Why we launched the Mississippi Leadership Academy

By Douglas Carswell
July 25, 2022

Mississippi has had a conservative super-majority for about a decade. What do we have to show for it?

To be fair, income taxes have been cut. Last year saw a universal occupational licensing law, making it easier for people to move to our state. Mississippi passed a law to combat Critical Race theory. Nor should we forget that our state managed to avoid the sort of draconian lockdowns we saw elsewhere.

These are important accomplishments, but like many in Mississippi, I can’t help thinking that conservatives in our state ought to be able to do so much more.

Our state still ranks 50th out of 50 by many measures. We do not just need bold ideas to change this. Conservatives need to do a much better job of working together to achieve common goals. This is why we have started the Mississippi Leadership Academy.

The Leadership Academy aims to encourage the next generation of leaders in our state. We will introduce them to some of the significant public policy challenges our state faces, as well as to some key institutions and individuals that impact public policy in our state.

Our carefully designed six-step program will give young leaders the skills and knowledge they will need to be agents of change.

Participants in the program will meet many of our state leaders. They will spend time learning about the legislative process in Jackson and look at how laws are made. We want those that take part in the program to appreciate how a lack of economic liberty has been holding back our state.

I am delighted that we have a great lineup of participants, who will contribute to the program. These include State Auditor, Shad White, Chip Pickering, several nationally recognized thought leaders and leading academics.

The program will be run out of our offices in Jackson and begin in October, and the application process had just opened via our website. Those that are accepted will be expected to commit to spending one day per month on the course.

The liberty movement in Mississippi could be a far more effective force for change. We could try cutting the tax burden to make us competitive compared to Tennessee and Texas. Instead of expanding the size of the state bureaucracy, we could cut it by shutting down many of those boards and commissions that clutter up Downtown Jackson.

If federal handouts made a state wealthy, ours would be the richest state in the Union. Rather than looking for more federal funding, we could have lighter regulations to stimulate growth.

If West Virginia and Arizona can introduce school choice, why can’t we?

The rising generation of leaders in our state needs to mobilize and push for real change.

I am confident that those that graduate from the program will have had a first-class introduction to the public policy process in our state. They will also have the opportunity to build a network of contacts among current and future leaders within our state.

If you are interested in applying – or if you know of any young Mississippians that have an interest in public policy and the future of our state - please do apply right away.

Applications for the Mississippi Leadership Academy 2022-23 program can be found on our website at mspolicy.org/leadership-academy


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