(Rep. Charles) Busby was tapped by leadership to carry the charter school bill in the House, and made the most of his opportunity. Though Democrats baited him in committee and during more than seven hours of debate on the House floor, Busby never lost his temper and was generally in command of the details of the legislation.
Other House Republican freshmen have also been influential on education matters, including Rep. Brad Mayo of Oxford and Rep. Pat Nelson of Southaven. Mayo carried other education bills this year. Nelson has played the role of maverick, serving as one of the chief vote-counters among charter school opponents in the 2012 session.
Pascagoula has a double dose of high-profile Republican freshmen, because Sen. Brice Wiggins also found success in the 2013 session as the Senate sponsor of an effort to create a limited state-funded prekindergarten program for the first time.
Another GOP newcomer, Sen. Angela Hill of Picayune, sponsored the bill that’s meant to improve literacy instruction in early grades and would flunk third-graders who couldn’t read on at least a basic level.
For other new Democrats, it’s harder to make an obvious mark, with the party in the minority in both chambers. The most vocal leaders among Democrats in the House have all been veterans. Some new Democrats have shown signs of promise, though, including Rep. Kevin Horan of Grenada, a former prosecutor.
- Reps Busby and Broomfield debate on charter schools bring out same defense of status quo. (mississippipep.wordpress.com)