JACKSON — Dr. Eric Clark, former Mississippi secretary of state and current executive director of the Mississippi Community College Board, is endorsing Thad Cochran in his bid for reelection to the U.S. Senate.
At a press conference, Clark said: “The first comment I would make is that I’m here as a citizen of Mississippi, and not representing any organization. I am a citizen who has spent my entire adult life working to make Mississippi better, especially through education.
“My message is please vote for Sen. Thad Cochran next Tuesday, especially if you support public education. He has been a strong supporter of education, and education funding, for Mississippi ever since he has been in Congress.
“Recently, his opponent, Mr. Chris McDaniel, was quoted in the newspaper as saying, ‘The word education is not in the Constitution. Because the word is not in the Constitution, it’s none of their business.’ When asked how Mississippi could stand the loss of federal funds, he was quoted as saying, ‘I think Mississippi, if it’s allowed to keep more of its tax revenue, could offset those losses.’
“Here are the numbers. Our state’s community colleges benefit from $248 million in federal funds each year. That is almost as much as the $258 million our community colleges will get from the state Legislature next year. The numbers I have heard reported for K-12 are $800 million per year and for universities, about $1 billion per year. That totals more than $2 billion in federal education funds annually to Mississippi. And as to paying for that ourselves, our state receives $3.15 in federal funds for every $1 we send to Washington. We could not begin to make that difference locally.