Gov. Reeves calls for higher teacher pay, safer prisons in first State of the State address

Updated: Jan. 27, 2020 at 10:38 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Governor Tate Reeves is offering his ideas on how to tackle the state’s challenges and celebrate its strengths. He delivered his first State of the State address outside the Capitol Monday evening.

Governor Tate Reeves made several calls to action to the legislature and fellow state leaders. The issue most under the microscope and with a newly unveiled decision is corrections, more specifically Parchman.

“I have instructed the Mississippi Department of Corrections to begin the necessary work to start closing Parchman’s most notorious unit—Unit 29," explained Reeves. "There are many logistical questions that will need to be answered—we’re working through that right now. But I have seen enough. We have to turn the page. This is the first step, and I have asked the Department to begin the preparations to make it happen safely, justly, and quickly.”

Reeves added he wants to see the state properly pay and equip corrections officers and the the need to respect the dignity of all within the prison walls.

“All Mississippians must be able to trust that the people in charge of this system are acting with competence to keep them safe,” he said.

On the issue of education, the Governor references having more money coming into the state than ever before. And wants some of that money directed to teachers.

“I want all of you to know that my priority is simple: let’s pay our teachers as much as we can possibly afford," noted Reeves. "Send me a budget that does that, and I’ll stand beside each of you to sign it with joy.”

He also drilled down on his desire to see workforce development as a priority---calling that the state’s greatest challenge but greatest opportunity.

“Better paying jobs—quality jobs—are just around the corner. We just need to invest in the training that our workers need to win them.”

On the issue of healthcare--he issued a call for caution. And noted that many on the left are pushing for expansion “government-run health care.”

“We can protect rural hospitals," Reeves said. "We can protect the people of Mississippi. I am eager to work with each of you to do so. We can and we should do all of this without succumbing to the siren song of big government.”

Other topics of focus were: a commitment to reforming the foster care system, doing away with red tape and government regulations that keep people from doing business in the state and holding the line on education reforms that were put in place in recent years.

Reeves notes that the state faces challenges but believes the state’s best days are ahead of us.

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