Fleming says wrong question being asked in the Senate race | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Fleming says wrong question being asked in the Senate race

JACKSON—-State Representative Erik Fleming, D-Clinton, a Democratic candidate for the United States Senate, today released this statement:

"The talk amongst all of the political columnists and pundits throughout the state is will Chester Trent Lott, Jr. run for a fourth term in the U. S. Senate. There has been a lot of speculation about scenarios if he is re-elected or if he retires, who will run.

"The real question that should be asked is: Should Lott be re-elected? Of course, I would say no from a biased opinion, but here is the case against a re-election. Mississippi is in the same shape it was in 1988. Our beloved state is still the poorest in the nation, with the lowest median income in the country and over 25 percent of its population in poverty. This status has remained constant even though Mr. Lott has had the distinction of serving as Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate.

"Whereas he has brought significant dollars to certain industries in this state, his votes on key issues has perpetuated the cycle of poverty this state has not escaped from. He voted to make it harder for citizens to file for bankruptcy, to help them become financially whole again, especially after incidents like a catastrophic illness. He voted to limit overtime access for workers. He has been a staunch opponent of an increase in the Federal Minimum Wage. He voted to make it harder for a family to put a loved one in a nursing home, by making an applicant for Medicaid wait three years to sell assets to qualify.

"Lott has not supported or promoted projects for Southwest Mississippi, which had double-digit unemployment before Hurricane Katrina hit. He has voted for cuts in the COPS program, which has provided over 1700 police officers to patrol our neighborhoods. There are still places in this state that do not have access to running water, decent public transportation or preventative and primary health care.

"Many have argued that Lott's seniority will be beneficial to this state, especially if he regains a leadership position in the wake of Katrina. Lott himself said that his only motivation to seek leadership was ‘to make some people in Washington nervous.' Not the statesman-like answer one would expect from a victim of the worst natural disaster in American history.

"It is for those reasons, and many others, that it should be questioned whether Senator Lott deserves another six years in Washington. I am offering myself as an alternative to what I deem as status quo Beltway politics. I believe with all my heart that Mississippi can do better and it is my intent to prove to the voters of this state over the coming months that I am the person that can lead the way."

Previous Comments

ID
169954
Comment

"The real question that should be asked is: Should Lott be re-elected? Of course, I would say no from a biased opinion, but here is the case against a re-election. Mississippi is in the same shape it was in 1988. Our beloved state is still the poorest in the nation, with the lowest median income in the country and over 25 percent of its population in poverty. This status has remained constant even though Mr. Lott has had the distinction of serving as Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate. "Whereas he has brought significant dollars to certain industries in this state, his votes on key issues has perpetuated the cycle of poverty this state has not escaped from. He voted to make it harder for citizens to file for bankruptcy, to help them become financially whole again, especially after incidents like a catastrophic illness. He voted to limit overtime access for workers. He has been a staunch opponent of an increase in the Federal Minimum Wage. He voted to make it harder for a family to put a loved one in a nursing home, by making an applicant for Medicaid wait three years to sell assets to qualify. These are very powerful points you are making, Rep. Fleming. These are important questions a state that is a slave, pardon the expression, to federal pork—and who like Mr. Lott because he can bring home the bacon to a state that supposedly loathes the feds. The question is: Why has Mississippi not gotten better and stronger with Mr. Lott in such a powerful position rather than stayed on the bottom? Could it be because we're too reliant on pork and not self-reliant enough because we don't take enough responsibility for ourselves, our education, our needy? (This is where I wear my "progressive Republican" hate, so to speak). I've long asked these questions. I really get tired of the Clarion-Ledger-type rhetoric about pork and power. I tend to think that support of Sen. Lott overall -- although I can dig some of his individual beliefs, like being anti-Goliath media companies -- as a big of that soft bigotry of low expectations. Why can't we do more for ourselves than expect the good senator to use him oomph to bring home all that federal charity? Don't get me wrong: I can like grants with the best of 'em, but your point about what is being overlooked by Mr. Lott's policy is an excellent one. Some of that keeping-us-down-to-keep-him-up thing starts to creep in there.

Author
ladd
Date
2006-01-10T01:21:15-06:00
ID
169955
Comment

The self-reliance issue is the key, and it is not just limited to clean-up after a disaster. During my tenure in the Legislature I have successfully passed legislation to teach financial literacy in the public schools and have been an advocate for entrepreneurship training as well. When I came here, several Mississippian were CEOs of Fortune 500 companies but none of those companies were headquartered here. We now have two Mississippi natives who are billionaires, but neither one of them lives here. If we are going to move our state forward, then our best and brightest must stay and develop industry here.

Author
Rep. Erik Fleming
Date
2006-01-10T09:52:59-06:00
ID
169956
Comment

We now have two Mississippi natives who are billionaires, but neither one of them lives here. If we are going to move our state forward, then our best and brightest must stay and develop industry here. Agreed. And a big part of not running off the bright, progressive, creative minds is for candidates to actually treat them like they're smart. For too long, the state has run off its brightest minds and then treated the ones who remain like they don't matter. And that includes the Democratic Party (see the Head blog right now). But we're at a time where a lot of the bright minds are staying, or returning, to fight for their state. And you made such a good point: ANYBODY who has been in power over so many years of Mississippi staying on the bottom should be suspect ... or, better yet, summarily booted. I don't give a damn what part they're in. And this state has got the demographics to do it. It's about voter *motivation.*

Author
ladd
Date
2006-01-10T10:45:46-06:00
ID
169957
Comment

The question is: Why has Mississippi not gotten better and stronger with Mr. Lott in such a powerful position rather than stayed on the bottom? I suspect that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts, absolutely.

Author
JSU
Date
2006-01-10T11:54:33-06:00

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