Thomas Howard: It’s time for state to embrace change


Whether it’s starting a diet and exercise routine, sticking to a budget or moving to a new city, changes is never an easy thing. But it is sometimes necessary.

This past week has been full of change for me. My parents packed up and moved to Iowa for work and to be closer to family, and The Newton County Appeal said goodbye to our bookkeeper/graphic designer, who was moving on to a different position. While I understand and support both moves, I have to admit I’ve been feeling stressed by them.

For Mississippians, more change is right around the corner. By the end of the year, our state government will be inundated by fresh faces. A new governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, state auditor, transportation commissioner, public service commissioner, treasurer and a handful of new senators and representatives will undoubtably cause a noticeable change in the way Mississippi’s government functions.

Change in Mississippi is inevitable and necessary, which is why we have elections. Yet, as voters, we need to decide what type of change we want to see. Do we want teachers to have better pay and schools have bigger budgets? Do we want to expand access to healthcare? Do we want our representatives to address social issues such as LGBTQ rights, equality for women and minorities or racial injustices in our laws? Should we change at all?

These are the issues candidates for state office have campaigned on over the past six months, each sharing their views and potential solutions for issues facing Mississippians. Now, as the primary election approaches, we, the people, must make our decisions on what changes we’d like to see and the people best fit to make them.

Change is never an easy thing, but it comes whether we want it to or not. I urge all of you not to shy away from the change but to embrace it. Be a part of the process of change. Talk to your candidates, your neighbors, friends and family about the things they’d like to see. Learn about the issues and the platforms each candidate wants to address. And most importantly, when the polls open to let residents cast their ballots, go vote.

Thomas is the managing editor of the Newton County Appeal. He can be reached at


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