Starting with the upcoming Congressional primaries, Mississippi Democratic Party chairman Rickey Cole said he wants to see some common sense restored to the political conversation.
“It’s time to begin to talk about the bread-and-better issues, the pocketbook issues, things that touch the working people in Mississippi the most,” said Cole, who made a recent tour of the state to talk with various media outlets. “We hear a lot of lip-service given to that group or this group or that other group, but the folks I want to talk are neither the have-nots nor the haves. They are the have-tos, folks that have to get up every morning and go to work and make a living.”
Cole said the Mississippi Democratic Party would be promoting a quartet of what he called “common-sense policies,” including:
• Raising the minimum wage
“That’s a set of tires on a car with bald-headed tires,” Cole said. “That’s finally being able to go to the check-cashing place and pick up that $300 check that you’ve been paying $60 on every two weeks for the past six months. That’s being able to go to the dentist or the eye doctor. Buying your tag for your car. Getting your lights fixed so you can get an (inspection) sticker so you won’t get another ticket.”
• Extending health care coverage to 300,000 Mississippians
“The engine of our economy has been health care,” Cole said. “For years, we’ve heard about hospital expansion. I remember when Forrest General was two stories and one wing. So, we kill the goose that laid the golden egg by saying, ‘Well, these people can’t pay you, but you’ve got to take care of them.’
“Thousands of people rely on these places for their jobs, and by allowing this crisis of uncompensated care to continue, not only are we causing people to suffer, not only are we jeopardizing these health care jobs, but we’re also spending a lot more per person on acute care than we ever would on preventive care. But they can’t get preventive care.”
• Investing in quality public education
“Our communities have got to take back ownership of their schools,” Cole said. “It’s about community and you need to participate in the community. Public education is not for the parents. Public education is not for the taxpayers. Public education is for the future. Taxpayers pay for it and parents send their children, but it’s all an investment in the future.