Mississippi editorial roundup
Recent editorials from Mississippi newspapers:
Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal of Tupelo on the outlook for Northeast Mississippi:
With all three federal lawmakers representing Northeast Mississippi in attendance, Itawamba Community College’s first State of the District address carried gravitas.
U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith and Rep. Trent Kelly gathered at ICC’s Davis Event Center on Monday to give their takes on the outlook for Northeast Mississippi.
The event aimed to step outside of a heated campaign season in which each of the three Republican officeholders are seeking re-election. Campaign signs were not allowed, and the forum was billed as a non-partisan opportunity for students and community members to interact with their elected officials.
With the lawmakers responding to questions posed by moderator Jessi Stevenson, much attention was paid to the challenges of rural America - and tools for keeping Mississippi attractive both to businesses and future generations of residents. Discussions centered on the need for jobs, infrastructure, improved rural internet capabilities and workforce training.
These are all important topics as one of the country’s most rural states aims to compete with its more urban brethren.
Mississippi only has one truly urban hub, meaning the state’s success is dependent upon keeping its large rural swaths competitive - a fact pointed out by the Congressional speakers. The Wi-Fi piece is a large part of that puzzle, as high-speed internet can do so much to level the playing field and promote remote employment opportunities in a global economy.
That connects to another key cog - attracting high-paying jobs to rural communities that allow residents to remain in those locales, lay down roots where they grew up and raise their own families. Much of that work includes providing conditions that help small businesses prosper, rather than focusing on huge companies.
Today’s wired society offers new opportunities and new challenges to rural America. Monday’s event at ICC hit on a conversation state leaders must continue to have - how to navigate those forces to stay competitive in a changing world. It won’t happen accidentally. The future of rural America requires deliberate focus.
The Greenwood Commonwealth on the state’s grading system for public schools:
Dr. Carey Wright, Mississippi’s superintendent of education, says the state’s A-to-F grading system for public schools and school districts is an easily understandable way to communicate to parents and others in a community how well their schools are performing.
She is right about that.
The grading system would be even better, though, if state education officials didn’t tweak the curve when the grades don’t come out as good as they’d like to see.
The Natchez Democrat on voting in elections:
In just more than a week, Mississippians will head to the poll in what will be a historic election.
For a state to have both of its U.S. senators up for grabs on the same ballot is rare and only occurs when unusual circumstances cause a disruption of the usual staggered terms.
The retirement earlier this year of longtime Sen. Thad Cochran, who stepped aside for health reasons, caused this year’s rare circumstance.
Today, we continue a series of articles looking at the basic platforms candidates for office have.
While we do not endorse candidates in statewide elections, we strongly encourage voters to get informed and understand the characteristics of the candidates.
We hope that the candidates who ultimately are victorious are people who aim to unite our country and state, not further divide them.
Our country is practically bursting with divisiveness. We fear if the extremes of our society continue to tug and push and pull and tear at our country, the middle core may begin to weaken further.
We need our country to mend our differences, find our common civility and begin moving forward with our future — together.
And that can all begin by exercising our brains and our rights to vote on Election Day and choosing the best candidates to lead our country, not divide it.