Interview with Mr. Weeks about the Governor’s Election

Alexa Garcia, Newspaper Staff Member

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 Mr. Erick Weeks, head of the Pearl High School Drama department, lends his voice to Newspaper staff member Alexa Garcia about the upcoming election for Governor of Mississippi.

[Edited by Mr. Faulkner]

 

  1. Who do you think is more qualified for the position?

I personally believe Jim Hood is much more qualified to serve the current population of the state of Mississippi […] I believe he is the candidate that is listening to the […] populations who need the services, and that’s everybody. So, what I mean by that is Jim Hood is looking at the areas where we have fallen, such as education and health care.  He is looking to expand Medicaid within our state which has been a possibility for the last 15 to 20 years, and we have not done so for political reasons.

I believe Tate Reeves has an ample amount of opportunities to show us that he cares about all of his constitu

ents and not just the ones that support him loyally all the time, and he has just not done that for me. He hasn’t listened to teachers or educators. . .

(About whether or not years of experience makes someone qualified) I don’t think amount of time gives someone experience; I think it is what they have chosen to do with that time that really defines them as a public official who serves Mississippi’s constituents… of those two individuals Jim Hood has all the citizens of Mississippi in mind not just a certain portion that may meet a certain tax bracket. I do believe […] it’s the job of the governor to serve every single one even those that oppose them and I believe that Jim Hood is […] the better candidate of the two.

 

  1. Who would you vote for?

 

Obviously, I would vote for Jim Hood as it stands now, and that’s not because I think Tate Reeves is undeserving – I mean I do think he would not be a good governor. But I do not want you to think it’s […] because I don’t like Tate Reeves, I am going to vote for Jim Hood. No, I am going to vote for Jim Hood because I honestly believe that he has initiatives and policies that if enacted or put into effect will actually make positive changes for our state […]

I have a stake in his plans to support public education and educators and all that benefits from that, because the reality in education is that every single person regardless of if you are a private school student, a home-school student, a public education student, or whether you are a business ow

ner, an adult, a child – every single citizen in the state of Mississippi positively benefits from the education system […] because the more people we have in the state that are educated and are armed with the skills to be successful, then that’s what makes our state more successful. . .

 

  1. Whose proposals do you think will help the state of Mississippi the most?

 

I do think that Jim Hood would help Mississippi […] I think it’s important to recognize that Tate Reeves has been in and has had ample opportunities in the last two decades to make positive changes for the state of Mississippi and yet he has taken more opportunities to really align himself with big corporations and to align himself with the status quo and sometimes… We’ve not seen any true growth or progressive opportunities in our state and so it’s for that reason that I believe that Jim Hood and his policies and all that will better serve our state

 

  1. Which candidate is more knowledgeable about the problems being faced in the state of Mississippi?

Well, I think in order… to truly understand the true problems that our state is facing [a candidate has]to actually have a connection and a relationship with the people who are negatively affected… In rural areas throughout our state a lot of people are negatively affected in terms of poverty, lack of resources, and… the candidate that I believe has spent the most time trying to actually reach out to those people would be Jim Hood.  I believe that Tate Reeves sometimes hides behind… his position or… his political career, and I believe that Jim Hood actually understands and has taken the time to truly understand those people and where they’re coming from.  He’s from Houston, Mississippi, which is a rural area right up Highway 15 and so I think he understands the need for those people who are getting the short end of the stick every year and [for whom] there are never changes…

 

  1. Who do you think would be more beneficial to the teachers and students of Mississippi and why?

     Well I think… it is less about my opinion and more to do with the actual actions of the candidates themselves. Tate Reeves has publicly worn a yellow scarf in support of charter schools which […] is the idea to take public funds and allow those public funds to help support a charter school, [a school] which does not have to meet the same requirements or standards as, say, a public school… When a candidate chooses one type of educational platform or one educational method as the one that we should support and doesn’t provide the support in the other areas [they are neglecting the other educational systems present in the state]… I think… the more options we give people the more choices they have and the more power the constituent has to better their life.

… our leaders have failed to fund Mississippi MAEP – which is the funding formula that they created to fund public education. That formula tells them how much money is needed to secure adequate education for the students in Mississippi.  Well, they… have only funded it like twice in its existence… It’s hard for me as a constituent to hear from my elected officials that these areas are unsuccessful… but then they don’t fully fund it. And I understand the rebuttal that throwing money at something doesn’t necessarily fix it.  However, in this particular situation, we are not asking for money so we can take a vacation… now it’s [about] whether or not our elected officials are willing to trust educators to make these decisions.

(About Jim Hood) People are going to say what they want to say and those in opposition are going to do anything that they can to make it harder for him to be successful. But what I would ask to anybody who is researching or looking or trying to figure out who they want to vote for, look at the candidate who is working for the people and not for himself… look at the people who are looking for the betterment of the actual people that make up our state, such as public educators or the poor…

(About Tate Reeves) I don’t think Tate Reeves is a bad person. I just think Tate Reeves is an individual who has been consumed by this political war that has been created… I think because of that, it [state/national politics] has just become a battle of one guy versus another guy. But in reality, this is not a battle between Tate Reeves and Jim Hood: this is a battle about whether or not Mississippi wants to do the right for all of its constituents and not those who can write heavy checks

I am a public school teacher, so I am not writing any heavy checks. I think it is important that we as Mississippi voters insure that we are protecting the people… that don’t have a voice… it’s those people that we should protect, and it goes back to what we should do as Christians: we should protect our neighbor