AUBREY PATTERSON: McDaniel’s way would cost state



As a businessman, lifelong Mississippian and member of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning for many years, I was dismayed when I read state Sen. Chris McDaniel’s assertion that, because the word “education” is not in the Constitution, it is unconstitutional to spend federal funds on education, federal funds should be eliminated and Mississippi could manage without them. By this twisted logic, the Federal Aviation Administration and national parks are unconstitutional also.

For every dollar that Mississippians send to the federal government, our state receives $3.15 in federal funds that are used to help improve the quality of life for all Mississippians through education, research, transportation and healthcare. Without these funds and the programs they support, Mississippi would suffer greatly.

As a member of the College Board, I am particularly aware that if McDaniel’s position were to become the prevailing way of doing business, then the critical university research that will save and improve lives ends.

• The research conducted at the University of Mississippi Medical Center to find a cure for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and pediatric AIDS would end.

• The Jackson Heart Study, a joint study involving Jackson State University, UMMC and Tougaloo College, the largest study in history to study blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, diabetes and other diseases in African Americans, would end

• The University of Mississippi research in developing insecticides and repellents to use against mosquitoes and the diseases they transmit would end.

• The research conducted at the University of Southern Mississippi to develop materials to prevent brain injuries would end.

• The research conducted at Mississippi State University that has increased yield for soybeans, cotton, timber and other crops would end.

• The research that Alcorn State University has conducted to prevent soil erosion and climate change would end.

• The research conducted at the University of Southern Mississippi to study the Gulf of Mexico to facilitate sustainable use of the Gulf that provides the food and fuel we all enjoy would end.

If McDaniel’s position were to become the prevailing way of doing business, then Mississippi students would suffer. Many students rely heavily on federal student financial aid to be able to afford college. Parents in Mississippi want their children to have a better life than they did. They recognize that education is key to fulfilling this desire. College graduates are more likely to volunteer, vote and raise healthier and better-educated children. They have better health themselves and are less likely to need government programs. In short, when a Mississippi student graduates from college, we all reap the benefits.

In a word, if McDaniel’s position were to become the prevailing way of doing business, it would be catastrophic for the university system. Some universities would probably not survive. Thousands of jobs could be lost.

It would require an almost $2 billion state tax increase for Mississippi to continue providing educational services that are currently provided to students on all levels, from kindergarten to universities. Both public and private institutions would suffer.

Mississippi’s most pressing problems, low educational attainment, low income, high unemployment and poor health, would increase exponentially if the resources provided to our state from federal funds were cut off. I urge all Mississippians to consider how greatly our quality of life would be impacted if we were to adopt Chris McDaniel’s way of doing business and refuse the opportunities that are provided through federally-funded programs.

Finally, as a bank CEO for 22 years and as a former Chairman of the American Bankers Association, I have had the privilege of working closely with Gov. Phil Bryant and former Gov. Haley Barbour as they have led Mississippi to new levels of achievement in economic development. At every step of the way in every process, Thad Cochran has played a predictably quiet but highly effective role in ensuring the active support and assistance of the federal government. Thad is in line to again become chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee if the Republicans take the majority. Our neighbors in Alabama are obviously excited at the possibility that their Sen. Shelby will take Thad’s place as chairman if Thad is not in the Senate next year. It makes no sense for us in Mississippi to hand over the leadership role to Alabama when we have to compete with them for economic development prospects.

Furthermore, I saw firsthand as ABA Chairman the many occasions when Thad’s quiet influence played a key role in protecting our community banks from overzealous regulation and legislation. His leadership has never been more valuable or more needed than it is today. We cannot afford to sit idly by and let out-of-state money and television sound bites take the place of true leadership shown by Senator Cochran.

Aubrey Patterson of Tupelo is a recently retired bank chairman and CEO and current president of the state Board of Trustees of Institutions of Higher Learning.

Click video to hear audio

  • LeftinMS

    Thank you, Aubrey, for sharing your voice of reason

  • Thile


    At least three of these comments or some similar to it will be posted here.


    Adding to Patterson’s comments, these federal research dollars are competitive, meaning they aren’t simply handouts to the universities he sites. Rather, the scientists at those universities must present proposals with the required intellectual property and other means justification to first earn the honor to compete and then win the receipt of the funds. What Sen Cochran has done is help build the infrastructure at those universities required to retain or attract the experience and intellectual property necessary to compete. What happens in the absence, MS bleeds talent to other regions of the country. Objectors will say leave this research, this development in new processes and treatments to the private sector. And it is true, research and development in the private sector is phenomenal; indeed in many ways the reason development is so very rapid today. But even the private sector realizes the crucial importance of academic (public) research, for even the private sector not only helps provide funding but will readily acknowledge the necessity for exploratory investigation; investigation the private sector can rarely afford: investigation required to lay the groundwork of innovation for the future. Otherwise, we stagnate.

    MS needs more leaders who understand the importance of education; the importance of innovation; the critical position these two things hold in the potential growth of the region. MS needs more leaders who understand the fact that MS doesn’t and can’t operate in a vacuum. We must operate as part of the union of states the Constitution established; as a part of the Federal government. This war ended over a century ago: isn’t it time to stop fighting it.

  • Mary Turner

    So sad to think that THAD created Mississippi and that I have voted for him in the past when I didn’t have a choice! These are the basis for my conclusion as part of the grassroot citizenry of Mississippi:

    1)Money does not create an educated people. USDOE longterm study 1979-1999, among other studies, indicates that increased funding does not increase achievement levels

    2) Chris does not advocate for the defunding of education in America, simply the deletion of the USDOE, dispersing operational and grant funds to the individual states. If you are so interested in more money for Mississippi, that would actually bring in more.

    3) I think Chris does want to cut out some of the unnecessary research such as the breeding habits of mountain quail .That would be so sad. Getting federal grants into our state is not the purpose of education. Private corporations are doing the cutting edge research.

    4) Mississippi should not have to rely on federal funds to thrive ,with the abundant natural resources and conservative values that the typical Mississippian possesses, especially with the $17 trillion debt and $200 trillion in unsecured liabilties.

    Let us put our hands back in our own pockets and start giving and fighting for the liberty of our children and grandchildren!

    This comes from my own experience as a 41 year veteran retired teacher. I know what it takes to educate a child and throwing money at them is not the way it is done.

    • TWBDB

      Mary, I don’t know why but the level of misinformation you state is still shocking to me.

      Private novel entrepreneurial enterprise grows best in regions where intellectual property is highly concentrated: regions where you find the best academic/ public / private partnerships. Just look at the hubs of biotech, engineering, energy, etc. You not only require the novel ideas spawned in an academic environment, but you at minimum need the trained personnel to get the job done. The most successful private industry utilizes this partnership to their advantage. Health related industry research utilizes the resources and capabilities of research hospitals for their expertise, not to mention the availability of patient samples – a network required for this work to proceed. Energy companies invest in public institutional research, along with the government, to address the future needs of not just the public, but the military and the readiness required to keep our nation secure. This DOE funding you’re talking about, not only funds for ‘alternative fuels’ ( a target of the Tea Party ): but you may not realize that much of this same biologically based technology is being used to investigate cures for cancer, etc. Your statements indicate that you simply have no idea about the the overall connectivity of this grander private / public / academic research and development community and just how it benefits us all.

      I’m speaking from knowledge obtained in my own personal experience: not from a political bullet point war sheet.

      These isolationists ideals promoted to a misinformed public infuriate me because I can’t help but believe someone running for US Senate doesn’t have knowledge of this basic network in which live and work in a modern society. If they don’t, they sure as hell don’t deserve to be sent to represent MS

      • Ells Worth

        You speak from personal experience? Seems suspect for someone that hides their identity when making a statement.
        The Dept. of Education is a total waste, so is the Dept of Energy, Homeland Security is a joke. Congress should decide how to spend tax dollars rather than allow unelected bureaucrats to take their cut before being dispersed. Of course Mr. Patterson does not care if the states only get a portion of the funds allocated because he has had a pretty good career with the leftover funds.
        Mr. unknown talks about how private companies invest in education, that is how America become prosperous because industry knows how to educate people so they can be productive. Common core is a prime example why the federal government needs to stay out of education.

        • TWBDB

          Mr. Worth, my initials are right before your eyes. I respectfully refer to you as Mr. Worth; you may refer to me as Mr. Brown. Yes, I spoke of private industry / academia / government partnership, in the same context as Mr. Patterson, that of research and innovation, the world in which I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked for the last 30 years. Mr. Patterson wasn’t speaking of K-12 education and neither was I. In my travels I’ve witnessed first-hand the benefits of this phenomenal partnership to health, energy, commerce, and the well-being of the communities in which true innovation inhabits. I’m passionate about my home state of MS becoming an active participant in this wonderful enriching environment. I want MS to become one of the states which gives more than it takes: provides the knowledge of the possibilities, the opportunities available for personal and professional growth that I had no idea even existed until I left the state. I want my little relatives to know that they too can work to cure cancer, work to create renewable energy resources, whatever they dream. It would be wonderful if they have the opportunity to do these things near their home, I couldn’t and can’t now because those opportunities currently either don’t exist or are incredibly rare in the region. Hell, you can hardly even have a corporate travel position because travel to and from the region is so limited.

          I digress. The fact is Mr. Worth, some of us share real experience on this little talk show we call the Daily Journal, it’s our outreach to our home. I ask you to respect this contribution as I do yours. I dare say we’ll agree but we can at the very least have an adult conversation.

          To that end, Common Core, to my knowledge, grew out of a need for private industry and higher education to have a common benchmark for a high school diploma. It began as a partnership of governors, the states, supported by the federal government, not run by the federal government. It’s a way for an educational institution in California to know an ‘A’ GPA in MS is valid; a way for a corporation to know the money they invest in research and innovation isn’t being spent re-evaluating and re-educating what should have been done in the first place.

          The federal institutions you speak of are corruptible; they do engage in wasteful, misdirected spending, perhaps even sometimes intentionally, I’ll give you that. On the other hand, this partnership of which I speak has brought and continues to bring us incredible innovations which have
          changed the world of commerce, personalized medicine, etc. Private industry can’t do this alone Mr. Worth – innovation quite often requires years of failure to develop and private industry can’t afford that. They can invest in specifics, areas where a piece of knowledge will assist them in their efforts. Government tends to invest in the broader picture, the generalities where discovery sometimes comes from the unexpected. States can invest in the infrastructure, the K-12 efforts to prepare the next generation. People can believe in the future and prefer the vision of a promising tomorrow instead of chaos. They can desire change and structure in the public and private institutions we build and support to grow this partnership: or they can tear it all down. I prefer to support change and structure.

  • 1941641

    As a reader of the Daily Journal, I Thank you, Mary, for your commentary.

    That 41 years you taught school before retiring must have been rewarding for you as well as very demanding, too. I am assuming you were a public school teacher who received federal/state funds for your efforts which were, basically, performed in publicly owned and supported school facilities.

    Do you think this is the time to gut education as we now know it in favor of a TP politician’s personal whims which, by the way, Mr. Aubrey Patterson has recently called “Twisted Logic”?

    “Twisted Logic” would be a great title for a book written on the events that have occurred throughout this on-going election in Mississippi. And, It ain’t over yet!

    Who knows what lurks in the hearts of politicians? Only the—–knows!

  • Mikoma

    Well said. Thanks, Aubrey!

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  • BigJon46

    Federal dollars are tax dollars extorted form the population. Do away with the department of Education return turn money wasted there and a raise in taxes is not required. Also every dollar returned to the state from the feds has many, many strings attached. Strings like Common Core.
    Thad Cochran has refused to listen to the people of Mississippi when he voted on Obama care, sending military equipment to Egypt when the Muslim Brotherhood was in charge, voted for all of Obama’s judges, John Kerry and Chuck Hagel. The unMississippi voting goes…
    It is time for Cochran to come home.

    • FrereJocques

      And tell me, BigJon, have you done the actual math to determine how much money is Mississippi’s share of the “waste” by the DOE? And how–by what magic?–would Mississippi’s share of those wasted funds “return” to Mississippi citizens? And then compared those numbers? I haven’t either, as I have other things to do in my life that are more important. But I’m willing to bet you that if someone DID run those numbers, the “savings” would be FAR LESS than break-even.

      I don’t know how many times it must be said, but Common Core is NOT a Federal program. It was originally put together by the GOVERNORS OF THE STATES, and APPROVED BY THEM, as the direction that Education needs to go to foster growth in business and industry (which IS one of the main goals of the TeePee movement). Typical TeePee and Conservative hypocrisy: Set a goal, then destroy the means to achieve said goal. You people are nuts. No wonder the populace is turning against you.

      • Jiminator

        Common Core has definitely been co-opted by the federal government. The Obama administration made Race to the Top funds and No Child Left
        Behind waivers contingent on states’ signing on to Common Core. From your statements, you seem pretty comfortable using Common Core “metrics” that haven’t been
        checked out before they’re used to make important decisions about whether people keep their jobs.

        Common Core supporters see federalism as an obstacle to be finessed,
        rather than a principle to be treasured and embraced. Aspiring
        technocrats see an obligation to bludgeon as many states as possible
        into getting with the program, on their preferred timetable. It’s this one-size-fits-all remedy that mirrors the mindset that has
        brought the whole state of education to this point.

        • FrereJocques

          Jiminator, let me ask you: Why should the students in one state receive a lesser quality education than students in another state? Shouldn’t the goal be to have ALL students, regardless of what state they live in, the richest or the poorest, California or Mississippi, receive the SAME high-class education? If I am educated in Mississippi, I would want to be able to accept a job offer in California and have the same qualifications as a California-educated resident. Why would you find it acceptable to allow one state to have lower educational standards than another?

          Common Core, as I said earlier, was a program pushed by the Governors Association. They worked in partnership with business leaders from across the nation, businesses big and small, and actually listened to the business leaders tell them what kind of qualifications and education level they needed in their workforce. Consistency and uniformity were top priorities, so that, to borrow a phrase, no job applicant would be left behind. I really don’t understand: this is the kind of cooperation and consensus that EVERYONE should be behind. Big Business, at who’s feet the Conservatives seem to worship, came forward to help solve the huge problem of inadequate education of our Nation’s children, and Conservatives (led, again, by the Right-Wing Christian Coalition) has rejected their ideas, mainly on the basis that Common Core is something new and is misunderstood. Our own Conservative darling Guv’nor, Uncle Philbert, has endorsed Common Core, as has Haley Barbour. So. What are you so afraid of?

          • Jiminator

            I disagree with Common Core for two primary reasons…first, I believe educational decisions are best managed locally. Instead of sending money to Washington to pay a bunch of bureaucrats to make decisions and then redistribute that money as they see fit, local folks elected by and held accountable by the community they serve should make those decisions. Next, I don’t see that the one-size-fits-all approach that is Common Core is essentially different than the approach that got us where we are now.

            I understand your position on Common Core and the goals it is intended to achieve. But you cannot deny that the Obama administration has overtaken the whole concept by making waivers for Race to the Top funds and No Child Left Behind contingent on states’ adoption of Common Core. You should be outraged by that fact alone. Where was the Governors Association in opposing that development? Why aren’t they withdrawing support and retrenching?

            I was intrigued by your comment “consistency and uniformity were top priorities”. Talk with any teacher and they will tell you that consistency and uniformity is about the worst possible approach to teaching because many kids have different styles of learning. Certainly, I trust a local teacher on my children’s educational decisions far more than a national-level politician, and to be honest, use of the words “consistency” and “uniformity” would indicate to me that not many boots-on-the-ground teachers were involved enough in the development of the program.

            Now I realize that your final question, “what are you afraid of”, was a bit of hyperbole. I ask in response…given the obvious results of our federal government’s involvement in education over the past 35 years, why do you continue to support Common Core given that the federal government is now working hard to take it over?

  • ringostarr1

    Come on Mississippi, dump Senator Cochran. Then your Eastern Neighbors can pauper you to death by eating Mississippi’s bowl of porridge as well as our own helping of Federal mush.
    We Alabamians don’t care how hot or now cold our bowl of Federal hominy grits are. Just so they still have those pictures of dead presidents on the bowl they’ll be jussssst riiiight. We’re more than happy to spend both your share of Federal Dollars and our share of Federal money on Alabama.
    So vote Cochran out of the US Senate and vote Mississippi into the poor house. We’re counting on you over here in Alabama to do the right thing for us and the wrong thing for Mississippi, so don’t disappoint us now, you hear?

  • jjwestP07

    Aubrey Patterson of Tupelo and Cochran seem to just want the status quo of looters to remain the same. Time for new blood in D.C

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