Thompson encourages students to seek jobs in Mississippi
STARKVILLE, Miss.—Rep. Bennie Thompson discussed his experiences as a U.S. Congressman with Mississippi State students today [Oct. 19] and gave insight into how to develop leadership skills and prepare for the future, as well as his views on a number of current issues.
As the ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, Thompson encouraged young people to think about politics as a career. He also recommended his audience consider homeland security, including the fields of cybersecurity and disaster relief. But one of the most important things he urged students to consider is finding a good job in their home state.
“We have to create that opportunity,” Thompson said. “We want to help create choices for you to stay if you so desire, and so that’s the challenge for us.”
Thompson said he supports education and health initiatives, including Initiative 42 at the state level and the Affordable Care Act at the federal level.
“One of the reasons I’m supporting Initiative 42 is our young people are not competing with kids in the next district – they’re competing with young people in the next continent. And so, we’ve got to do the best job we can making sure that we’re providing the best education possible for our young people and not short circuiting,” Thompson said.
“I’m convinced that if we invest more now, we’ll have to pay less later,” he added.
Other issues he discussed include incarceration, gun control and homeland security threats.
He emphasized that alternatives are needed in regards to sending people to jail.
“We lock too many people up in this country for doing little things,” he said. “There are some mistakes that are made that should not follow you all of your life,” he added.
Thompson said that as a man who grew up in the country, he enjoys hunting and he owns several guns for those purposes; but he explained, “I think reasonable gun control makes sense.”
Thompson said, regarding homeland security issues, that there is a “dangerous, volatile situation in this country and in this world.” He encouraged students to be aware, and he asked them to keep in mind the Department of Homeland Security’s awareness campaign, “If you see something, say something.”
“I don’t want to scare you, but we have some challenges. We’ll work through them because America is still the greatest country,” Thompson said.
Thompson was on campus as part of the Lamar Conerly Governance Forum, organized by the university’s Department of Political Science and Public Administration. The lecture series is made possible by major support from Conerly, a 1971 MSU accounting/pre-law graduate and longtime partner in the Destin, Florida, law firm of Conerly, Bowman and Dykes LLP. He is both a former national MSU Alumni Association president and continuing College of Business Alumni Fellow.