Candidate Q&A: House District 69

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; Primary Runoff – August 29, 2023; General – November 7, 2023

General Election Candidate: 
Tamarra Butler-Washington

Tamarra Butler-Washington (winner of primary runoff)

1. What is your experience with K-12 public schools, personally and/or with your children or family?
I have many experiences with K-12 public schools. Personally, my mother and three of my aunts retired from being educators from both public school and higher education. I along with all of my family members (parents, aunts, uncles, cousins) attended Public School Districts K-12 and I currently have a son in Jackson Public School District. I continue to be involved in both decision making processes and how decisions being made will affect me, my children and family.

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.
Yes, I do agree that the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) should be fully funded yearly in order to expand our students’ success potential. I will continue to work to strengthen the relationship with those involved in all efforts to make sure all members of the House understand the importance of education and it being fully funded yearly.

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 will actively research our state’s current revenue and stay engaged on all services needed for citizens to live productive lives and have the quality of life they deserve.

4. Will you oppose vouchers that send taxpayer dollars to private schools, religious schools, home schools, or virtual schools? Why or why not?
PreK-12 public school education should be funded 100 percent.

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, I do agree that any and all K-12 schools that receive taxpayer dollars should be held accountable for the quality of education they provide and measured equally.

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.
Yes, special education should be fully funded yearly. I will work with school districts and other state agencies to work to fill in the gap for funding for disabled students.

7. Do you agree that Mississippi should provide high quality early childhood education statewide?
Yes! It should be mandatory for Pre-K in Mississippi.

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 having access to essential resources can alleviate many obstacles for children of Mississippi.

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, I do support continued pay increases for Mississippi teacher salaries. Being an educator is one of the most important and influential jobs that no matter what happens in the economy there will always be a need. I will continue to support legislation for Mississippi’s teachers salaries to increase. 

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! Being a member of the Legislature is a part-time job. The salary for members of the MS House is low in comparison to other surrounding states. Members of the Legislature must be able to take care of themselves and provide for their families. In addition those who have served the public should be shown appreciation by allowing the continuous of their retirement benefit.

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?
I most certainly will. As a former employee of the MS Legislature, I understand the importance of having additional input and support.

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 will respond by continuing to make decisions that are best for the constituents of the area that I represent.

Allan Cole (defeated in primary)


Patty Patterson (defeated in primary runoff)


Iva Steptoe (defeated in primary)


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