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Gov. Bryant Set To Give State Of The State Address

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 21 Jan 2013 05:05pm | comments

Governor Phil Bryant's state of the state address is set to take place tonight. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports on what Bryant wants to achieve with his speech, and what democratic legislators would like to hear.

Governor Bryant says the biggest focus of his speech will be on spurring economic development and creating jobs for Mississippians.

The key way to do that, he says, is to improve education.

"We will tell parents that they have the right to choose where their can children go to school. That we can tear down 150 walls across school districts and give parents a choice so children can have a change," Bryant said.

Expanding the state's charter school law and other school choice options are some of the ways Bryant believes the state can improve education.

Mississippi's Democratic lawmakers will be closely watching the speech.

Senator Derrick Simmons of Greenville thinks Bryant should focus more on fully funding the Mississippi's education spending formula.

"And so I would like to see, since we are having all of these education opportunity measures coming up last session and this session, I would like to see all of the effort being placed on what can we do to help our existing educational system," Simmons said.

Senator Debbie Dawkins of Pass Christian, who gave birth to her first daughter at 16 years old, says she would like Bryant to moderate his abstinence-only approach teenage pregnancy.

"Teenagers now it is a lot harder to be a teenager than it was when I was a teenager. That is just one more thing that they need some help with. Not somebody preaching to them," Dawkins said.

Bryant says he hopes his speech will leave all Mississippians with a sense that the state can move forward.

"Working together we can build an educational system that will have children ready for college or career. That we can grow this economy. That we can take people who believe that they must be on Medicaid and other government programs and find them a job," Bryant said.

Bryant's speech is scheduled for 5-o'clock tonight and will be broadcast live in MPB radio and TV.

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