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Gov. Reeves blasts critical race theory, touts education improvements in State of the State address

Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 3:58 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 25, 2022 at 5:22 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves delivered his State of the State address on Tuesday.

He started by speaking about how strong a position he believes Mississippi to be in.

“I can still stand before you tonight and declare, without reservation, and without qualification, that the state of our state is not only strong, but stronger than it has ever been,” he said.

He thanked educators and claimed Mississippi’s schools have made a “turnaround of historic proportions.”

He touted a graduation rate at 87.7 percent and an increase of students completing career and technical courses.

“For decades we were at the bottom, but now we are not. It takes time to go from last to first. But Mississippi kids are on the move, and it is revitalizing our state’s future.”

He also addressed critical race theory, an issue that has been a hot topic among legislators this month.

“Today, I am calling on the State Board of Education to adopt the values that combat critical race theory in their educational efforts. To affirm that Mississippi’s public educators will not indoctrinate students in ideology that insists this country, or this state, are inherently racist. We will not teach that your race determines your status as a victim or oppressor. No school district shall teach that one race is inherently superior or that an individual is unconsciously or inherently racist because of how they are born. No child will be divided or humiliated because of their race. We will strive for equality, and our education will support that aspiration.”

He went on to say Mississippi is in the best financial shape in its history.

He credits Mississippi’s quickness to end pandemic unemployment benefits and says claims in November were at their lowest point since 2018.

“I said in my first address, upon taking this office, that at the end of my time as governor we will measure our success in the wages of our workers. We don’t just want people to have any job. We want them to have a career. A family-supporting career that gives them not just a paycheck, but joy.”

Reeves says for Mississippi to grow, it must attract more economic activity. He pointed to infrastructure as the first issue to address this.

“We have a historic opportunity to invest in our core infrastructure – to take nearly $2 billion of federal money and put it into real, transformative projects.”

He renewed his push to eliminate the income tax.

“By eliminating the income tax, we can put ourselves in a position to stand out. We can win those projects. We can throw out the welcome mat for the dreamers and the visionaries. We can have more money circulating in our economy. And it can lead to more wealth for all Mississippians.”

He wants entrepreneurs to bring their business to Mississippi rather than taking it to other states.

On the issue of COVID-19, he said while we mourn the loss of Mississippians to the virus, “we also cannot lock ourselves away behind screens and live in feat.”

“We choose to protect ourselves as we see fit. We choose to reject panic and embrace a life worth living.”

This led to his pro-life stance on abortion:

“I have been proud to push for laws that restrict abortion and protect innocent life. But I do not pretend that those laws mean the work for life is done.”

In regard to problems within Mississippi Department of Corrections, he noted “incredible progress” under Commissioner Burl Cain.

“If we want to break the cycle of recidivism, we must invest in a cycle of education and learning. That’s why in my most recent Executive Budget Recommendation, I proposed allocating $2 million for re-entry programs geared toward Mississippians who will be eligible for parole within six months. Additionally, I’ve proposed funding to expand the work release pilot program – that has already shown so much promise – to each of Mississippi’s 82 counties.”

He called for a fix to crime in Jackson and says he wants to double the size of the Capitol Police.

“We also know that alone is not enough. Capturing violent criminals does nothing if our justice system puts them right back on the streets. I am eager to work with the legislature to develop resources for targeted prosecution and conviction of violent felons here. Catch and release has caused nothing but record crime and chaos. All of us can agree on that. We need to find those who are leading the efforts to flood our capital with illegal drugs and guns—and put them behind bars where they belong.”

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