Mike’s Missive’s: Let’s Get to Work!

By: Mike Biggs

As the dust settles from the 2015 campaigns I want to offer you my gratitude for your unwavering support of our Democratic candidates and the causes that bring us together as a party. Having spent time with and talked to voters across this great state, I am convinced that brighter days are ahead.

As we speak, the legislative and executive branches of our state government are now firmly controlled by the Tea Party fringes of the Republican Party. While disastrous as this may seem, it does should deepen our resolve.

While we wait for the final certification of the results there are many reasons for Democrats to be proud. We re-elected Attorney General Jim Hood to a 4th term and Democrats will have a majority on the Public Service Commission with the election of former state representative Cecil Brown.

Make no mistake about it; there were reasons to be disappointed. The House Democratic caucus was our last front against the radical Republican agenda. We need to rebuild just as we did last decade when we held as many as 75 seats in the house and 32 seats in the senate. We start today educating and organizing our base and re-building the party from the ground up.

On a personal note, several of my good friends fought valiantly and ultimately were unsuccessful but deserve our heartfelt thanks and adoration for their service to our state and party:

3rd CD:

Rep.Bobby Moak

House Democratic Leader Bobby Moak

4th CD:

Rep. Blaine “Bo” Eaton

Rep. Bo Eaton of Taylorsville

Rep. Sherra-Hillman Lane

Rep. Sherra Hillman-Lane

We also saw several members retire this year: Rep. Mary H. Coleman, Rep. Ferr Smith, Rep. Bennet Malone, Rep. Joe Warren, Rep. Johnny Stringer, Rep. Chuck Espy, Rep. James Evans, and Rep. Clara Burnett

It is time to create an agenda that provides opportunity for everyone. It is time to set goals that every Mississippi Democrat believes are worth fighting for. I hope you will take a moment to reflect on the enormity of the challenges we faced this year and the many reasons that we can be energized and optimistic heading into the future.

I believe we will prevail but more importantly we must begin the process of preparing for 2019 now. We can begin immediately to target increased voter turnout for the 2016 elections. We need at least 200,000 more Democrats added to the voter rolls to return a Democrat to the White House, all incumbents up for re-election and gain new Democratic seats where they may be competitive.

Let’s resolve to recruit Democrats who can win for Democrats and make Mississippi a better place to live, work and raise a family.

DeMiktric “Mike” Biggs

Pay Raise for Mississippi Teachers Is Keeping Them Honest

Republican House Speaker Phillip Gunn

Keeping them Honest: Where do they stand?

The past two weeks has seen a lot of posturing around the issue of teacher pay raises. Some members positions have shifted all over the place but unlike most political doublespeak, they are being called out this time. Since its debut on the scene, the group Pay Raise for Mississippi Teachers has brought the topic of teacher pay raises to the forefront of Mississippi politics and the legislative session that began on January 7th. Speaker Phillip Gunn’s support of the idea has given life to the notion that Mississippi teachers will see some sort of pay hike this session.

Pay Raise for Mississippi Teachers will be holding a rally at the State Capitol today, January 20, 2014. Representative Steve Holland and Democratic Leader Bobby Moak ware among the speakers for this event that kicks off at 2:00 PM.

To date, several members have given some indication as to whether or not they will support a pay increase this session so we decided to create a running “Roll Call” of the members and their public positions.

Teacher Pay Raise 2014:

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: YES

Democrats:

Whittington, Bailey, Hines, Anderson, Denton, Jackson, Clark, Espy, Steverson, B. Evans, Reynolds, Miles, Gibbs, Moak, Baria, Holland, M. Evans, Bain

Republicans:

Lamar, DeBar, Gunn, Barton, Turner, Nelson, Massengill, Mims, Bounds, Arnold, Frierson, Mayo, Boyd, Snowden

Non-Committal

Aldridge(R), Rushing(R), Hood(R), Moore(R)

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: NO

NONE TO DATE

SENATE: YES

Democrats:

Stone, Jones, Blount,

Republicans:

Massey, Hill, Parker, Ward, Hopson,

Non-Committal

Longwitz(R), Tollison(R), Gipson(R)

SSENATE: NO

NONE TO DATE

NOTE: If you don’t see a legislators’ name on the list it indicates that they’ve not taken a public stance on the topic of teacher pay raises that can be verified by MS Political Pulse. We will continue to update this list

Twas’ A Month Before Qualifying: With a Mississippi Flavor

By: Mike Biggs

Twas’ a month before qualifying, all across the Magnolia State, Candidates have been fretting, whether to jump into the race. Pickering was pondering and Hosemann made known, That he was ready to go to Washington if Thad came home!

The Democrats wanted in on the upper chamber chatter, So in came Childers hinting he was ready to climb that ladder. Away in the Free State of Jones, a native son never blinked, For Chris was ready for Cochran, even ready to throw the kitchen sink!

Thompson, Harper, Nunnelee and Palazzo all seem safe, They will likely only see sacrificial lambs try and give them a race. But wait, Palin, DeMint and Heritage can still shake things up you see. They’ve got their arrows aimed at Republicans who refuse to drink the TEA.

The Tea Party may not be the only spoiler in town, For Marcy is ready to try on the Democratic sash and crown. Interesting dynamics keeps the political pendulum swinging, While sherrifs, supervisors and coroners phones keep a’ ringing. It’s Nosef or White or Tate or Phil, persuading the official to swallow the GOP pill.

State Democrats are active and out convincing too, Project 1776 is working as it goes into year two. House Dems have set their sights back on the speaker’s gavel, They’ll have rough terrain to defend if they can manage not to unravel.

So on Moak, Gunn, Whittington and Kenny Wayne, This upcoming session and election cycle is sure to be full of games. There’s one thing that makes this madness all worthwhile, And that’s seeing my friend Presley, dosey doe’n with the Carolina crowd. So to all to whom such a closure evokes fear, The PULSE wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Moak: House Democrats Can Still Have Influence

Daily Journal: Moak: House Democrats can still have influence

While Republicans have a majority in the state House for the first time since the 1800s, Rep. Bobby Moak, D-Bogue Chitto, said it’s not the first time he’s been in the minority.

“It is a little bit of a learning curve” being in the minority, Moak said Monday where he was the guest speaker at the Mississippi State University Stennis Institute of Government/Capitol press corps luncheon. “It is not new for me.”

Moak said some legislators might be basing their votes on the fact that the new Republican leadership has yet to redraw legislative districts. He said he learned in the early 1990s as a member of the group that lost the speaker’s fight “that really doesn’t work.”

Moak said thus far it appears Republicans have established an agenda where they are handling only one item at a time.

House Democratic Leader Addresses MEC Members at Capitol

House Democratic Caucus Leader Bobby Moak (Bogue Chitto) addressed members of the Mississippi Economic Council at the group’s Capital Day.

During his speech, Moak addressed several topics that are likely to be taken up by legislators during the 2012 legislative session including the Attorney General’s use of independent counsel, wildlife funding, and local and private taxation.

Moak noted that the Attorney General’s office has recovered $500 million in taxpayer funds at not cost to Mississippians. Moak also pointed out that several of these current lawsuits involve alleged securities violations that have depleted the PERS fund. “Just one of those cases is estimated to have cost PERS $45 million,” Moak said. With respect to efforts to restrict the Attorney General from pursuing civil claims on behalf of the state, Moak said, “I don’t know what the endgame is with respect to legislation targeting the Attorney General’s office nor do I know why in the world we wouldn’t all want a strong Attorney General but I can tell you that I have no appetite for playing political games that cost taxpayers millions. PERS will be a big topic of discussion this year and it would look pretty disingenuous of us to assure state employees that we’re doing all we can to keep their retirement program solvent while not working to recover money that should rightfully be a part of the program.”

Noting Governor Barbour’s proposed 24% cut to the Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks budget, Moak said, “We all know where this is headed. Every dime that we take out of wildlife will have to be made up in taxes and fees on sportsmen. Levying fees on things like gun ownership and reducing the number of wildlife-related jobs is bad policy.” Moak added, “Even in a tough economy, wildlife-related recreation is producing jobs for thousands of Mississippians. According to Mississippi State University’s Forest and Wildlife Research Center, outdoor activities create more than 66,000 full and part-time jobs that pay more than $1.15 billion in wages and salaries per year. This study also showed that wildlife recreation contributes $2.8 billion to our state economy each year.”

Moak also acknowledged that it may be time to re-think the way the Legislature approves local and private taxes. Moak said, “Mississippi taxpayers have been saddled with a lot of needless taxes thanks to bills passed by our local and private committees. There are taxes that were instituted twenty years ago for baseball fields and parks that were completed years ago. And that’s just one example among many of taxes that we need to re-think.” Moak added, “If we are going to get serious about budgeting and taxes, we have to look critically at all of our practices. We can’t rubber stamp a tax at the local level that would never pass at the state level.”

[House Democratic Caucus Press Release]

House Democratic Caucus News

Members of the fifty-eight person Mississippi House Democratic Caucus met today to select a new slate of leaders for the 2012 Legislative Session. Succeeding Rep. Tyrone Ellis as Caucus Leader will be Rep. Bobby Moak of Bogue Chitto. Serving as Deputy Leader will be Rep. Bryant Clark of Pickens. Floor leaders were selected based on Mississippi’s three Supreme Court districts. These include Rep. David Baria of Bay St. Louis, Rep. Kelvin Buck of Holly Springs, and Rep. Adrienne Wooten of Ridgeland. Members decided that the fourth floor leader will be selected by the Caucus Leader at a later date.

“As in previous elections, the vote in November sent a clear message that you have to pay attention to what Mississippians are saying. Our Caucus takes the lessons of November seriously and we are looking forward to the opportunity to work with our Republican colleagues toward real solutions,” Moak said.

In outlining the Caucus platform for the session, Moak said, “Democrats in the House are committed to putting Mississippians back to work. This means building on our proven track record of attracting world-class employers to Mississippi and working to ensure that our small businesses have the tools they need to be successful.” Moak added, “We also know that Mississippi’s economic future rests on our ability to provide a quality education for our young people. As we begin work on what promises to be another difficult budget, we will continuously be reminding our colleagues that Mississippi’s best economic development tool is its education system.”

House Democratic Caucus Press Release 1/2/2012