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As Session Begins, Groups Come to Lobby Legislature

By Daniel Cherry | Published 03 Jan 2012 08:21pm | comments

While lawmakers are planning their legislative strategy, several groups are laying out their list of wants from their elected officials. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how organizations across the political spectrum are vying for legislators' attention.

The halls of the state capitol were overflowing as onlookers and concerned citizens gathered to watch the beginning of the 2012 session. Among them was Landon Wilson of Occupy Jackson. He came to protest corporate involvement in politics and is calling for more power to individual voters.

"We're more about trying to get the politicians to represent the people rather than the other way around where they actually represent some kind of special interest group. People need to have the power. They need to have control over their government, participate in their government, and not be tyrannized by a bunch of major corporations or special interest groups who control their politicians."

Joining in with the Occupy movement was the Mississippi Unity Caucus and the Mississippi Immigrants' Rights Alliance. Bill Chandler, the Executive Director of MIRA, came to the Capitol in hopes of influencing lawmakers to shoot down immigration reform in Mississippi.

"Much like has been done in Arizona and in South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. These are vicious, racist proposals that need to die in this session, but it's hard to tell what's going to happen because we have new leadership throughout."

Several other groups came to make their presence known to legislators as they joined together to present a "Declaration of Concerns". While not a part of the Occupy movement, Randy May with the Mississippi TEA Party was also there. He hopes Republican control of state government will lead to conditions favorable to conservatives.

"I'd like to see some state sovereignty, some immigration (reform), some voter ID approval. We got that through the referendum, I want it supported. I think we can get some things done this year. Phil Bryant is going to be a great leader. I think we've got control back in the House so things will go through and we won't be locked up like the Federal Government."

The groups say they will return throughout the 2012 session to continue making their voices heard.

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