Notes From Stennis-Capitol Press Luncheon With Blount, Gipson

On controversial appointments: Blount said he opposed both Terri Herring’s nomination to the Mississippi Board of Health and Joel Bomgar’s appointment to the state Board of Education. While Herring’s nomination was pulled before the Senate could consider it, Blount said he had already gone on record opposing Herring because the state association of OB-GYNs opposed her nomination. On Bomgar, Blount said the controversy over him being home-schooled or his home-schooling his children didn’t figure into his opposing the businessman. Blount said he voted against Bomgar because “he expressed no position with any specificity on any issue except charter schools.”

On consolidating state offices: Blount said he expects the Department of Revenue to end up in Clinton as recommended by the Department of Finance and Administration. While he disagrees with the move, he said he wasn’t going to argue the decision at the luncheon. “What I am here to say is that there is no state strategic plan” when it comes to managing office space and real estate for state agencies. Blount, who chairs the Public Property Committee, said he will continue to push for a Capitol corridor as he did this year. The bill was unanimously passed in the Senate but died in the House.

On the Medicaid rolls: Gipson said that Mississippi is in a unique position in that if the state expands Medicaid, “nearly 50 percent of the people will be on the Medicaid rolls.” He said he believes more people had rather have insurance through good-paying jobs and that lawmakers should keep their eyes on economic development to help make that a reality.

Sam Hall
Clarion Ledger
4/8/13