to open in-person this fall.
We are working on putting more of your hard-earned money back into your pockets.
We ended the fiscal year more than $1 billion over estimated revenues. It is unclear whether this surge is here to stay but know this: growing government is a nonstarter.
The Senate will hold hearings before the year concludes on comprehensive tax reform, and we have invited the House to join us. All of the hearings will be webcasted because we want you to be a part of the process. It is your money.
We are working to put the money sent to us by the federal government to the best use.
We did not ask for $1.8 billion in pandemic relief. I, like you, have major concerns about how printing money in Washington will impact our children’s futures.
We are asking our cities and counties to come to us with well-planned, sensible projects in water, sewer, and other infrastructure upgrades. We do not need to invest these funds for one or two years, but for one or two generations.
We are working on the items you told us you cared about, including implementing a responsible medical marijuana program and reinstituting the initiative process.
The Senate passed a back-up to Initiative 65, but our efforts ultimately failed in the House. When the Supreme Court struck the law down, we immediately began holding hearings and drafting legislation. We intend to pass a medicinal marijuana bill and return the initiative process to the people.
I have experienced COVID and received the vaccine. It reminded me how blessed I am to live and work in Mississippi and I look forward to working for each one of you.
Thank you for your support. Enjoy the Fair and God bless Mississippi!”
About the Author(s)
Sarah is a Mississippi native, born and raised in Madison. She is a graduate of Mississippi State University, where she studied Communications, with an emphasis in Broadcasting and Journalism. Sarah’s experience spans multiple mediums, including extensive videography with both at home and overseas, broadcasting daily news, and hosting a live radio show. In 2017, Sarah became a member of the Capitol Press Corp in Mississippi and has faithfully covered the decisions being made by leaders on some of the most important issues facing our state. Email Sarah: email@example.com
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