Monday, December 21st, 2020
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Our Best Days are
Ahead Mississippi...
Hello Mississippi. It’s almost Christmas Day, and about that time to ring in the New Year. I have a few thoughts as we move into this typically festive time that’s filled with all kinds of mixed emotions this year.

First, let’s all figure out a way to do something kind for our fellowman. Two, discover something constructive to put your mind on so that negativity does not consume you. Three, despite the 2020 challenges that include Covid-19, racial injustice, climate change, and political unrest that we have experienced, we must press forward in hopes that we inspire the next generation of young Mississippians to “Be Great.” 

Mississippi, I am inclined to believe, our best days are ahead....
Bolivar County, Mississippi
Central District Transportation Commissioner Willie Simmons has done a great job thus far in his new role. I expect the same going forward. His new office in Cleveland, Mississippi recently opened up. I am proud to say it's located in House District 29.
President & Chief Executive Officer at Cleveland State Bank Daniel Whalen and I got to talk in downtown Cleveland a few days ago. We chatted about how he and his wife moved to the Mississippi Delta and never left. As we were parting, he commented and stated, "Happiness is what you make it." I am glad he decided to settle in Bolivar County.
Social Media Notable Items...
Point of View
A few days ago, I received an email from a person that was not so happy with the positive tone of my emails. I was accused of not addressing the important issues that confront Mississippi and the Mississippi Delta. Let me be clear in saying, in my opinion, everything about Mississippi isn’t bad. I look at it as my “responsibility” to find both the positive attributes that we possess as well as highlight the challenges. In the past, my coverage has been quite balanced along with my voting record. Please check out my "old" newsletters. I have attempted to consistently express my perspective (for the benefit of Bolivar and Sunflower County constituents) during legislative session about why I voted one way or the other via email blast and text messages over the past 5 years. Additionally, when we are out of session I also try to keep folks up to date on relevant and pertinent topics that impact them. I’ll continue to do that, but I am always open to hear the perspective of Mississippians. I take no personal offense at hearing another person’s point of view. Furthermore, I appreciate all the feedback I get from these communications because it makes me a better legislator.
Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area Grant Program
The Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area (MDNHA) is one of 55 National Heritage Areas in the United States designated by Congress. The MDNHA is a partnership between the people of the 18-county Mississippi Delta and the National Park Service. The MDNHA grants program issues grants to organizations that do projects around five themes: The River and The Land, The Blues, Freedom, Creativity Beyond Cotton, and Diverse Communities. Please CLICK HERE to find out more about this grant opportunity that closes on Friday, January 15, 2021 at 11:59 pm central standard time.
Delta Leadership Intitiative
The Delta Leadership Initiative is an organization designed to promote equity in food systems. The Delta Leadership is seeking leaders with solutions on how to bring access to healthy and affordable food to the Mississippi Delta. Please CLICK HERE to learn more about this opportunity.
Mississippi Protects
Renters & Landlords
Mississippi invested more money (proportionally) toward rent relief than other Southern states. Wingo Smith, Action Regional Policy Analyst for Southern Poverty Law Center, wrote this article. Here is an excerpt, but you can CLICK HERE to read full article:

In October, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves and the Mississippi Legislature took significant steps to protect renters and aid landlords during the current health and economic crisis. The state has invested nearly $59 million toward rent relief – proportionally more than any other state in the Deep South and in stark contrast to Alabama and Georgia’s failure to protect tenants and landlords. Such efforts are needed amid the COVID-19 pandemic. One report estimates that the Deep South will see over 2 million evictions by January 2021, with landlords losing approximately $4.2 billion in rent.
Higher Purpose
Looking for a job opportunity? Higher Purpose Co. of Clarksdale, Mississippi is hiring. This is an economic justice non-profit organization designed to empower and enfranchise Black residents in Mississippi. Higher Purpose addresses issues of poverty, inequality, and racism here in Mississippi. Higher Purpose is seeking to hire a Finance & Grant Coordinator and Chief Operating Officer. Please CLICK HERE to find out more about these job opportunities.
Snap Incentives
1 in 10 families in the United States benefit from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
(SNAP), a program that helps millions of individuals and families with low-incomes buy groceries.

As part of SNAP, the government established the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives (FINI) program and set aside $100 million in funds for SNAP “incentive” programs, which have become a powerful way to incentivize participants to buy nutritious produce. These incentives act as an economic engine for the state and local economy, in addition to promoting healthy communities. Farmers, grocery store owners, farmer’s market vendors and small retail stores all reap the benefit from higher sales of produce.

To help spur economic growth in our community, we must support SNAP incentives and procure the necessary funds to establish a strong incentives program. An established SNAP incentives program can be a catalyst for economic growth while also dealing with hunger issues across communities:

• SNAP incentives can increase spending on fruits and vegetables in grocery stores, which generates economic growth. Every $5 spent using SNAP generates as much as $9 in economic activity.

• SNAP incentives generate job growth. Every $1 billion of SNAP benefits also creates 8,900 - 17,900 full-time jobs.

• SNAP incentives have had a direct impact on revenues for local merchants, especially farmers. According to the USDA’s Economic Research Service, each $1 billion of retail generated by SNAP creates $340 million in farm production, $110 million in farm value added, and 3,300 farm jobs.

• SNAP incentives can spur increased spending on fruits and vegetables in grocery stores, which means many store owners benefit from increased sales.

• SNAP incentives directed at low-income populations are associated with expanded physical access to healthy foods.

• SNAP incentives benefit some of the most vulnerable populations in our country, helping to reduce food insecurity. Nearly two-thirds of all SNAP participants are children, elderly, and people with disabilities. It’s hard to ignore the benefits of a strong SNAP incentives program.

Please CLICK HERE to find out more.
Looking like Christmas at the Mississippi State Capitol
Mississippi Delta Views
BEWARE at Christmas Gatherings
Entrepreneur Support in
Mississippi Delta
Please text me at 662-522-1400 for additional questions or inquiries.