Candidate Q&A: House District 102

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 Candidate:
Missy Warren McGee (Unopposed Incumbent)

Missy Warren McGee (Unopposed Incumbent)

1. What is your experience with K-12 public schools, personally and/or with your children or family?

I attended Hattiesburg Public Schools 1st-12th grade. (Thames Elementary and Junior High, 1st-8th; Lillie Burney, 9th; Rowan, 10th; Hattiesburg High School, 11th and 12th grades.

I was also heavily involved with the local campaign that passed a school bond renewal for the Hattiesburg Public School District in 2018. We passed the renewal with 94% of the vote (fourth highest in state history at the time), and every ward voted heavily in favor of renewing $22.5 million in school bonds.

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 believe that our public schools must be the priority when it comes time to set our state budget. We need to work toward 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?
My hope is that we would wait to see the impact of tax cuts from previous years, once they have been fully phased in, before we consider any additional tax cuts.

4. Will you oppose vouchers that send taxpayer dollars to private schools, religious schools, home schools, or virtual schools? Why or why not?
My voting record has shown that I oppose the expansion of vouchers. 

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?

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.
There is no doubt that public schools serve the majority of special needs children. We must always take care that these programs are properly funded with the goal of full funding. 

7. Do you agree that Mississippi should provide high quality early childhood education statewide?
Yes! There is no better investment than the years before age 5 when a child is developing both cognitively and socially. In the last term, the legislature has increased the total investment in our nationally recognized early learning collaboratives to over $20 million annually, providing high quality early childhood education to 25% of the total 4-year old population. In 2022 and 2023, we also invested an additional $20 million in other early childhood programs to reach even more students.

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?
Over 90% of the students in my district’s public schools live below the poverty line. I believe the best thing we can do for schools with high rates of poverty is to put highly qualified teachers in the classroom. 

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 was proud to support the largest teacher pay raise in Mississippi history during the 2022 session, which gave teachers an average raise of $5,000 and brought MS starting teacher pay above both the Southeastern average and national average. I was also pleased that we were able to increase the pay for teacher assistants.

10. Do you agree that retired educators (and other retired state employees) should be able to draw their retirement while serving in the Legislature?

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 of the above! I believe my local superintendent, principals, teachers and parents would say that I have sought their recommendations and counsel on all education issues and that I have been very responsive to their thoughts and suggestions. I will continue to seek and rely on their opinion.

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?
When I ran for state representative, I pledged to put Hattiesburg first, and that’s exactly what I have done. I believe my voting record demonstrates how I would respond to such pressure. For example, in my first year, I voted against legislation that would change the MAEP formula. I believed there were too many unanswered questions about this bill. Additionally, my home district would have seen a reduction in funding under this proposed formula.

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