NESHOBA COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS—Mississippi is growing and moving forward under conservative leadership Gov. Phil Bryant told the crowds gathered at the Neshoba County Fair in Philadelphia, Miss., on Thursday.
“Nineteen years ago, I had the opportunity to speak on this stage as state auditor. Today, I have the privilege to stand here as governor. With me then and with me today is Mississippi’s first lady and mine, Deborah Bryant,” Gov. Bryant told a packed crowd.
“Mississippi is on the right track,” Gov. Bryant said. “We’ve added more than 35,000 jobs to our economy over the past four years, and our state gross domestic product has reached and exceeded $100 billion for the first time in history. We’ve filled the Rainy Day Fund, and revenue has reached its highest level ever—proof that our economy is growing.
“Our state’s unemployment rate is 6.6 percent—the lowest it has been in more than seven years,” Gov. Bryant continued. “We’ve cut taxes on businesses 49 times over the past four years, and as a result, global corporations are choosing to locate in our state and local businesses are expanding. Thanks to our pro-job policies, private companies have invested more than $2.8 billion into growth and job expansion in our state in the past four years.
“We make the most advanced warships on the planet, and we have built 500,000 Toyota Corollas in Blue Springs and build 360,000 Nissans a year in Canton, Miss.—not China,” Gov. Bryant added. “We are number five in America for the growth of women-owned businesses, we have the number nine economic development agency in the country and we are among the top ten states for business.”
Mississippi is also reforming and improving public education, Gov. Bryant told fairgoers.
“This fiscal year, we invested $2.52 billion into K-12 education—more than ever before in state history. We’ve established a $100 million teacher pay raise, we’ve invested $39.5 million in reading coaches and we’ve trained more National Board Certified teachers than our neighboring states.
“We have also been serious about implementing transformational reforms,” Gov. Bryant said. “Before we created the Third Grade Gate literacy policy, nearly half of Mississippi third graders couldn’t read at an appropriate level. Now, 91 percent of Mississippi third graders have passed the state’s literacy test—a remarkable achievement. In fact, some schools had a 100 percent pass rate because they made learning to read a priority for their students and teachers.
“And this year, we established the Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Act to ensure that students with unique needs are given an opportunity to pursue education options that work best for them.
“We’ve ensured that our warfighters in the Mississippi National Guard have the opportunity to protect themselves, and we continue to defend and protect the Second Amendment with new firearms freedoms.
“Mississippi is moving forward, and our state is on the right track,” Gov. Bryant concluded. “The Mississippi Constitution states that all power is vested in and derived from the people. You are the sovereigns and we are the servants. We have accomplished a great deal these last four years, and I look forward to the challenge of continuing to make a positive difference in this state. God bless you, God bless the United States of America and God bless Mississippi.”