2016 Neshoba County Fair Speech
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Thank you Neshoba County for the warm welcome!
This is my 14th year on this podium but, more importantly in this Presidential election year, this
is my 2nd day in a row to be at the Fair. You see, yesterday, our previous speaker was in
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania….While I was here in Philadelphia, Mississippi….he was working for
Hillary Clinton…while I was here working against Hillary Clinton!
God has blessed me with four sweet, smart, beautiful women in my life – please welcome my
wife Elee, and my daughters Tyler, Emma and Maddie.
I introduce them every year at the Fair just to make sure I get at least one applause line.
It’s been a positive year in your state Capitol. We have put our heads together and put our
shoulder to the wheel –Together with Governor Bryant and Speaker Gunn, we are fighting for
smaller government and making Mississippi an even better place to raise a family.
Now you may be surprised to hear this because if you read the headlines or listen to only
Democrats – you may have seen the liberal media isn’t too pleased with our pro-family, pro-
I recently read that the Democrats are trying to get organized here – Bless their bleeding hearts!
They want to lead Mississippi – just like Obama is leading our nation – down the road of a
bigger government, more government regulation, and more government spending of your hardearned
They’ve even convinced the previous speaker to step away from his law books (and outside his
constitutional authority) to try to rewrite the state budget!
He and other bureaucrats in Jackson are outraged they can’t double dip into side accounts
anymore – hiding the true cost of government from taxpayers.
He’s even equated Mississippians with fools. And why does he think you are fools? For wanting
us to protect your First Amendment Rights to practice your faith without being harassed by big
He sounds to me like he’s auditioning to be Hillary’s new Attorney General!
I guess we know with whom he stands…. I, on the other hand, stand with the 86 percent of
Mississippians who believe marriage should be between one man and one woman.
And I ain’t gonna change my mind.
After the US Supreme Court legalized marriage between same-sex couples, I heard from people
all over Mississippi, many of them pastors, who were concerned at how far government could go
to make them violate the tenants of their faith.
Your Legislature took action…Liberals hollered for boycotts because we gave those with deeply
held religious beliefs a voice!
A leader on this issue was your own senator – Jenifer Branning! In one session, she has shown
herself to be a sensible, sharp, and thoughtful member of the MS Senate.
Fellow first-year senators – and even her veteran colleagues – envy the opportunity she had to
eloquently defend our First Amendment Rights when she handled this legislation.
Senator Branning took her oath and immediately took charge of one of the most pressing issues
for Mississippi religious organizations and their leaders.
Unfortunately, just three weeks ago, Mr. Obama’s appointee to the bench in Jackson didn’t
I’ll remind you this is the same judge that told Brandon High School their band couldn’t play
“How Great Thou Art” at halftime. So I think you know where he stands on your right to express
your religious beliefs!
If this opinion by the federal court denies even one Mississippian of their fundamental right to
practice their religion, then all Mississippians are denied their First Amendment Rights!
I want to thank Governor Bryant for quickly appealing this decision when the Attorney General
said he would not…
I wasn’t surprised by the AG’s inaction, because I have seen it before…. Mr. Hood even told
reporters just a few weeks ago the Legislature was “too focused” on social issues. What he
doesn’t understand is our conservative Legislature has this focus only because his liberal friends
on the bench keep chipping away at our rights.
He thinks we are too focused on the Constitution. He thinks we are too focused on freedom. He
thinks we are too focused on doing what is right and rejecting what is wrong.
Well, let me say this….you and I may not be able to make Jim Hood defend our laws in court, but
we can make him defend his liberal beliefs in the next election!!
I am not afraid to stand up to the judges because their decisions are changing the direction of this
Speaking of the courts, In June, the highest court in this land put women’s lives in danger by
striking down our requirement to have abortion doctors obtain admitting privileges at a local
This is about the safety of women. This is about ensuring those undergoing a dangerous medical
procedure are taken care of by quality physicians.
Why should we expect doctors to adhere to lower standards for abortion than appendicitis? Why
should we tolerate inferior clinics just because their patients are only women?
We should not.
This decision was an unconscionable decision, but one I guess we should expect by now from
the U.S. Supreme Court!
Your leaders in Jackson will not stop fighting for the rights of the unborn or the safety of these
mothers. We did that this year by stopping a particularly gruesome method of abortion and
prohibiting any of your tax dollars from going to Planned Parenthood.
I’m with Mississippians who believe life begins at conception and we will not rest until
Mississippi is the safest place in America for an unborn child.
The safety of all Mississippians is vitally important. I’m proud to be wearing this Flowood PD
shirt today to show my support for law enforcement – whether they are from Baton Rouge or
But we know law enforcement can’t be in all places at all times. That’s why, in the aftermath of
the tragic shooting inside a church in South Carolina last year, the Legislature passed the Church
Protection Act – putting very specific procedures in place to allow congregations to protect
themselves – if they so choose.
When I travel Mississippi, the Number 1 issue I hear you talk about is job creation – bringing
good-paying jobs to our state so our children and grandchildren will stay here and raise their
After college, Elee and I had the opportunity to move to a lot of different places. But we chose to
stay Mississippians. We chose this place to have our children. And we are determined to help
build an economy to allow us to grow old with our future grandchildren.
Now…I don’t believe that government creates jobs. Government’s role is to simply create the
environment that encourages the private sector to invest capital and create jobs.
One way to create that environment is to lower the cost of doing business here – by reducing
taxes for all Mississippi taxpayers.
States around this country that are economic powerhouses, that are creating the most jobs, like
Texas and Florida – do NOT tax your income!
If you want more of something, you tax it less. That’s why we have taken steps to start
eliminating the practice of taxing your income and small business’s capital – because we want
more and better jobs for our citizens.
Long-term economic growth requires a tax code that is fair. One that is flat. One that encourages
economic development not discourages it. That is why Speaker Gunn, Governor Bryant and I
joined together to phase out the state’s tax penalty on investments (the corporate franchise
tax). That’s why we joined together to provide tax relief to self-employed Mississippians.
And that’s why we have joined together to keep looking for ways to lower taxes – because we are
focused on growing the size of our economy, not on growing the size of our government!
Now, Democrats in Jackson are not happy with these lower taxes.
They believe the problem in Mississippi is that you are allowed to keep too much of your money.
They are wrong.
During the decades of Democratic control of state government, they built a maze of bureaucracy
and back-door budgeting. They devised rat-holes and work around to hide how much of your
money they were wasting.
Some call it the underground economy in Jackson. It let agencies build up their “off-budget”
accounts and spend money on travel, furniture and who knows what else without accountability
to you! “Off-budget” is not how Elee and I run our household, and it’s not how Republicans
should run our State Government.
The other issue we are focused on is how to raise the education attainment level of our citizens.
We cannot grow our economy without it.
We must stop a system that pours money into the central administrative office of the school
district not into the classroom.
Over the past five years, Mississippi is spending record amounts in education – including
programs that work in the classroom!
Reading coaches to ensure those children know how to read when they leave the third grade!
Professional development for teachers who sharpen their skills for the classroom.
Appointing superintendents and consolidating school districts to move more tax dollars to the
classroom – where it all starts!
Since these reforms have taken effect – our fourth graders are making gains with their peers in
other states; more students are graduating from high school; and we are investing in reading
skills and seeing results in the classroom.
I am the proud product of Rankin County public schools. I grew up in Florence where my
teachers helped build a strong foundation for me – they’re part of the reason I am where I am
I was fortunate to live in a community that valued education and would welcome the investment
we’ve made in all areas of education! Many of us here today are fortunate to live in communities
that demand positive results for students.
Success in public schools means focusing on what’s best for the children — not the adults. I
believe that every child in Mississippi deserves an opportunity for success. No matter their
background, their family’s means or their zip code, they should be able to choose what’s best for
their kids to reach their dreams.
But Mississippi Democrats have convinced an out-of-state group to tell us that we should not
provide all students with a quality education. They’re taking the state to court – costing you tax
dollars – to tell us that not all students deserve that chance to succeed in the classroom!
I’ll say this to that out of state group – If they are against school choice, then they are against
giving families a chance to change the direction of their family tree!
And that is not only morally wrong, it is wrong for our economy in the long-term!
When you elected me as lieutenant governor, I promised to fight for lower taxes and smaller
government. For a quality education for all children not the few. For promoting strong families
I told you what I would fight for…and I am doing exactly what I told you I would do. Kind of
refreshing concept from one of your elected leaders, huh?
Thank you and God Bless Mississippi!