For Hattiesburg and District 102 to thrive, we must first and foremost continue to advocate for the things that make us strong:
1) Our University
The University of Southern Mississippi is the heart and soul of District 102. Protecting the many funding streams for our beloved University – – and the jobs and services that come with that funding – is paramount to seeing continued strength for Southern Miss and Hattiesburg.
2) Our Healthcare Institutions and Practitioners
As the backbone of our local economy, healthcare employs more people than any other sector in the district and provides quality medical care for this region. As state representative, I will advocate for our medical community and healthcare professionals alike. This includes effectively having a voice on Medicaid reimbursement and the upcoming 2018 technical amendments bill.
3) Our Small Business Community
The small business community is vital to the people of Hattiesburg. We must foster a fertile environment for entrepreneurship. Recruiting new industry helps provide balance and growth to our local economy, but our entrepreneurs provide the character and stability for our city. I believe that business owners should be able to provide fair wages and generous benefits to their employees while not being hindered by burdensome regulation.
Like any other city or state, we also face our own set of challenges. Some of the areas that we must improve include:
1) Our Public School System
Mississippi’s future depends on our ability to cultivate and retain a skilled workforce. This means we must make better budgeting decisions and truly invest in the education of our children. Emphasis on early childhood education and our ability to retain quality teachers is imperative. Furthermore, vocational training and dual-enrollment programs are essential to setting students up to succeed beyond their education. I will fight to make sure the next generation has even more opportunities for success in the classroom and in life.
2) Our Infrastructure
It is no secret that our city and state have real challenges with its infrastructure. Improvements for our water, wastewater, roads, and bridges are crucial. I will support legislation that allows us to find creative ways to fund these areas of concern.
3) Our Young Talent
We must focus on keeping college graduates and young professionals in Mississippi. While we often do a great job of cultivating young talent, we need to foster an environment that offers opportunity for young professionals to make Hattiesburg their permanent home. I will fight for creative tax incentives, quality of life improvements and job opportunities to help retain young talent.