Candidate Q&A: House District 121

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:
Carolyn Crawford (Incumbent)  •  John Dedeaux

Carolyn Crawford (Incumbent)


John Dedeaux

1. What is your experience with K-12 public schools, personally and/or with your children or family?
My entire educational experience has been with public schools, from Head Start through grade 12 in Pass Christian, MS. I became a police officer in 1989 at the age of 21. In 2002 I became a school resource officer with the Pass Christian schools, working with the elementary, middle and high Schools. My wife and children are all products of the public schools and my youngest is an 8th grader at Pass Christian Middle School. I am proud to support public education.

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.
Absolutely I will work to see that MAEP is fully funded each year. Nothing is more important to the future of Mississippi than providing our young people with a strong public education. I will work to convince my fellow representatives that fully funding public education and supporting teachers is an important responsibility.

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?
First, I would call for transparency in the awarding and distribution of all appropriations. Second, I would keep the state income tax in place.

4. Will you oppose vouchers that send taxpayer dollars to private schools, religious schools, home schools, or virtual schools? Why or why not?
Until public schools are fully funded, I oppose any program that sends public funds elsewhere.

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?
Any recipient of public funds, and especially schools who are entrusted with the children and youth of our state, should be equally accountable for their performance.

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.
Special education services in public schools should certainly be fully funded. This would be an element of fully funding MAEP.

7. Do you agree that Mississippi should provide high quality early childhood education statewide?
I do. I believe that early childhood education is a key to a student’s later academic success.

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 would like to see more counselors, social workers and nurses available in the schools.

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 whole-heartedly support greater teacher pay raises.

10. Do you agree that retired educators (and other retired state employees) should be able to draw their retirement while serving in the Legislature?
Retired educators, police officers, firefighters and other public servants MUST be allowed to keep their hard-earned retirement and still serve in the Legislature. We need the voice of these knowledgeable and experienced community members in our Legislature, and they should not have to forfeit their retirement to do so.

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?
YES, I will. Because of my long experience in the public schools, I have many colleagues in education. I will definitely consult them.

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 be answerable to the people who make up House District 121.

Jeff Wallace (defeated in primary)


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