Jim Hood believes we need to implement common sense reforms in campaign finance and government to clean up our state capitol. According to the Center for Public Integrity, Mississippi earns a D-minus in its most recent state integrity investigation, stating that “our state transparency and accountability often seem like little more than abstract notions.” Nowhere is this more prevalent than in our capitol. Legislative leaders have exempted themselves from the Mississippi Public Records Act; been bought out by special interests; and sold our state to the highest bidder. To reverse the damage, we must implement common sense reforms that shine some light on legislative backroom deals.
Holding all elected officials accountable. Most state officials in Mississippi are required to show their communications, such as emails, to the public when requested. However, the Legislature refuses to comply with provisions of the Mississippi Public Records Act that apply to all other government officials. They claim a legislative rule protects their emails, text messages, and written correspondence from the public. Effectively, legislators are free to communicate with special interest lobbyists and trade legislation for campaign contributions without accountability to the public. This arcane rule is a driving factor behind Mississippi leading the nation in “model legislation” handed to legislators by out-of-state special interest groups and has helped some politicians in Mississippi amass $7 million campaign war chests.
Jim Hood believes Mississippians deserve to know what all their elected officials are up to—after all politicians serve the people. Hood will lead the effort in strengthening transparency in Mississippi. On day one, Jim Hood will work tirelessly to require the Legislature to abandon their cloak of secrecy and fully subject their communications and other records to the Public Records Act just like every other politician and government official in Mississippi.
Additionally, Jim Hood will support efforts to require the Legislature to notify the public of conference committee meetings and allow the public to attend these meetings. Currently, legislators operate in the dark to negotiate and decide key legislation that affects the lives of every Mississippian.
Restricting lobbyist access to our legislative process. Currently, lobbyists court our legislators and public officials’ support by buying them meals, sporting event tickets, and other gifts throughout the year. Companies are required to list these expenses annually, but undoubtedly thousands of dollars in gifts and benefits go unreported. As governor, Jim Hood will support banning gifts from lobbyists or their clients
Reforming campaign finance regulations. As noted above, special interests control the Mississippi Legislature. Jim Hood proposes two simple campaign finance reforms to help reduce the tight grip out-of-state special interests have on our legislative process:
- Prevent legislators from accepting contributions during the legislative session to cut back on pay-to-play politics.
- Ban corporate campaign contributions outright.
Modernizing state government. To meet the needs of Mississippi, we must modernize state government and invest in long term success.
On his first day as governor, Jim Hood will establish a Transformation Advisory Board, a diverse group of Mississippians who, in a volunteer capacity, will be tasked with the specific goal of identifying cost-savings and efficiencies in state government. By transforming the culture of state government, taxpayers will see a reduction in bureaucracy and improved service. State agencies will benefit through shared resources, improved management, the elimination of duplication, increased savings, and the modernization of operations.
The governor will appoint all members of the advisory board, which will include key executive and legislative leadership, agency heads, and stakeholders. The board will meet on a monthly basis and will present its recommendations to transform state government to the governor within 18 months.
A modernization plan in Arkansas, announced by Governor Asa Hutchinson, proposed reducing the number of state agencies from 42 to 15 without costing any jobs. Estimates predict the plan could amount to $15 million of annual savings.
As part of an overarching strategy to achieve maximum government performance and efficiency, Jim Hood will also direct all state agencies in Mississippi to create strategic plans. In addition to including a mission, vision, core values and goals, each agency will identify efficiency goals to better serve the citizens of Mississippi.
By modernizing government without cutting jobs, Jim Hood will streamline services, improve communication, maximize efficiency, and foster an environment that encourages civic participation and inclusion.
Jim Hood is putting Mississippi families first!