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ROSS REILY: Bryant should make change and quit shirking responsibility

Ross Reily

Ross Reily

People keep telling me that I am bald. What’s the deal? Why can’t they accentuate the positives?

I have hair, just not all over my head.

That is kind of what I feel like Gov. Phil Bryant was saying when he was talking to business people in Southaven this week.

“Accentuate the positives while accepting reality and working to make things better,” is what Bryant said.

The Commercial Appeal reports Bryant used a luncheon speech Wednesday in Southaven to boast about the state’s success in attracting jobs.

The Republican governor, who is seeking a second term in 2015, says Mississippi had a gross domestic product of $100 billion in 2012 and has been praised as a good place to practice medicine.

Despite that, Bryant says: “The narrative you hear is that we’re the fattest, we’re the slowest, we’ve got the worst education and the worst workforce.”

He says he disagrees with the negative assessments.

What is there to disagree about?

We are the fattest state in America.

We are ranked at or near the bottom in every education category.

Slow? I don’t know what he means by slow, but I do know Ole Miss and Mississippi State have some mighty fast wide receivers.

So, hey, there’s a positive.

It’s great to accentuate the positives of Mississippi. I do it every day. But, at some point, change has got to occur, and there hasn’t been significant change in Mississippi on very many fronts, at least the ones that count the most — like healthcare and education.

When Bryant entered politics in Mississippi in 1990 as a member of the House of Representatives, Mississippi was last in education and Mississippi was last in healthcare.

As we enter 2015 and the final year of Bryant’s first term as governor, Mississippi is last in education and last in healthcare.

Alright, let’s accentuate the positives — Mississippi had a gross domestic product of $100 billion in 2012 and has been praised as a good place to practice medicine.

Seriously, there are tons of positives about Mississippi. I have lived here most of my life because of those positives. Music, culture, people, food, the outdoors and great places are many of the reasons I give to people outside of Mississippi as to why this is a good place to live. That’s the truth.

Still and yet, the reality is our children aren’t being educated at an adequate level and we are fat and dying before other people in other states.

How about this one? The incidence of chlamydia is higher in Mississippi than in any other state.

And another — while infant mortality has decreased by 30 percent from 13.0 to 9.1 deaths per 1,000 live births, it remains higher in Mississippi than in any other state.

Unfortunately, that is the narrative.

The governor wants us to accentuate the positives while working to make things better.

Hell, we’ve been doing that every day for the nearly 25 years you have been an elected official in Mississippi, Mr. Governor.

When is it going to get better?

I understand what you are saying, Mr. Governor. Make change, don’t talk about it. I get it.

Mississippi was admitted to the union Dec. 10, 1817 and ever since then we have been battling poor education and poor healthcare.

So, please don’t lecture us about being patient and working hard to achieve our goals. Mississippi has waited long enough.

» Contact Mississippi Business Journal editor Ross Reily at ross.reily@msbusiness.com or (601) 364-1018.

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About Ross Reily

Ross Reily is editor of the Mississippi Business Journal. He is a husband to an amazing wife, dad to 3 crazy kids and 2 dogs. He is also a fan of the Delta State Fighting Okra and the Boston Red Sox.

One comment

  1. I think the slow comment was aimed at journalists.

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