Mikes’ Missives: From Tim “Elvis” In Jackson

By Mike Biggs

Baria tantalizes with tweet

Rep. David Baria of Bay St. Louis provided, what has by in large been a run of the mill qualifying period, a much needed jolt last night when he teased that Mississippi Democrats would have a major announcement. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one calling, texting and emailing well into the wee hours trying to get the scoop. A rarity these days: Republican switching to join the Democratic Party.

Will it be Trent Lott? Is it Chris McDaniel? By midnight, I had almost been convinced it was Ron Williams, former GOP gubernatorial candidate. Finally about 1:30 a.m I received the most promising callback yet, it was Tim Johnson of Madison County. My initial reaction was coincidentally the same as several I’ve encountered throughout the day; “The Elvis guy”? Yes, Tim Elvis Johnson was holding a press conference to announce he was switching parties and running for Lt.Gov as a Democrat!

Switchin’ to Glide: Johnson singing a different tune

Johnson, flanked by his family and Democratic Party leaders, managed to do in one day what hasn’t been done in several years: energizing Mississippi Democrats and giving hope to the possibility of a much needed win. Tim Johnson served 2 terms in the state senate before serving 2 terms as a Madison County Supervisor. Prior to being elected to the legislature he served 1 term as a Madison alderman. He ran for Central District Transportation Commissioner in 2011 but was defeated by incumbent Dick Hall.

In explaining why he decided to switch parties, Johnson exclaimed “Republican leadership in Jackson has failed Mississippi families”. He went on to say “the failure of the Republican leadership in the senate to help sick people was the last straw for me”.

“All are welcome in the Democratic Party, even a reformed Republican like me”

Rickey Cole, Chairman of the Mississippi Democratic Party sounded a similar tone saying, ” Tim is representative of the tens of thousands of Mississippians who are reconsidering their loyalty to a Republican Party that has lost its way”. Cole went on to say ” we are proud of the efforts of our veteran Democratic leaders, and are happy to welcome new “walk-on” recruits like Tim Johnson as we step up to offer the people of Mississippi clear choices in November”.

Twas’ A Month Before Qualifying: Year 2

By: Mike Biggs

Twas’ a month before qualifying, all across the Magnolia State, Candidates have been fretting, whether to jump into the race. Tate Reeves was flip-flopping and drinking the TEA while Hosemann was yet again plotting, this time to be the LG. Thad held on and his days appear sunny, thanks to Scooby and Bishop and Barbour’s “walk around money”. But don’t count out McDaniel whose knives seem to be sharper for he may just go after Bryant or Wicker or even Gregg Harper.

State Democrats are still figuring out how to get out of their hole but fret not fellow Dems cause’ all roads still lead to Rickey Cole. The party of Winter and Ronnie and Ray are hoping Brandon Presley will soon show them the way. Be not dismayed for there is still plenty of lower chamber action thanks to Jeramey and Snowden and yes, Lataisha Jackson. House Republicans are bolstered by an air tight majority and yet are still poised to pick off a few of the remaining House RWD’s.

State Democrats are active and out convincing too, Project 1776 is still working as it goes into year number 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. Twas’ a month before qualifying and no pols seem to be slumbered though one thing is certain, Kenny Wayne’s day’s as chair of the Black Caucus are numbered. If you think this session is going to be a bore all’s you’d have to do is look at the pandering around common core.

Now Blackmon and Bryan and Busby and Bain. On Watson and Doty and don’t forget Fillengane. To Hood and Pickering and Chaney with glee. To Sojourner and Aldridge and the lump of coal under your tree. So, Bob Evans and Cecil and Sen. Hill you can’t hide and let’s not forget Randall and Jason and Nickey “party-switchin’ to glide. With the session and election season soon to be in full bloom, the capitol is sure to be the place to see the biggest elephants in the room. Don’t forget the donkey’s for they will be in the mix; and at the receptions and at the podium and on the floor shaking their fists.

So to all of you who love a good political hob-knob, let’s focus all of our energies on pay raises for teachers, state employee’s and Better Schools, Better Jobs. The PULSE wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! and the defeat of the Heritage campaign and it’s vestiges of yester-year!

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!

Charter School Legislation Backed by Top State Leaders

WLOX: Charter school legislation backed by top state leaders

Mississippi’s educational system could soon get an overhaul if a senate bill becomes law. That bill would pave the way for a charter school system setting up a seven member approval committee before any charters could be granted.

Charter schools would still be held to state standards and could have their charter revoked if not successful. There’s also a provision in the bill that would allow for the creation of virtual charter schools which means students would never have to even step foot in a classroom for an education.

When it comes to funding, both Bryant and Reeves say the money currently being spent on every student, should follow that student wherever they go. That’s about $9,000 per student.

Reeves Noncommittal on Schools’ Rainy Day Funds

AP/Sun Herald:Reeves noncommittal on schools’ rainy day funds

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves isn’t saying whether he thinks local districts should be required to tap into their financial reserves if there’s a dip in state education funding.

Reeves says the state shouldn’t “punish” districts that have been good stewards of taxpayer money.

However, he didn’t rule out Gov. Phil Bryant’s recommendation that 152 local districts should use $73 million, collectively, from their rainy day funds. Bryant says the districts held $615 million last June 30.

Lt. Gov. Agenda Has Ideas He Touted in Campaign

Hattiesburg American: Lt. gov. agenda has ideas he touted in campaign

First-term Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves says he’s supporting bills to create charter schools statewide and to require consolidation of three school districts in Sunflower County into one.

Reeves says he wants legislators to improve state finances by limiting long-term debt and by resuming the practice of putting 2 percent of state revenues into a rainy day fund.

He says he also supports proposals aimed at tracking information about adult males who impregnate underage girls.