CLARION LEDGER – Trump acolyte, likable, outsider: Mississippi GOP governor candidates shape images

At campaign events and on social media, the three Republican candidates for Mississippi governor — Tate Reeves, Bill Waller Jr. and Robert Foster — have begun shaping their political images ahead of what’s expected to be a competitive primary.

Political observers initially figured Reeves was a shoo-in to win his party’s primary and likely face Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood in November’s general election. Reeves is a well-known name as lieutenant governor and has already raised about $7 million.

See the source imageBut experts said the recent entrance of Waller, a former state Supreme Court chief justice whose father was governor in the 1970s, throws that outcome into question.

“Reeves is vulnerable,” Steve Rozman, a Tougaloo College political science professor, said this week. “He doesn’t project a image that is magnetic, that will catch on.”

WLOX – State Auditor report reveals outside-the-classroom spending up, despite fewer teachers and students

State Auditor report reveals outside-the-classroom spending up, despite fewer teachers and studentsIf you’ve ever wondered how the money for K-12 schools gets divvied up, this latest State Auditor’s report may surprise you. An analysis of the last decade reveals there are fewer teachers and students in the state. But outside-the-classroom spending has gone up.

“If we had held outside-the-classroom spending the same per student as it was ten years ago, we’d have another $358 million dollars to play with, to spend on whatever we wanted to right now,” said Auditor Shad White.

To put that into perspective, White says that would have been enough for an $11,000 dollar teacher pay raise. He says that if outside-the-classroom spending had just been kept the same as it was ten years ago, and not been cut at the same rate as the decline of students, the state would still have $285 million more each year to spend in the classroom. That would have been enough for a $9,000 teacher pay raise…

…And it’s money that was spent on administrative costs, everything from superintendent and district office spending to non-student transportation and information services.

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CLARION LEDGER – Stacey Abrams, a national Democratic star, to deliver Tougaloo commencement speech

See the source imageStacey Abrams, a national star in the Democratic Party since narrowly losing her historic bid last fall to become the country’s first black woman governor, will be speaking in Jackson next month.

A Tougaloo College spokesman confirmed Wednesday she will deliver the commencement address May 5.

Abrams, the Democratic leader of the Georgia House of Representatives, is currently mulling a 2020 run for U.S. Senate or president, or another campaign for Georgia governor in 2022.

WLOX – Mississippi residents can display state flag minus Confederate battle emblem with new specialty license plate

Mississippi residents can display state flag minus Confederate battle emblem with new specialty license plateMississippi residents who want a state flag without the Confederate battle emblem now can display one on their license plate.

Gov. Phil Bryant signed a specialty license plates bill Tuesday. One features a proposed state flag designed by Jackson artist Laurin Stennis.

Legislators have not changed the actual flag that’s the last in the U.S. with the Confederate emblem, although some have pushed for the “Stennis flag.”

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WLOX – Teachers express concerns to gubernatorial candidate in town hall meeting

Teachers on the Coast got a chance to express concerns and suggestions to one of the Republican candidates for governor on Wednesday.

Bill Waller Jr. hosted a teachers’ town hall meeting in Gulfport.

“I’m here to listen, hear their concerns and help shape education policy in the next administration,” said Waller.

Long Beach High School teacher Carrie Bartlett was thankful for the opportunity. She’d like to see less testing and wants to see public officials who put students first.

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WDAM – U.S. Judge Starrett looks back on career before shifting to senior status

See the source imageBehind the walls of the Federal Courthouse Building in Hattiesburg, the Honorable Keith Starrett, United States District Judge, looked back at his judicial career spanning 27 years.

“George Washington said, ‘The most important pillar of any democracy is its system of justice,’” Starrett said.

Following more than 10 years of private practice, Starrett was appointed to a seat on the 14th Circuit Court District in 1992 by former Governor Kirk Fordice. In 2005, he was appointed to serve on the federal bench.

WXXV – Talking politics with Ocean Springs Mayor Shea Dobson