Reaction to State of the State Address

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Legislators from both sides of the aisle were ready to comment on the Mississippi governor’s speech. In true political fashion, reactions were mixed.

"We know what his agenda is. Thought the governor did a great job of delivering it," said Republican Sen. Terry Brown, Senate President Pro Tempore.

"It was a typical speech for a conservative governor," said Rep. Steve Holland, a Democrat.
The governor outlined an education reform package but also tied jobs into the discussion.

"If we don't create another workforce for the future we won't get those new programs as they come in," said Gov. Phil Bryant.

That idea of using education to strengthen economic development is one Democrats were also ready to back, even if their ideas on the specifics of education reform differ.

"You have to have education if you plan to do some tremendous economic development and that's what Mississippi needs. They need to go full force to get the economic development on par with some other states," said Democrat Rep. Credell Calhoun.

Job creation took center stage with the announcement of 60 new jobs with Ashley Furniture in north Mississippi.

"What I was impressed about is just in his short tenure last year and this year how many jobs have been created, how much business investment has come in. That's very impressive," said Brown.

Still, one of the sticking points of the speech for Democrats was Medicaid.

"He needs to expand Medicaid if he really wants to get serious about medicine in the state and creating jobs. The way to do it is to expand Medicaid. Nine thousand new jobs," said Holland.

Both Republicans and Democrats say they're ready to get to work on the governor's agenda, debates and all.

Another issue that's still a hot topic this session is charter schools. After the speech, Democrats said they're ready to challenge the governor and Republican leadership's ideas on the reform.