Edelia Carthan Photo courtesy Elect Edelia Dr. Jay Carthan
Edelia Carthan is a Democratic candidate for Mississippi House District 71. The answers below are the candidates' verbatim responses, with no edits whatsoever. Find more state legislative candidate questionnaires here. Read more 2019 state political coverage here.
What are your top priorities, if elected?
My top priorities if elected is to call for a Constitutional Convention to change the 1890 State Constitution which was rewritten after Reconstruction to limit African Americans political power, voting rights, and access to education. The State Constitution is the root cause of most of Mississippi's problems. We need a new constitution. I will fight to fully fund public education and to provide access to adequate and affordable healthcare especially to the over 300,000 Mississippians currently without healthcare. Women's rights, equal pay, criminal justice reform, and race relations are among my top priorities.
What are your priorities for your district?
Recruiting new businesses to District 71 that will create high paying jobs is among my top priorities. I will work to get funding for a housing improvement project to help develop parts of South Jackson. I will help the schools in the District go from B and C rated schools to A rated schools. Making sure residents of District 71 have access to high quality emergency and after hours health care.
What are your views on public education funding?
Mississippi should fully fund public education as well as provide teachers with a decent pay raise. Our children are our greatest asset. We have to invest in them on the front end or we will pay on the back end. Mississippi has been paying on the back end by investing in prisons instead of investing in education. We can solve most of our problems by providing our children with a high quality well rounded global education. Our teachers deserve decent pay raises. Teachers are training our future and should be well compensated for such a responsibility. Nelson Mandela once said, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." I couldn't agree more. We change Mississippi by improving education.
How do you think Mississippi can solve its teacher shortage?
Mississippi can solve it's teacher shortage by giving teachers a decent pay raise and by fully funding education. Mississippi could join 33 other states who have legalize cannabis in some capacity and use that money to improve education, healthcare, and infrasture in Mississippi.
What are your ideas for improving healthcare coverage and access?
Mississippi could improve education, healthcare and infrastructure with the taxes collected from legalizing cannabis. We could offer free and adequate healthcare to all Mississippians. No one should die or lose a limb because they can't afford medication or medical procedures.
What are your ideas on criminal justice reform?
The system is broken. The current criminal justice system does not reform or help individuals, it criminalizes them. We need a system that wants to rehabilitate individuals and help them become productive citizens. We may need a 9 or 7 member commission to look at reforming the current criminal justice system.
What is your position on the six-week abortion ban the Legislature passed this year?
The Government should NOT be discussing abortion and what women do with their bodies. The abortion ban is unconstitutional and is in violation of the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision that federally legalized abortion.
Do you have specific plans to address issues that disproportionately affect African Americans and other minorities?
Yes, I plan to address the state Constitution and other policies that disproportionately affect African Americans and other minorities such as the unfair policing procedures as well as zero tolerance and other school policies.
Why are you running?
I am running because we need strong representation in the Mississippi Legislature. We need a strong voice that will speak out on important issues. I am that strong voice! I have a proven track record of speaking out on important issues and being the voice of the people. I will continue to be that voice and speak up, stand up and show up for change in Mississippi. Now is the time and we are the Ones!
What will you do to make the Legislature more transparent and accountable?
I am for allowing cameras to cover all sessions. The public should be allowed to see what is going on at the Capitol. I will provide information to the citizens through social media and email to help keep them informed on important issues.
Why are you the best candidate?
Out of all the candidates running in District 71, I am the best candidate because I have over 15 years of experience in education, effective leadership and fighting for civil and human rights. I have spent the last four years studying the U.S. Constitution as well as the state constitution. I am ready to serve on Day 1. I will use my voice to speak up and speak out for all people. On August 6, I am the only choice for change in Mississippi.
Read more 2019 state political coverage here. Find more candidate questionnaires at jacksonfreepress.com/2019msleg.