If you visit Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann’s Facebook page, you’ll see dozens of posts with photos and videos of churches and people ringing bells.
The posts are in response to Hosemann’s recent request for Mississippians to ring those bells every day at 6 p.m. in support of those working daily to stem the tide of the COVID-19 crisis.
“We need to ring these bells daily as a sign of support for our health care workers who are on the front line of this crisis,” Hosemann said in an interview with the Vicksburg Daily News on Tuesday.
Hosemann kicked off the initiative by ringing the replica of the Liberty Bell on the grounds of the Mississippi Capitol on Monday. The Capitol Bell was a gift for the purchase of bonds in 1950, one of 54 identical bells commissioned by the U.S. Treasury and presented to each of the then-48 states, Alaska, Hawaii, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in the “Save for Your Independence” campaign.
Hosemann recounted stories from around the state of bells ringing including in Louisville where the church bells hadn’t tolled in several years.
The lieutenant governor also discussed his “Healthy at Home: K-12 Students’ Perspective on COVID-19” program that he launched at the end of March.
The program encourages students in kindergarten through third grade to think, draw, and write about their COVID-19 school and at-home experiences. For children in grades four through six, the program includes writing prompts, and students in seventh through 12th grade are encouraged to submit essays. Completed assignments can be submitted to Hosemann’s office at [email protected], and parents and teachers can go to www.ltgovhosemann.ms.gov for more information.
Hosemann spoke about the 2020 legislative session that has been put on pause during the crisis. The lieutenant governor said that he has been in contact with Mississippi House Speaker Phillip Gunn along with state Sen. Briggs Hopson and state Reps. Oscar Denton and Kevin Ford.
The legislature will probably be called back into session in May to address general business, Hosemann said, adding that a second session may be called around the second week of June to address the state budget.
A Vicksburg native whose mother lived in the city until recently, Hosemann still has great fondness for the area. He mentioned that Interstate 20 from U.S. Highway 61 North to the Mississippi River Bridge is a priority area, and that the crossover from East Clay Street to 61 North was a dangerous area. Hosemann said he lobbies for this area to get more attention.
“Vicksburg is a priority to me,” Hosemann said. “Vicksburg and Warren County haven’t gotten their share of the big projects.”
He also discussed the topic of flooding and farming in the region, along with road conditions near Eagle Lake along Highway 465.
Mississippi expects to receive $1.8 billion from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or CARES Act, he said, and Hosemann is lobbying for the next round of federal aid to include infrastructure to improve roads and bridges statewide but in particular in the Vicksburg area.
To hear the complete interview recording, click here.