Quitman, Miss. Governor Bryant says the major step to success in Mississippi is through manufacturing. He says lawmakers also don't have a choice but to address the state's failing education system.
It was hard to find an empty seat inside of First Baptist Church in Quitman as Governor Bryant spoke on the issues of up most concern to those in our area and around the magnolia state. The governor tells Newscenter 11 the key to future growth is creating more jobs. This week, he announced the state's unemployment rate has dropped from 9.3 percent to 8.4 percent since he took office two years ago.
"Finally, I think people are hoping the economy is getting better," Governor Bryant says. "We've had a really aggressive workforce training system. JCJC just has one going in in Stonewall, so it's a combination of things."
Governor Bryant says he hopes to get the state's unemployment level to at least the same level as the national average of 7.5 percent. In Meridian, the Air National Guard base and Naval Air Station both provide many jobs to people in east Mississippi, but Bryant says he is hoping for more manufacturing as well.
"Our military is strong and we've got to keep those missions here," Bryant maintains. "And we worked hard through our military communities council to do that, but it's in manufacturing. And so, this of course is the automobile corridor for the southeast. We're talking to manufacturers each and every day."
Health care is another topic of concern for people in our area and across the state. He tells us investing billions in medicaid expansion right now would be a big mistake.
"Now, we can expand our community health care centers," Bryant adds. "I have a plan to do that. Yesterday, we announced an aggressive telemedicine plan with GE Healthcare for the state of Mississippi. There are way to help cure this problem without just pouring more money into it."
Governor Bryant says right now, the state's education system is "broke." He tells us the state needs to be focused on implementing charter schools, a pre-k program, and merit pay for teachers.