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From Staff Reports
After an unusual start to his first term in the state legislature, State Representative Dale Goodin learned recently he had been named to five House of Represenatives committees for his freshman term in office.
Goodin, a Republican from Perry County who represents Greene County as part of House Dist. 105, will serve as a member of the Corrections, Workforce Development, Military Affairs, State Library, and Youth and Family Affairs committees. Speaker of the House Philip Gunn announced the committee assignments last Thursday.
Goodin said that after retiring from two different branches of the military after 40 years of service he was not surprised by his appointment to the Military Affairs committee. Manly Barton, who represents neighboring George and Jackson Counties in the House, is also part of the committee. The majority of other representatives, including the chairman and vice-chairman, are from North Mississippi. The others include representatives from the Jackson area, one from Southwest Mississippi, and Mark Tullos, a representative from Smith and Jasper counties.
Workforce development was a strong talking point during Goodin’s campaign. And, as the former administrator of the Perry County vocational program, Goodin said he is a big believer in encouraging education for skilled professions such as welding, pipe-fitting, medical services, etc. He will be joined on this committee with District 88 Representative Ramona Blackledge from Jones/Jasper County; District 117 Representative Kevin Felsher and District 118 Representative Greg Haney from Harrison County; and 12 other representatives from mostly Jackson and North Mississippi.
The Youth and Family Affairs committee that Goodin was chosen for comes up with legislation such as HB 136: Youth and Community Safety Act, which would require schools to annually report certain unlawful activity to the State Department of Education. Joining Goodin on this committee is Representative Blackledge from District 88 as well as Billy Andrews from Lamar County, Jansen Owen from Lamar/Pearl River Counties, and seven other representatives from the Jackson area and North Mississippi.
Goodin said with South Mississippi Correctional Institution being in his district, he specifically requested to be on the Corrections committee. Jackson County’s Jeramey Anderson joins Goodin on this committee along with 15 other representatives from other areas of the state.
“With the problems going on recently in the Mississippi correctional system, this will most likely be a busy committee,” Goodin said in a statement released Tuesday.
Lastly, Goodin was chosen as part of the State Library Committee.
While Goodin says he is ready to work on the committees to which he was assigned, he is disappointed to have not been named to the Education Committee after working 30 years in public education.
“Neither I nor Jerry Darnell from DeSoto County, both retired education administrators new to the Legislator, were put on the Education Committee,” says Goodin. “I am really disappointed about that.”
“I’m going to work hard on the assignments I’m given. Corrections, especially, is going to take a lot of time and effort. I’m looking forward to learning as much as I possibly can while working for the people of Mississippi.”
Goodin is one of four freshmen legislators in a tiff with Speaker of the House Philip Gun over whether they can hold their new political offices and draw their state retirements from previous public service jobs at the same time. Goodin said shortly after being sworn into their new offices earlier this month, the four House newcomers were told by Gunn, a member of their own political party, who says their service in the legislature would amount to ‘double dipping’ on the backs of state taxpayers.
Goodin said the situation amounted to “punishment” against people that have served in education, the court system, government, etc.
“We need people that have different experiences and worked in some of the areas needing improvement to be part of the Legislature,” Goodin said recently. “We have more important work to do than worry about this.”
“People chose us that are being placed in this position to be their representative and to work to improve issues that affect them. We should be focused on that, and not if we are going to lose money we earned throughout our careers before wanting to serve our state and communities.”