Election Results May Affect Policy Goals

Mississippi’s statewide elections have come and gone. When all the votes were counted, it became clear that some significant changes are coming to our state government. Lt. Governor Phil Bryant will become our next governor, having easily defeated Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree. Taking Bryant’s place as the leader of the State Senate will be outgoing Treasurer Tate Reeves.

In terms of legislative politics, the most dramatic result of the elections took place in the State House of Representatives, where Republicans will likely have the majority for the first time since Reconstruction.This will also mark the first time in as many years that Republicans will have control of Mississippi’s entire legislative process. According to news sources, the House GOP caucus met and have selected Rep. Phillip Gunn as their preferred candidate for Speaker of the House.

While it’s impossible to say with total certainty how a GOP House and Senate will affect MSF’s policy goals, some important assumptions can be made. We can assume (with near certainty) that a stronger charter school bill will make it to the governor’s desk. We can also assume that it will be more difficult to make changes to the sex education law that went in effect this year. Yet while it’s safe to assume that universal pre-K will be a non-starter – as it appeared to be under a Democratic House – perhaps there’s hope that a collaborative delivery model for pre-K can gain some traction. While some dramatic changes are sure to come, the true impact of Election 2011 on our efforts is still an unwritten story.

Stay tuned…




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