October and November are two of my favorite months in the Mississippi Delta. The weather is perfect as the seasons change. As the days get shorter, you can feel the holiday season in the air. For me, it has always been a time of reflection and preparation.
As a first year legislator, I have to also consider other things during this time of year. It has become the time of year that I begin assessing opportunities and threats for Mississippi. This is my assessment:
*Losing Population (Millennial Brain Drain)
*Forecasting Flat Economic Growth (Performing worse than other Southern States)
*Crumbling Infrastructure (Bad for tourism and industry)
*Maintaining Negative Brand (Change the Flag)
*Hurting Small Communities (Poor Infrastructure-Water, Sewage, & Streets)
*Raise Gas Tax (to improve roads and bridges)
*Start Lottery (to raise money for public education)
*Train More Certified Educators in Mississippi (to motivate and inspire youth)
*Encourage Entrepreneurship (to foster scalable business models)
*Remember our CULTURE (to make every Mississippians proud of his or her state)
*Implement Internet Sales Tax (to generate more REVENUE)
If you live in Mississippi, I encourage you to call or email your legislator to find out where they stand on some of the above issues; particularly, the opportunities. If you take notice, the opportunities PRIMARILY describe ways to increase revenue. If we don't look at our budget in that way, we are not being fiscally responsible for the Mississippians who voted us in office. Many elected officials believe in cutting government, but I think that hurts areas like the Mississippi Delta the most. I am optimistic the Mississippi Legislature will endeavor to support initiatives that help us to increase revenue versus looking to reduce it.
This legislative session, I plan on introducing some of the same bills I introduced last years and a few new ones as well. I will continue to be a champion for the people I represent. What do I mean by that? I will vote against what I perceive to be negative policy for the Mississippi Delta. At the same time, I am excited about Mississippi Deltans taking a part in their own success. We will do our fair share to make our area better, but we will not be silent about the challenges that exist which must be supported by our state government.
Abe M. Hudson, Jr.