Candidate Q&A: House District 45

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:
Michael Cassidy  •  Keith Jackson  •  Trent Rickles

Michael Cassidy


Keith Jackson


Trent Rickles

1. What is your experience with K-12 public schools, personally and/or with your children or family?
Other than attending public school and graduating from one, I’ve been back to the school for training purposes for law enforcement. I also have multiple family members employed at public schools in my area.

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.
I do agree that the MAEP should be fully funded. If elected, I will make sure that budget bills that come across the floor are up to standard with funding public education.

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?
State revenue is sufficient as it is set up now. I think the lottery program is generating sufficient monies to help fund public education.

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, I believe only public schools should be receiving budgeted money from the state. I do believe that private schools could be applicable to receive grants from state money. But private schools should be ran like a business, generating their own money.

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?
If private schools are being funded and receiving funds from the state, I believe that their curriculum should be accessible to view for all tax paying citizens.

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 do agree that more money should be sent towards special education services. If elected I would work together with other legislators to make sure that the special education sector of all public schools in Mississippi would receive adequate funding.

7. Do you agree that Mississippi should provide high quality early childhood education statewide?
Early education should be accessible by all Mississippians.

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?
I believe the state should grant more funding to provide more in-house counselors to students and families that need it.

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?
I do believe that teachers should have higher pay. I think that teacher pay should be raised to have a more competitive rate with 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?
If retired educators have put in the required time to be eligible to receive retirement benefits, they should be allowed to retrieve them. They worked 20-25 years to receive those, no matter what happens after they retire. Protocol should just be in place that if a retired educator is in a legislative position, that they can not raise their retirement levels.

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?
All bills that would be considered, I will personally go through them and review them. Bills that pertain to the education sector would be reviewed by highly educated public school officials from my local area to see if they are adequately meeting needs.

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?
Every measure that I would consider, I would make sure it met high standards and helped the constituents of the state of Mississippi and District 45 no matter how much pressure from any source was implied.

Kenny Rush (defeated in primary)


This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.