Candidate Q&A: House District 40

Election 2023

Our public education questionnaire is offered to candidates in statewide and legislative elections. Search for candidates’ questionnaire responses below. Election dates: Primary – August 8, 2023, General – November 7, 2023

General Election Candidates:
Jacob Hisaw  •  Hester Jackson-McCray

Jacob Hisaw


Hester Jackson-McCray

1. What is your experience with K-12 public schools, personally and/or with your children or family?
I believe every child should have an equal opportunity for an education. This means supporting fully funded public education and providing resources for teachers to provide an educational environment conducive to learning. I attended public schools and both my children and grandchildren were/are educated in public schools. I have been an active school mom serving as a volunteer to support our teachers and the public school system. Most of all as a legislator I have voted and will continue to vote to support public schools funding.

2. Do you agree that the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) should be fully funded every year? If yes, what actions will you take to ensure full funding? If no, explain why.
Children are our most valuable resource and their ability to be ready to compete with non-Mississippi educated students depends on us fully funding MAEP. My vote has been and will always be to support fully funding MAEP.

3. What will you do to ensure state revenue that is sufficient to provide all of the services Mississippi’s citizens need to lead productive lives?
I am committed to supporting legislative measures that ensure enough state revenue to provide services needed for all Mississippi’s citizens to lead a productive life.

4. Will you oppose vouchers that send taxpayer dollars to private schools, religious schools, home schools, or virtual schools? Why or why not?
Yes, I will oppose vouchers that are paid with taxpayer dollars and allocated to private schools, religious schools, home schools and/or virtual schools. It is my belief that poor children attending public schools are already disadvantaged and to deny them the best education possible by taking away public school funding will be unfair to our children and continue to keep Mississippi at the bottom in education, healthcare, and economics. Having an educated workforce will attract companies/jobs to Mississippi that will eventually keep our children in Mississippi after college and raise many generational families out of poverty. Public education is the answer to many of society’s ills such as poverty, economics, and healthcare.

5. Do you agree that all K-12 schools that receive taxpayer dollars, including private voucher schools, should be accountable to taxpayers for the quality of education they provide, using the same accountability measures as public schools?
Yes, all K-12 schools receiving taxpayer dollars should be held to the same standard as public schools.

6. Public schools serve the vast majority of Mississippi students with disabilities. Do you agree that special education services in public schools should be fully funded every year? (Special education has been underfunded by the state every year since 2008.) If yes, how will you accomplish full funding? If no, explain why.
I have in the past supported fully funding special education services in public schools and will continue to vote in favor of this funding.

7. Do you agree that Mississippi should provide high quality early childhood education statewide?
Mississippi continues to linger at the bottom in education because high quality education has not met the priority with legislators necessary to adequately fund education. Yes, I wholeheartedly support funding a statewide high quality childhood education.

8. The nation’s top teachers say that the greatest barriers to school success for K-12 students are family stress, poverty, and learning and psychological problems. What steps do you believe legislators should take to alleviate these obstacles for Mississippi children?
K-12 education should have the higher priority in funding. Education is the only way out of poverty and will alleviate many poverty ills such as family stress, mental conditions (often brought on by poverty), violence (criminal justice system failures) and the list goes on. Adequately funding education and care for our children is the humane thing to do.

9. In the 2022 Legislative Session, a significant teacher pay raise was passed. Do you support continued pay increases to ensure that Mississippi’s teacher salaries keep pace with inflation and salaries in our neighboring states?
YES, Mississippi teachers should be adequately paid and that pay should keep pace with inflation and neighboring states.

10. Do you agree that retired educators (and other retired state employees) should be able to draw their retirement while serving in the Legislature?
Yes, retirement should not be a barrier for teachers and state retired employees who decide to serve in the Legislature. In addition, retirees are a great and valuable resource.

11. Legislators have little or no staff to help them understand the many bills they must consider. Before introducing or supporting a bill that could affect public education, will you commit to seeking input from teachers, principals, superintendents, and parents of public school students in your district? Who will be advising you on education policies?
The experience of educators at every level is a valuable resource to legislators and I commit to seeking input as appropriate. I currently research educational issues and reach out to educators for advice.

12. In the past, legislators have received tremendous pressure from the leaders of their chamber (House or Senate), state and party leaders, and corporate lobbyists, to vote in ways that could contradict the will of their constituents and harm their communities. How would you respond to such pressure?
I support the interests of the people who voted to put me in office.

Charlie Roberts (defeated in primary)


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