Q: Describe for us the experience of walking into the Capitol and being sworn in Friday. How did that feel? What emotions did you experience?
A: Mississippi's State Capitol building is a testament to the hopes, dreams and aspirations of her people. Its beauty and symbolism inspires both visitor and elected official alike. There were feelings of reverence and patriotism intermingled during those first moments of service as your state senator. The road ahead will be tough, but the office and our people are so worth it.
Q: I assume you'll quickly join the discussions now taking place in the Legislature. What's the most important issue our policymakers must tackle right now, in your opinion?
A: Budget, budget and budget. Other issues will take center stage, such as redistricting, education, Medicaid, mental health and, as always, economic development, but in almost every case, most issues connect back to the short-term budget crisis. While I believe that requires our utmost attention, I intend to impress upon my colleagues that our long-term budget obligations in many of these program areas spell trouble tomorrow if we do not become accountable today.
Q: Are there any legislators who you emulate and who you hope to learn from during your first time in office? Who and why?
A: During my lifetime, I have had the honor of knowing personally many past legislators. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet and talk with those who serve today. I plan to listen, learn and look at all perspectives. It will take a team to fix the many problems of our state and to envision and capitalize on the opportunities of our state. I am approaching everyone in the Senate Chamber with an open-mindedness and optimism as we conduct the business of you, the people.