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Haley Barbour on Fox News Sunday

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WALLACE: Most potential 2012 Republican presidential hopefuls came to Washington this weekend to address a gathering of conservative activists, and one of the contenders is Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. Governor, welcome back to “Fox News Sunday.” GOV. HALEY BARBOUR, R-MISS.: Hey, Chris. Thanks for having me back. WALLACE: You said last year you’re the governor of a poor state, you have a distinct drawl, and you have been — were a big time Washington lobbyist for a decade. You said some people would consider those handicaps for running for president. You don’t. Why not? BARBOUR: Well, when you — I’m a lobbyist and had a career lobbying. The guy who gets elected or the lady who gets elected president of the United States will immediately be lobbying. They would be advocating to the Congress, they’ll be lobbying our allies and our adversaries overseas. They’ll be asking the business community and labor unions. You just — that’s what presidents do for a living. Presidents try to sell what’s good for America to others in the world, as well as to Americans. Ronald Reagan was the — he was the ultimate lobby wrist, the great communicator. WALLACE: CPAC, the Conference — Conservative Political Action Conference, that you were at this weekend, they did a straw poll last night, and we want to put up the results. WALLACE: Ron Paul got 30 percent, Mitt Romney got 23 percent, everybody else was in single digits, and way back, quite frankly, in last place was Haley Barbour at one percent. I want to get your reaction to that and also, as you look at, for lack of a better term, we would call the frontrunners at this point, Romney, Huckabee, Palin, Gingrich. What do you offer that they don’t? BARBOUR: Well, let me say first of all about the straw poll, you’ll notice that Sarah Palin got three percent, Mike Huckabee got two percent because they weren’t there. WALLACE: You were there. BARBOUR: But the straw poll was taken before I spoke. They shut down the straw poll on Friday. I spoke Saturday. And so I was in the position of Palin and Huckabee. I didn’t — for the purposes of the straw poll, I didn’t get to speak which is fine. I mean, they got to have rules and that’s fine with me. I enjoyed getting to speak to that audience. It’s an audience of a lot of young people, some of whom came up to me after and said, gee, I tried to vote for you today, but they told us we couldn’t vote any more. WALLACE: OK. What about the frontrunners though, as we mentioned, Palin, Huckabee, Romney, Gingrich. What do you offer that they don’t? BARBOUR: Well, they’re good people and all good friends of mine. I have a record as governor. I have a record of cutting spending. And I talked yesterday not only about we ought to cut spending, I talked about how we’ve cut spending in Mississippi and how if you did the same things in the federal government, you would save tens of billions of dollars a year. I talked about how we’ve cut the biggest entitlement program in Mississippi. And we’ve done it in a way where the people who are on Medicaid haven’t been hurt. We’ve squeezed out of the system through management and by making sure that everybody who’s on Medicaid is actually eligible. We have saved in Medicaid hundreds of millions of dollars over the course of my time as governor. That would be hundreds of billions of dollars if you applied the same reforms to the federal government. WALLACE: I’m going to follow up on the question of your record as governor. As you say, you say you’ve cut spending by hundreds of millions of dollars and that you’ve balanced the budget without raising taxes. But the Cato Institute, certainly a conservative group, gives you only a “C” on its fiscal scorecard saying, “His [Haley Barbour’s] tax and spending record over seven years as governor has not been very conservative.” They say you’ve reinstated a tax on hospitals, increased taxes on cigarettes 50 cents a pack and that spending rose 43 percent during your first term. BARBOUR: Chris, what they said was, mistakenly, that I created a new tax on hospitals. Then they found out — WALLACE: But you did reinstate it. BARBOUR: — but then they found out, no, that that was wrong and they scored me down because they said I created this tax on hospitals. Of course, the tax on hospitals existed while I was there. It existed when I became governor. The federal government — WALLACE: But you did reinstate it. BARBOUR: — the federal government made us change the way we collected it. They said we were cheating essentially and a bunch of other states. It wasn’t just Mississippi. Said y’all have got to collect this a different way. We did reinstate it after four years. The hospitals got a $360 million tax cut during those four years. And then, when we reinstated it, instead of it being a $90 million tax, it’s a $60 million tax. But the Cato Institute wrote initially and told my staff, we thought this was a new tax. We didn’t know it had been a tax that has existed since 1993. WALLACE: What about the increase in cigarette taxes — BARBOUR: We did that. WALLACE: — and the fact that spending increased 43 percent in your first term. BARBOUR: When I became governor, spending actually increased 28 percent my first term. Revenue increased 42 percent my first term without raising anybody’s taxes. We did it because we had more taxpayers with more taxable income. That’s how you get the revenue up. We did that without raising anybody’s taxes. Revenue increased 50 percent faster than spending increased. Spending went up 28. Revenue went up 42. That’s a 50 percent difference without raising taxes. I did my second term raise the cigarette tax. I had said when I ran the first time, we are not raising a bunch of taxes. When I ran for reelection, I said, look, before you vote for me, know we are going to consider raising the cigarette tax. We had the second lowest cigarette tax in the country. We didn’t raise it to raise revenue because raising taxes is enemy of controlling spending. And what we’ve done is control spending. We raised it because our cigarette tax was too low. We were very out of line with the rest of the south. We raised it to 60 cents, which is the average of all the southern states. We did it for health reasons, not budget reasons. WALLACE: K. I want to go back to this question of a lobbyist because it’s clearly, if you do run, something you’re going to have to deal with. And, you know, you say, well, any president’s a lobbyist. But it has a kind of bad connotation. It’s kind of a dirty word for a lot of people out there because they think it means you’re part of an inside game here in the corridors of power. As we mentioned, and you were one of Washington’s biggest most successful lobbyists for more than a decade. Not only did your company represent more than 50 major U.S. corporations, it has also done work over the years for the governments of Kazakhstan and Eritrea which, quite frankly, both have terrible human rights records. BARBOUR: Well, not while I was there. And once I left the firm, other than getting paid my retirement, I don’t have anything to do with what they do. I can tell you what we did when I was there. We represented Switzerland. We represented Macedonia because the Clinton administration asked us to because of what was going on in the Balkans. But I am perfectly glad to look at the clients that I worked with when I was there. But let me just make this very plain. I’m a lobbyist, a politician, and a lawyer. You know, that the trifecta. And I am willing to have my record in front of everybody. I don’t intend to be responsible for what other people did that I have no control over, which is not to criticize them. It’s just I got no way of defending or criticizing the things that I wasn’t involved in. WALLACE: Finally, there was, as you well know, a (INAUDIBLE) involving you about a profile of you in “The Weekly Standard” in December when you talked about growing up in the south during the Civil Rights Movement. You said, “I just don’t remember it as being that bad.” And you said you went to see Martin Luther King speak one day.” We just sat on our cars, watching the girls, talking, doing what boys do. We paid more attention to the girls than to King.” Question. Any regrets about those comments? BARBOUR: Well, it was just the truth. You know, I asked about my childhood. And my childhood was a very great childhood. My daddy died when I was two years old. My mother raised my two older brothers and me. And we couldn’t have had a better situation. I mean, she was the — ran the concession stand at the Little League, and she was the first woman president of The Touchdown Club, the booster club for the high school football team. And so, I had a wonderful childhood. And that’s the truth. As far as the deal about when Martin Luther was passing through Yazoo City and stopped at the fairgrounds to speak, I was in high school and two carloads of us, boys and girls, went out and sat on the — sat on our cars on the street while the — we really couldn’t even hear very well. But I was interested in seeing what was going on. It wasn’t any big major event, as I say. WALLACE: But you understand, people are saying you’re insensitive or were insensitive. BARBOUR: Well, look at — look at my record. You know, we can talk about my childhood if people think that’s a requirement for running for president of the United States which I may do. But if you look at my record and you look at the fact that after I was elected we have had more minority business contracts. We have more African-American elected officials in Mississippi than anywhere in the country. I’ve had outstanding African-American members of my administration. You know, I’m proud of that record and I’ll put it up. WALLACE: OK. Thirty seconds left. Serious — how serious are you about running for president? BARBOUR: Well, I’m not going to make a decision until April, but I am very serious about it. But I understand — having been political director of the White House for Ronald Reagan, have been working campaigns, have been chairman of our party, I understand that this is a decision to dedicate the productive — remaining productive years of my life, the next 10 years, to the most consuming job in the world. And it is a 10-year commitment because if you win, it’s a 10-year commitment. I take that very seriously. I’m not somebody who has wanted to run for president all of my life. But right now, I think the country is in such straits, we’ve got to have a huge change. WALLACE: Governor Barbour, we want to thank you so much for coming in today, and we will also be watching as the Republican presidential race heats up. Thank you, sir. BARBOUR: Thank you, Chris.

The program replays at 5pm and 1am respectively.
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Education

Hinds CC’s industry partnerships focus on business needs

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Among those participating in a recent tour of the KLLM Driving Academy were, front from left, Kirk Blankenship, vice president of driver resources at KLLM; Jim Richards, CEO and President at KLLM; Hinds President Dr. Stephen Vacik; back, Hinds Vice President Dr. Chad Stocks; Federal Co-Chairman Chris Caldwell, Delta Regional Authority; Umesh Sanjanwala, state director, U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith's office; and Brad Ferguson, field representative for Central Mississippi, U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker's office. (photo courtesy Hinds CC)

The federal co-chairman of the Delta Regional Authority took a firsthand look at two of Hinds Community College’s partnerships with industry during a recent tour of the KLLM Driving Academy and Diesel Technology Academy, both in Richland.

The college’s partnerships with the industry leaders, KLLM Transport Services and Empire Truck Sales/Stribling Equipment, grew out of a need the companies had for trained employees. Hinds worked with the companies to craft training structures and time schedules that fit their needs, not traditional academic schedules.

“At DRA, we stress the importance of partnering with regional business leaders to develop workforce programs based on industry-specific needs,” said Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman Chris Caldwell. “Hinds Community College has done just that with the KLLM Driving Academy and Diesel Technology Academy, and I continue to be impressed by its vision and work to strengthen workforce pipelines in Mississippi.”

Caldwell toured both facilities with representatives of U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker and U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith.

“Everything we do is about workforce,” said Dr. Stephen Vacik, who became Hinds president July 1. “I was talking to Gov. Tate Reeves last week and he said, ‘Everything we do, whether it’s an English class, whether it’s welding and everything in between, it’s about workforce development.’ And I said, ‘you’re right.’

“We have a great team, and I’m looking forward to being a part of it. We’ve got some exciting things on the horizon,” Vacik said.

The KLLM partnership began in 2012 with the current building housing the academy opening in 2014. KLLM handles the training of truck drivers. Hinds handles the coursework.

“We started this driving academy for one reason – to staff our trucks,” said Jim Richards, president and CEO of KLLM Transport Services. “We partnered with Hinds Community College, which brought a lot of credibility to us immediately. They were here on the ground level. They really understood what we were trying to do and jumped in. I never felt trapped by academia in this program. It was all about whatever we needed to do, they were available to help us.”

The KLLM tour concluded with a significant milestone for the Hinds-sponsored Registered Apprenticeship truck driver program when Dr. Vacik presented the 200th apprentice completion certificate from the U.S. Department of Labor to Richards.

Hinds has a similar partnership with Empire Trucks Sales/Stribling Equipment to train diesel technicians and parts specialists. The partners have employed 71 students and 70 other companies have employed graduates.

The partnership began in 2016 when company officials saw the KLLM partnership and said they wanted the same deal as KLLM, said Hinds Vice President Dr. Chad Stocks.

A new cohort of 15 students enters the program every eight weeks if they meet minimum requirements in core subjects either on the ACT or college placement tests. The first 30 credit hours of the program are held at the Raymond Campus with the next 15 credit hours at the Diesel Technology Academy where students focus on either transportation or equipment for a technical certificate. Students have the opportunity to continue the program for an Associate of Science degree in Diesel Equipment Technology.

“We took the model we had at KLLM, we replicated it and modified it to fit the diesel tech industry,” Stocks said. “We spent a great deal of time looking at the whole industry, and not just what the training needs are today.

“The only way to get a great workforce project is listening to industry, having the flexibility of the college to put these practices in place and building a pipeline of qualified graduates so that they have a steady stream of employees into those fields,” he said.

Hinds Community College has received workforce development grants in the past from the Delta Regional Authority, which covers 252 counties and parishes of the eight-state Delta region that includes Mississippi.

Hinds received a grant last summer for $1.3 million to expand workforce development in three distinct areas via the Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities grant initiative. Those areas include Advanced Manufacturing, Inland Waterway Maritime and Logger Equipment Operations. Established in 2000 by Congress, the Delta Regional Authority makes strategic investments of federal appropriations into the physical and human infrastructure of Delta communities.

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Power of Hope is focus of Commission on Children’s Justice presentations

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ms commission on childrens justice

Hope is more than a wish, and giving hope can make a difference in the lives of abused and neglected children and their families, says an Oklahoma psychologist who will meet with Mississippi officials next week.

The Mississippi Commission on Children’s Justice has scheduled presentations by Chan Hellman, Ph.D. for Oct. 20, 21 and 22 in Jackson at the Gartin Justice Building and the Department of Child Protection Services.

Dr. Hellman, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, is a professor of social work at the University of Oklahoma  and Director of The Hope Research Center. His research is focused on hope as a psychological strength helping children and adults overcome trauma and adversity. He is the co-author of the book “Hope Rising: How the Science of Hope Can Change Your Life.”

“Our overall goal is to create a culture of hope that is grounded in evidence-based practices,” Hellman told the co-chairs of the Commission on Children’s Justice and the HOPE training development committee in a virtual meeting Oct. 8.

“When you expose people to the awareness of trauma and adversity, the question is what do we do about it. The answer is hope,” Hellman said.  “Individuals who are in crisis, who have a history of trauma, tend to set goals of avoidance. Higher hope individuals set achievement goals.”

Commission on Children’s Justice Co-Chair Justice Dawn Beam said, “We are excited to welcome ‘Hope Rising’ author Dr. Hellman to Mississippi. He will challenge all of us to think outside the box on how to help struggling families in our state. My prayer is that he helps all of us to see hope: hope for our state leaders to see a way to improve services to our families, hope to service providers that have been workers in the trenches for years, but especially hope to our families and children to see their way out of poverty, helplessness and despair.”

Taylor Cheeseman, Interim Commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services, said, “Ensuring child and family wellbeing is the ultimate goal for all who serve in Mississippi’s child welfare system. And I believe Dr. Hellman’s research and training on hope will be an effective tool for fostering the resilience families who have experienced significant trauma need to move towards a state of long-term wellbeing.”

Dr. Hellman also is scheduled to present a series of hope centered lectures to judges, court staff and Department of Child Protection Services social workers during three regional trainings April 13, 14, and 15, 2021, in Oxford, Madison and Gulfport as part of the Court Improvement Program.

Providing hope is part of the work of those charged with ensuring the wellbeing of children and families. Hope is a pathway to helping people find employment and find solutions to problems such as acquiring transportation to reach  jobs or gain access to services. People need hope that there is a way out of their circumstances.

The Commission on Children’s Justice recently established Programs of HOPE to continue to address child neglect prevention. Five multi-disciplinary committees were established to identify and recommend actions which can fill gaps, strengthen opportunities and lift up Mississippi families to a place where they can see a path toward better lives.

Programs of HOPE committees include  Housing and Transportation; Opportunities for Treatment; Parent, Child and Family Supports; Economic Security; and Pathways of HOPE.

The Mississippi Supreme Court created the Commission on Children’s Justice in 2006 and tasked it to develop a statewide, comprehensive approach to improving the child welfare system; coordinate the three branches of government; and recommend changes to improve children’s safety, strengthen and support families, and promote public trust and confidence in the child welfare system.

In person attendance at each session is by invitation.

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COVID-19

New COVID-19 cases in MS top 1,000 Thursday for the first time in nearly two months

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New COVID-19 cases reported in Mississippi topped 1,000 for the first time in nearly two months. The last time the state reported more than 1,000 cases on any one day was Aug. 19. As new cases rise, so do hospitalizations, and both have been rising steadily since the beginning of October.

The Mississippi State Department of Health reported five new COVID-19 cases Thursday in Warren County and no new deaths. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 1,486, and the county’s death toll is 54.

Statewide, MSDH reported 1,322 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 108,139. The seven-day average of new cases is 760, higher by 311 cases from a month ago.

Most new cases are seen in younger people recently, and they are more likely to survive the virus than those 65 and older. By far, the age group reporting the most cases in Mississippi are young people from 18 to 29 years old.

MSDH reported Thursday that 12 additional Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 3,152. The state’s rate of deaths to confirmed cases is about 2.9%.

Deaths are a lagging indicator. While July saw the highest number of new cases since the crisis began, August saw the highest number of deaths. The highest number of deaths in any one day was 67 reported Aug. 25.

Of the 12 deaths MSDH reported Thursday, 11 occurred between Oct. 3 and Oct. 14 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Thursday
Forrest 1
Hinds 2
Jackson 1
Lee 1
Marshall 1
Neshoba 1
Perry 1
Tippah 1
Union 1
Washington 1

One additional COVID-19 related death occurred in Washington County Aug. 23 and was identified from a death certificate report.

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14. MSDH usually reports statistics on the COVID-19 coronavirus each day based on the previous day’s testing and death reports.

The primary metric concerning state health officials are the numbers of people hospitalized, and that number rose steadily with the rise of new cases in July and August. On June 6, the number of Mississippians hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19 was at 358. Hospitalizations nearly tripled by late July. They leveled off in early August and began noticeably dropping in the middle of the month including critical cases and numbers of people requiring ventilators. Hospitalizations continued to drop in September but levelled off at the middle of the month. They continued to drop through Oct. 3; however, hospitalizations have been showing a definite rise since then.

The number of Mississippians hospitalized for the virus as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13, is 633, about half of the late July peak of more than 1,200. The number includes 500 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 133 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 143 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 72 were on ventilators.

Source: MSDH

MSDH has estimated the number of people who can be presumed recovered from COVID-19 in Mississippi. That number is 94,165 through Sunday, Oct. 11. This figure is updated weekly. It represents about 87.1% of the cumulative 108,139 cases reported Thursday, Oct. 15.

The number of cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Thursday, Sept. 24, was 1,402, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,348, or about 90.7% of the 1,486 cumulative cases reported as of Thursday, Oct. 15. The county has an estimated 84 active cases.

These estimates are based on MSDH’s guidelines for calculating estimated recoveries when hospitalizations are not known, using the number of cases 21 days ago, less known outcomes (deaths).

The total number of Mississippians tested for COVID-19 (PCR and antigen tests identifying current infections) as of Sunday, Oct. 3 (the latest date available from MSDH), is 863,957 or about 29% of the state’s 2.976 million residents. The positivity rate (positive results to tests, seven-day average) was 6.3% Sunday according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate is 5.1%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities is 128 Thursday. About 40.4%, or 1,273, of the state’s total deaths were people in long-term care facilities.

A total of 25 deaths in Warren County were residents of LTC facilities.

MSDH is no longer reporting outbreaks in individual long-term care facilities in Mississippi and has replaced it with access to a database from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. You can access and search the data here. The latest data available is for the week ending Sept. 27.

For additional information, visit the MSDH website.

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