Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant challenged more than 380 Boys State delegates to strengthen the nation when he spoke to them Tuesday night [May 27] at Mississippi State University.
MSU serves through 2015 as host campus for Mississippi American Legion Boys State, the nation's premier program for teaching how government works, developing leadership skills and fostering appreciation for the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. The gathering began Sunday [May 25] and will conclude Saturday [May 31].
The state's 64th governor, a veteran state official, pulled a napkin from his pocket and told the delegates he recently took notes on that napkin to prepare for his speech at the upcoming 2014 Republican Leadership Conference. He listed the 10 talking points he plans to share at the New Orleans gathering.
Growing the economy, reducing unemployment and improving education are three major ways to make the nation stronger, Bryant said. As well-educated individuals find gainful employment, the economy grows.
Overall, Mississippi's economy is positioning itself well to compete on the world stage, he said.
"Mississippi is growing into an economy that has a $100 billion GDP (gross domestic product)," Bryant said. "We already make the most advanced ships on the planet at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula. With the Stennis Space Center in Hancock County, man may go to Mars one day, but he'll have to go through Hancock County to get there."
Bryant also touted the importance of reducing taxes and investing in energy independence.
"We are the second best place in the world, according to the Fraser Institute (Global Petroleum Survey 2013), to invest in the oil and gas business," he said. "We're No. 13 in the nation for oil and gas production. We're No . 9 in the nation for economic development. We did so by growing the economy and reducing taxes."
Bryant served as lieutenant governor from 2008 to 2012, when he assumed the governor's chair. The Moorhead native also served as state auditor from 1996 to 2007 and as a state representative for Rankin County from 1990 to 1995.
Before he entered the political arena, Bryant served as a deputy sheriff in Hinds County.
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Learn more about MSU at www.msstate.edu.