State GOP Needs to Get Real: Wyatt Emmerich

Published in the Picayune Item on 6/21/2013 See Link of Emmerich’s Op Ed

We lost. We lost in the U. S. Senate. We lost in the U. S. House of Representatives. President Obama signed the legislation into law.Republican candidate Mitt Romney made the repealing of Obamacare a centerpiece of his campaign. We lost yet again. It is time our state Republican leaders acknowledge reality and begin making plans for the accommodation of Obamacare. To do otherwise would be irresponsible.

No doubt, Philip Gunn, Tate Reeves and Phil Bryant don’t want to taint their conservative credentials, but sometimes you have to be a statesman and not just a politician. A billion dollars is a lot of money to turn away on principle. Make no mistake: Turning down the billion dollars will not save Mississippians one penny in federal taxes. We’ve already paid the money to the IRS. The only question is whether we will let the feds send a billion of that money back to Mississippi to help working families afford health care.

The Republicans don’t seem to have any problem giving special tax breaks to mega corporations. So much for free market principles. So here we are. Mississippi, which represents one percent of the nation, is going to stand up to the United States of America and refuse to implement The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Haven’t we seen this show before? Don’t we know how it ends?

If I were dictator, our nation would have an excellent network of charity clinics and hospitals for the poor and the rest of the health care industry would be completely based on the free market. But it is not so and no amount of wishing otherwise will change this one bit. Can somebody please explain this to our governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the house? It’s called the Sixteenth Amendment, allowing for a federal income tax. It was passed in 1913. Two-thirds majority of both the U. S. House and Senate voted for it. Then three-fourths of our state legislatures ratified it, including Mississippi. Finally, President William Taft, a Republican, signed the amendment into law.

The income tax gives the federal government the right to take our money. End of story. They don’t have to give it back. That’s real power.If we don’t like it, we have only one other option. That didn’t end well either. Mississippi lost 6,807 men in the Civil War, including my great great great grandfather Rob Robson. The opponents of Obamacare warn that it’s a fool’s game of bait and switch. They argue that the federal government will be broke soon and Mississippi will have to one day foot the bill. Please. The United States is the richest, most powerful country in the world and it prints the world currency.

It is not going broke. And even if it does, why not take the billion dollars a year while it lasts. Think about it. If someone offered you a billion dollars a year for three years, would you turn it down because they might not give you a full billion dollars in the fourth year? Of course not. You’d take the money while it lasted. This is not rocket science. This billion dollars would have a huge effect on the growth and prosperity of Mississippi. This money would fund hospitals, clinics, physicians and the entire health care industry in our state. In many Mississippi towns, the hospital is the biggest employer.

Mississippi’s Republican leaders think nothing of giving millions to mega corporations in the name of job creation, yet they turn down a billion dollar economic windfall for our medical industry. There is now an alternative to a simple expansion of Medicaid and further federal intrusion. Mississippi Democrats recently held a press conference at the state capitol announcing they would agree to use the federal money to subsidize private medical insurance. All the details have not been worked out, but the feds are actively working with several states to implement this alternative. Working families would get federal subsidies to buy private health insurance.

This is a real compromise. The state’s Democrats have shown a way to resolve this stalemate. So far, the response from our Republican leadership is nothing but dead silence

Willis Takes House 95 Race in South Mississippi

By: Michael Newsom, Sun Herald

Unofficial results show Patricia Willis won the state House of Representatives District 95 special election Tuesday with 52.4 percent of the vote.

Willis, 60, an attorney and Waveland city prosecutor from Diamondhead, got 1,011 of the 1,928 ballots cast in the special election for the district, which covers Diamondhead and parts of Harrison and Hancock counties. She bested Grant Bower, Tommy Ballard and Sherri Carr Bevis.

“I’m delighted and I can’t wait to get to work,” Willis told the Sun Herald. “I couldn’t have done it without all the people behind me who got me to where I am.”

Willis avoided a runoff in the election by getting more than 50 percent of the total vote in the two counties. Bevis had 740 votes, or 38 percent, Ballard had 64 votes, or 3.3 percent, and Bower had 113 votes, or 5.7 percent.

Of the four candidates, Willis had a substantial ad

vantage in money. She raised some $47,400, which included $25,000 from herself, to Bevis’ $13,785 and Ballard’s $1,795. Bower had reported no campaign contributions.

Party affiliations don’t appear on the ballot during special elections.

Candidates had told the Sun Herald they were worried about turnout in the election, which fell between a municipal runoff and a general election. Harrison County reported a turnout of only 3.3 percent, with only 413 ballots cast out of 12,574 eligible voters in that part of the district. More than three times that many voted in Hancock County.

Willis replaces the late Rep. Jessica Upshaw. Upshaw was found dead March 24 at the Mendenhall home of her boyfriend, former State Rep. Clint Rotenberry. Law enforcement officials said she died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The winner of the seat will serve the remainder of Upshaw’s term and have to run for re-election in 2015.

Rep. Lataisha Jackson Sworn in Today!

Lataisha Jackson was sworn in today just in time to cast her first vote to bring 2,000 jobs to Mississippi. Jackson replaced Rep. Joe Gardner, who passed away earlier in the session.

During the campaign, Rep. Jackson, a Como native,stressed ensuring children were afforded a quality education and working to strengthen community outreach programs throughout the district h this rising would be among her top priorities.

We will continue to watch this rising star.

Exciting Times for Democrats!

By: Will Godfrey, Mississippi Democratic Party

It’s an exciting time to be a Democrat in Mississippi. As a party, we believe we are working on the right projects to put us on a sustainable path forward. New Mississippians are joining the cause and we are building a foundation for the future. We are getting organized at the precinct level and signing up new Democrats to our Yellow Dog Club and Finance Council every week.

The Republican Party continues to expose itself as a party more interested in serving the extreme ideological fringes than finding common sense solutions to our great challenges. Everyone should be proud of our Legislative Democrats who stuck together during the session and continue to fight the reckless Republican agenda. We have a tremendous opportunity to show Mississippians which party stands on the side of common sense solutions and reform.

I encourage everyone to support our party any way you can, both personally and financially, through volunteering or giving, to ensure we are able to build the necessary infrastructure to win elections and create a bright future for our beloved state. State parties are the structural foundations for Democrats across the country and we are committed to continue building towards a strong future.

Mississippi Democratic Party Newsletter

Mike’s Missives- Stacey’s Candidate Positioning Tips

I thought I would pass along some very helpful campaign tips to candidates out there running for the first time. My good friend and former Democratic Party of Georgia colleague, Stacey Chavis, compiled these and many other useful campaign tools that you can find at Stacey Chavis Political Strategies

Stacey’s Candidate Positioning Tips

1) Get Trained- Before you decide to run for office, you should seriously consider attending a political leadership training.

2) Campaign for Others- Working on a campaign team is great experience to have before you decide to become a candidate.

3) Prepare for Public Speaking- As a candidate for elected office, you will engage in public speaking and repeat your message thousands of times during your campaign.

4) Join Community Organizations- Join and participate to meet others in different industries with similar interests. Junior League, Urban League, League of Woman Voters, Kiwanis and Rotary clubs are just a few great community organizations.

5) Join Professional Organizations- Get involved in your professional industry organization such as the local labor or trade union, National Society of Accountants, National Association of Social Workers and American Farm Bureau Federation.

6) Seek an Appointment- Serving on a local, state or federal board or commission is a great way to serve and get experience before you run.

7) Know Community Issues- Attend city council, county commission or legislative committee meetings to understand the issues in your community. Read your local city and county newspapers, blogs and websites to learn more.

8 ) Take a Leadership Role- Running for a position within your homeowners association, parent teacher association or community organization.

9) Serve on a Nonprofit Board- Join a nonprofit board around issues of importance to you like the environment, civil rights, gender equality or education. You will serve, expand your skill set and meet other like-minded leaders.

10) Get involved with your Political Party- Attend your party meetings, and events to get involved, understand the lay of the land and meet the major players within the party.

11) Volunteer your Time- Volunteer within your community to pass out meals on wheels, read to children, community recreational activities or through the local school district(s)

Johnson Winning Mayoral War Chest Battle

Clarion Ledger: Johnson winning mayoral war chest battle

Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. entered 2013 with a sizable cash lead in the mayor’s race, according to campaign finance reports filed with the city clerk, but the war chests of most candidates remain a mystery.

The incumbent mayor and businessman Jonathan Lee were the only two candidates to file campaign finance reports with the city clerk in January, when reports were due for money raised and spent in 2012.

The race’s other heavy hitters, who figure to have raised sizable totals by now, did not file a report. But even if they raised money in 2012, under state law they would have to report their fundraising activities only if they spent any money.

Johnson’s campaign committee, Friends of Harvey Johnson, raised $108,969 in 2012 and spent $16,220, much of it advertising-related. His campaign ended the year with $107,442 cash on hand, some of which may have been left over from the election four years ago.

His donations came from a mix of businesses of individuals, most commonly around $500 to $1,000. The top individual donations were from Glenda Glover, former dean of Jackson State University, who gave $5,000, and Robert Agbede of Pittsburgh, president of a water engineering firm. Other donors to Johnson included former Mayor Kane Ditto, Flowood Mayor Gary Rhoads, contractors and several law and consulting firms.

Lee’s group, Friends of Jonathan Lee, raised $54,349 and spent all but $12,582 of it. Most of his campaign expenses so far were payments to Hendrix and Dometz Organizational Solutions and JW Turner Consulting LLC, who are helping run his campaign.

A separate political action committee, Jackson 20/20, also spent money on both Hendrix and Turner earlier in 2012, but Tyrone Hendrix, Lee’s spokesman, said Jackson 20/20 was not affiliated with Lee’s campaign.

Jackson 20/20, which was created to support candidates in state and local races, raised $25,925 last year.

Lee’s donations came primarily from individuals, and about half of his money raised came from small donations of less than $200. By contrast, 92 percent of Johnson’s donations were larger than $200.

William Cooley of Jackson was Lee’s top donor, giving $4,750. No other donor gave more than $1,000.

On April 30, one week before the May 7 primary, all candidates are required to file disclosures whether they have spent any money or not.

The qualifying deadline is Friday, and the mayor’s race is expected to have close to 10 entrants.

Flaggs Likely YES Vote on Charters?

Rep. George Flaggs (D-Vicksburg) was quoted as saying:

“We need to just take the Senate’s bill, pass a strike-all and get it into conference, and move on,” Flaggs said. “We’re talking about D and F districts, limit of 15 charters to start out, then come back and see how they’re working. We’re talking about 3,000 kids to start out — like 1 percent of students. What’s the big deal? Why are we doing all this fighting? Do it, and move on. It makes no sense, does it, to be all tied up with this?”

Governor’s Office Has GOP Convention Plans on Hold Pending Tropical Storm Isaac Track

Clarion Ledger: Governor’s office has GOP convention plans on hold pending Tropical Storm Isaac track

The Mississippi governor’s plans for the GOP National Convention are on hold pending more information on the projected path for Tropical Storm Isaac. In a news conference at the state Emergency Management today, Gov. Phil Bryant said he and other officials are closely monitoring the storm’s path, which as of this morning was projected to hit close to the Mississippi and Alabama state lines early Wednesday morning.

Voter ID Bill Signed, Awaits Feds’ Scrutiny

Sun Herald: Voter ID bill signed, awaits feds’ scrutiny

Gov. Phil Bryant on Thursday signed a bill requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls, but it’s unclear if it will become law.

Because of Mississippi’s history of racial discrimination, the state is required to get federal approval for any change in election laws or procedures. The U.S. Justice Department in recent months has rejected voter ID laws from Texas and South Carolina.

Legislative debates about voter ID have been sharply divided along racial lines for years. No black officials attended the bill-signing ceremony in the governor’s Capitol office. Bryant was surrounded by several fellow Republicans and some TEA Party members.

Bryant spokesman Mick Bullock said Democrats who supported voter ID were invited to stand behind the governor during the bill signing.