Mississippi Republican Party Platform

PREAMBLE

The Mississippi Republican Party fundamentally believes in the conservative principles of individual freedom, personal responsibility, free market economic policies, and a society that respects our God given rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Because we believe that government cannot and should not be the solution to all problems, Mississippi Republicans believe in policies that promote the entrepreneurial spirit that encourages hard work, rewards self-sufficiency, honors the institution of the family, and places a high value on integrity in all areas of private enterprise and government.

Mississippi Republicans believe in the rule of law, and that all people are created equal and therefore deserve equal opportunity without regard to race, color, gender, creed or age.

ECONOMIC PROSPERITY

The Mississippi Republican Party supports policies that encourage economic development and job creation as a way to give more people the opportunity for financial success, a better quality of life and a more secure future.

We believe that free enterprise will thrive, flourish and benefit more people through a framework of low taxes, sensible but not overburdening regulations, as well as economic development incentives that allow existing business to expand, and to encourage the attraction of new companies to locate in Mississippi.

Mississippi Republicans recognize the direct link between tax and regulatory policies, our legal climate, education systems, workforce training, transportation network, energy availability and affordability, and economic prosperity.

Because of the interrelation of these important issues, we believe that local, state and federal government should always consider these factors when it comes to implementing policies to encourage economic growth.

TAXES

Mississippi Republicans believe that people, not government, know best how to spend their own money. When people keep more of their hard-earned money, jobs and economic growth will flourish in the free market system.

Mississippi Republicans support the reduction of the tax burden on our citizens. We believe our tax burden is too high, our tax code too complicated, and our tax system inefficient. We believe in the reduction of taxes to empower taxpayers, to create a more competitive environment for job creation, to incentivize work, entrepreneurship, and investment, and to prevent the excessive growth of government.

We support a comprehensive overhaul of our federal tax code to address the problems of the current system, to stimulate economic growth and to establish a firm, fair and equitable foundation for collecting revenues to pay for essential government services.

We support eliminating the three-fifths super-majority requirement to reduce taxes, which would allow a simple majority in our legislature to lessen government’s burden on taxpayers.

EDUCATION

Education is a key to economic growth, opportunity, and quality of life. Our global and competitive marketplace requires an educated and well-trained workforce to further economic opportunity. Success for Mississippi’s children depends on our commitment to superior education. Mississippi Republicans believe our education resources and funds should be primarily focused on classroom instruction and dedicated instructors. We believe the recruitment, training, and retention of qualified teachers is an essential priority for our schools to succeed. We support policies of adopting a pay schedule for educators that rewards excellence in student achievement rather than longevity alone.

The fundamental basis of education of all types rests on reading and promotes opportunity for our students. We support measures necessary for Mississippi students to read at their grade level and comparable to their peers in other states.

We support policies to curb administrative costs and more efficiently run schools and school districts that might hinder effective funding for classroom instruction. We believe our schools must respect and reinforce parental authority and should make every effort to involve parents in the education of their children. Parental involvement in education should extend to allowing parents to choose the school that best meets the educational needs of their children. Our public policy should recognize the rights of parents who choose to educate their children at home or in non-public schools. Mississippi Republicans support voluntary, student-led prayer in our public schools. We support creative ideas such as charter schools. While we may provide incentives and encouragement for voluntary early childhood education, we must respect families who do not choose that option. To help lower the dropout rate in Mississippi, students seeking a job-skills route rather than a college degree option should be encouraged to participate in dual enrollment program between high schools and community and junior colleges so they can better prepare for their career path.

NATIONAL SECURITY

The Mississippi Republican Party believes the primary goal of the federal government is to keep our nation safe and secure. This includes protecting America’s borders to stop people from entering our country illegally.

We support our armed forces and believe they should be fully trained, properly equipped, and publicly supported for the service they provide at home and abroad.

We also believe that America’s veterans should be respectfully cared for with the honor they deserve for the sacrifices they have made in defense of our freedom.

NATIONAL DEBT

The Mississippi Republican Party believes that the National Debt is unsustainable. It has caused our country’s credit rating to be lowered and has caused uncertainty globally. Our National Debt makes the security of our citizens vulnerable. We support a plan that will lower this debt and keep in check future budgets that are unrealistic. Even though there are many ways the military would be paid, military pay could be made an essential government payment. In addition, while Social Security has its own trust fund and other government ways for seniors to continue to receive their benefits, Social Security Benefits could be given essential status as well. This would eliminate any perceived threats to these vital expenses. We support significant budget cuts to accompany necessary raises of the debt ceiling.

INTEGRITY IN ELECTIONS

Mississippi Republicans believe the right to vote in free and fair elections is the foundation of our democracy, and that the integrity of our election process should be vigilantly protected and improved by our government.

Specifically, we support efforts to restore and maintain the integrity of our voter registration rolls, to require government-issued photo identification for in-person voting as set forth in our Constitution, to eliminate improper assistance in the absentee and affidavit ballot process, and to prosecute election fraud.

Mississippi Republicans believe redistricting should recognize core principles of keeping communities of interest together, preserving one man one vote and minimizing the deviation of population from district to district, and drawing compact districts with as few split precincts as possible.

PUBLIC SAFETY

The Mississippi Republican Party believes one of the primary functions of state and local government is the safety and protection of citizens by maintaining law and order.

Punishment for crime should be swift, certain and aimed at deterring crime in the future. Prisoners should be incarcerated at the lowest possible cost to taxpayers. Victims’ rights must be protected, and victims of crime should not be further harmed by a system that many times gives deference to the criminal. We believe that training, equipping, and adequately paying law enforcement officials is paramount to making our communities safer.

Mississippi Republicans support the development of more church and community-based rehabilitation programs for non-violent offenders. We support the utilization of drug courts to ensure participants pay for their crimes while providing an opportunity to return addicts to better functioning, family-oriented, taxpaying members of society rather than a draining burden on the prison system.

Mississippi Republicans believe that protecting America’s borders is a critical mission to ensuring public safety in our country. We support policies that legally seek to verify the citizenship status of people in our country so that the rule of law will be upheld. People who want to legally come to America should follow the legal procedures that are currently in place for that purpose. We believe illegal immigrants should not be eligible for Medicaid, welfare, unemployment benefits, food stamps, or to receive a driver’s license in Mississippi.

The Mississippi Republican Party strongly supports the individual right to own guns that is explicitly guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment. We believe that law-abiding, armed citizens who exercise their right to bear arms demonstrates individual responsibility in defense of life and property, and is a proven front line defense against criminals.

ENVIRONMENT

Mississippi is blessed with incredible natural resources. The environmental quality and the quantity of our natural resources are valuable assets for promoting tourism and recreation, attracting new industries, and maintaining the quality of life for our citizens. Mississippi Republicans acknowledge the responsibility of every citizen, both corporate and individual, to safeguard and improve these resources including clean air and water. Responsible and reasonable regulation must safeguard public health and the environment while not sacrificing economic growth opportunities. The Mississippi Republican Party believes we should promote the unique economic opportunity that exists as a result of our natural abundance. Eco-tourism, outdoor activities, and recreational opportunities beckon us to take advantage of our resources. We believe in the responsible management of our natural resources and incentives for private conservation.

HEALTH CARE

Mississippi Republicans oppose the recent actions by the federal government that mandates and increasingly defines the health plans that Americans must purchase. We believe this wrongly empowers bureaucrats to influence medical decision-making rather than empowering doctors and patients. Moreover, the expansion of some government health care programs is unaffordable to current and future taxpayers, and threatens the promises that we must keep to our seniors in the Medicare program, to our truly needy in the Medicaid system and to our veterans.

We believe our health care system can be improved by moving away from the current bureaucracy driven, heavily regulated third-party payment system to a new patient-centered system of consumer choice. We can have an affordable, accessible and quality health care system by empowering individuals and families, promoting free-market competition and embracing the benefits of technology, innovation and a fair legal climate.

Increased freedom within our health care system must be accompanied by individual responsibility and preventative measures, including encouraging healthy lifestyles. Expanding and incentivizing our health care economy in Mississippi will lead to better health and economic development.

GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY

The Mississippi Republican Party believes that government that governs best should be of the people, by the people, and for the people. Government must be open in proceedings and accountable for the use of tax dollars.

Mississippi Republicans believe government must be transparent, efficient, and always mindful that the funds they are spending are the taxpayers’ dollars, not the government’s money. Government can be more efficient by always seeking ways to consolidate services in ways that provide more efficiency and value for taxpayers, as well as using new technology to make government activities and services more accessible.

We support sunshine policies, government reorganization, and reforms to meet the stated goals.

ENERGY

Mississippi Republicans believe we must aggressively increase our nation’s energy supply, in an environmentally responsible way, to increase job creation by utilizing our resources at home, and to also lessen our dependence on foreign sources of energy.

Increasing our production of domestic energy and reducing our excessive reliance on foreign sources of energy will boost America’s economy and enhance our national security. We oppose overzealous government regulations and litigation that limit energy exploration and restrict performance, curtail economic growth, drive up energy prices and destroy American job opportunities.

America’s comprehensive strategy must meet both short and long term needs, working toward energy independence. Our national energy strategy should include an “all of the above” approach to embrace domestic energy production of oil, natural gas, clean coal and nuclear energy. Renewable power from solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and hydropower sources promise major benefits, and their continued technological developments will increase their economic viability in the free market.

VALUES

Mississippi Republicans believe in the traditional, conservative values that America was founded upon.

We support making English the official language of the United States of America.

We believe that life begins at conception and that all life, regardless of age, is a precious gift from God, and must be protected.

We believe in the traditional definition of marriage between one man and one woman.

Adopted at the State Convention, May 19, 2012