Mississippi Democrat chair Rickey Cole LTE:

To the Editor,

?County and town governments across Mississippi are the front line providers of service for our rural infrastructure, public safety, education and quality of life for hundreds of thousands of good, hard-working and law-abiding rural taxpayers. Local government is closest to the people.

?The vast majority of our local leaders put their heart into their work, and are effective, frugal managers of the public treasury. Sheriffs, supervisors and town officials know how to use a little to do a lot, and are often expected to “make bricks without straw” just to keep our rural communities going.

?It should be alarming to every Mississippian that Phil Bryant and the Republican establishment continue to put more responsibilities upon the backs of our local officials while at the same time continuing to take resources away from already-strapped rural communities. For instance, Bryant’s new head of the state prisons, who took over after years of major corruption in that agency on the Republican’s watch, has taken a misguided step that will make it much harder on our rural communities. He has ordered an end to the Joint State County Work Program for prisoners. This bureaucratic action will have the effect of taking millions of dollars away from our counties when it goes into effect August 1. Hardest hit will be our smallest counties and towns in the most rural areas of the state. These small communities rely upon this voluntary prison labor for road crews, maintenance of county and town buildings, and many other odd jobs that will now either have to be hired done, or, most likely, left undone for lack of local funds.

?Rural Mississippi has been forgotten by the Republican establishment in Jackson. Maybe Rural Mississippi should forget the Republicans on November 3rd.

?Respectfully,

?Rickey L. Cole
?

5/21/15