Posts Tagged ‘Stennis Lunch’

RR: Keenum serves up maroon meat at Stennis

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

This month’s luncheon sponsored by The John C. Stennis Institute of Government and the Capitol Press Corps featured Dr. Mark Keenum, president of Mississippi State University.  Keenum spoke on MSU’s efforts to deal with budget cuts, and his optimism at the future of the expanding university.  Here is an excerpt that shows Keenum’s leadership during tough economic times, something more state leaders should emulate:

He explained upon beginning his administration last year he immediately faced a five percent budget cut and spent all but three weeks of his first six months as president in Jackson lobbying for level funding this year. He succeeded, but when he returned to Starkville he instructed all departments to write budgets that assumed a five percent cut again.

“Sure enough, last month, the governor made a five percent cut,” Keenum said. “We were already prepared for that.”

Keenum also initiated cost savings efficiencies: by transitioning from paper checks to electronic transactions, the university is saving $400,000 a year.

You can read the full column at the Madison County Journal: Perry / MSU prepared for budget cuts

RR: Obama’s unilateral economy

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

Unpopular policies, global outrage, longterm credibility problems domestically and internationally: this is not George W. Bush fighting the War in Iraq, this is Barack H. Obama struggling through an economic recession which his administration owns more every day, and which continues to move his poll numbers down. Here are some excerpts from this week’s column: Obama’s unliateral economy

The economy may become President Barack Obama’s Iraq War. Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, faced plummeting poll numbers as the American public, anxious for victory, grew fatigued as Bush strategies (some successful, some not) failed to provide resolution.

Americans agreed we need security; we disagreed on the necessity of an invasion of Iraq. Americans agreed we need economic recovery; we disagree on whether it requires trillions of dollars of spending, taxes, and debt.

By ordering the termination of General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner, or threatening massive targeted tax increases at AIG employees whose contracts provided for bonuses, Obama and the Democrats show every ounce of cowboy arrogance they accused of Bush and Republicans on foreign policy.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner informed Congress last week, “We will work with the Europeans, we cannot move alone,” but he said, “We cannot wait for consensus with the rest of the world.” Geithner’s unilateral economic policy was exactly what the Obama campaign criticized Bush’s foreign policy for embracing.

But Obama’s global economic policy - like Bush’s foreign policy - is not truly unilateral. In addition to a number of smaller nations who turn to America’s leadership, our long stalwart friend Great Britain remains by our side.

But for all the political damage done to Tony Blair’s Labour Party by Bush, Obama inflicts comparable harm on Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The British Conservative party has told Brown “you have run out of our money” and he faces opposition from the Bank of England Governor, as well as a lack of demand for the purchase of U.K. government bonds to finance his growing debt.

German finance minister Peer Steinbruck called Brown’s U.K. stimulus, “crass Keynesianism.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel proclaimed, “I will not let anyone tell me that we must spend more money.” Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said it was “never the intention” of the G20 to create additional global stimulus. France and the Czech Republic agree.

You can read the rest of the column that includes thoughts on the G20 meeting and impressions from Ronald Roosdorp, Private Secretary to the Vice Prime Minister and the Minister of Economic Affairs of the Netherlands who last week addressed a Stennis Institute forum in Jackson, online at the Madison County Journal: Perry / Obama’s unilateral economy.

Barbour, Bryant announce legislative agendas

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

This week in Reasonably Right I write about Governor Barbour and Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant’s legislative agendas.  Barbour discussed his priorities at the Stennis-Capitol Press Corps luncheon where he also announced some good news from Toyota.  Bryant released his in a press release. Both have been hitting talk radio and conservative groups to get their folks engaged. Here are some excerpts from the column:

[Barbour's] priorities for 2009 are protecting and adding jobs, completing Katrina rebuilding, a “fair, permanent, sustainable funding solution” for Medicaid, Voter ID, workforce development and job training, and a health insurance exchange.

Barbour spent the bulk of his time addressing the budget.

Barbour is in his final term as governor; he seeks conservative executive governance. Bryant doesn’t hide his future political ambitions; he promotes conservative legislative priorities.

Bryant released his priorities list last week calling it his “2009 Common Sense Legislative Agenda.”

Bryant’s education proposals seek the full funding of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) and innovative policies: enhanced charter school legislation, health care savings funds for teachers, allowing retired teachers to return to the classroom in critical areas with pay in addition to retirement, and removing underperforming school board members (elected or appointed).

He seeks passage of The Child Protection Act of 2009 that stiffens penalties for statutory rape laws. It regulates abortion practices when terminating pregnancies resulting from the violation of those laws. It would also hold any person who assists a minor in obtaining an abortion without parental consent civilly liable. Last year this measure threatened the leadership of the House of Representatives when despite being held in committee it was nearly forced to a floor vote. A deal allowed the committee process to save face and the bill to be reconsidered this year.

Bryant seeks to spur the economy through tax cuts: income tax reductions, phase out of inventory tax, increase homestead exemptions, and reduce by half the sales tax purchases of forestry equipment.

His ethics reform package seeks to remove the legislature’s exemption from the Open Records Act, restrict state agencies from hiring contract lobbyists in order to obtain state funds and prohibit the acceptance of campaign contributions by legislators during the regular or any special session.

Bryant also seeks to implement Voter ID, create a Senate Drug Policy Committee, and enact stricter penalties against illegal immigrants.

You can read the full column at the Madison County Journal: Perry / Barbour, Bryant announce agendas.

RR: Capitol Press Corps recaps elections

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

At this month’s Capitol Press Corps Stennis luncheon, Clarion Ledger Perspective Editor Sid Salter, Northeast Daily Journal Capitol Correspondent Bobby Harrison and Marty Wiseman from the Stennis Institute were joined by Jackson State University political science professor Mary Coleman to recap the election.

They had interesting perspectives on Bennie Thompson’s role in elections, Jim Kitchens win over Jim Smith on the Supreme Court, the Wicker-Musgrove Senate race, and future races against Democratic Congressman Travis Childers in the First Congressional District.  You can read the full column to hear some of their perspectives: Perry / Capitol press corps recaps elections.  For other interpretations of the luncheon, you can read this piece from Emily Wagster Pettus at the Associated Press (Mississippi not a 2-party state, professor says) or this one from Adam Lynch at the Jackson Free Press (Talking Heads Reflect on Election).

I shared a couple of my own observations on the Jim Smith and Jim Kitchens race in the column as well:

Unfortunately for Smith, it was a Democratic leaning district. John McCain and Roger Wicker both carried Mississippi by strong margins, but both trailed Barack Obama and Ronnie Musgrove in the counties of the central Supreme Court District.

In 2000, Smith lost Hinds County by about 6,000 votes, but netted 4,000 votes from Madison County and carried Rankin County by 17,000 votes to win the district by 11,000 votes.

This year he trailed Kitchens in Hinds County by 37,000 votes, lost Republican Madison County, and only outpaced his top rival in Rankin County by 2,701 votes.

The Kitchens name was also an asset in Rankin and Madison counties where John Kitchens served as a popular district attorney from 1992-2000 and then as a circuit court judge from 2000-2004. Many Rankin and Madison Republicans were puzzled on Nov. 5, when they realized they had voted for Jim Kitchens, not John Kitchens.

The Stennis Luncheon is open to the public each month and costs $12. To get on the mailing list or to find out more information, e-mail Phil Hardwick at You should also check out Phil’s blog.

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