Governor Delivers State of the State Message

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The theme of Gov. Phil Bryant's State of the State address was economic development through education. He issued a charge to lawmakers.

"The people of Mississippi made a change in leadership at the capitol a year ago, and what they expect is bold action," Bryant said.

During the past year, Bryant has been marketing 2013 as the year for education reform. In his address, the governor said education must be in place for economic development to happen.

"The path to Mississippi's economic success must pass through the school house door," Bryant said.

Bryant is bringing attention to the Education Works Act of 2013. This includes everything from charter schools and teacher merit pay to open enrollment and $15 million for literacy improvements.

He also wants a proficiency focus on the third grade level to make sure students are ready to move to the next grade and dropout prevention programs to make sure the state has a properly educated workforce.

"Our very economic stability as a state is threatened if our education system is not improved," said Bryant.

Not to be overshadowed by education, Bryant also told lawmakers to pay attention in making health care an economic driver for the state. He announced the formation of the Mississippi Health Care Solutions Institute to act as a medical chamber of commerce for the state.

On the economic front, Bryant announced an expansion with Ashley Furniture in Lee County and the importance of marketing Mississippi.

"I call on you to make sure the world knows Mississippi will not take a back seat to anyone when it comes to attracting jobs," the governor said.

Last year, economic development efforts in Mississippi secured more than half a billion dollars in private investments and created 2,700 jobs.