February 1, 2016
During the hectic political season of pre-Presidential elections and post-Gubernatorial elections, few days stand apart as ones where civil servants stop to rest and reflect on how far their government has come. Most continue working, hoping to create a better future for themselves and those around them. However, on Jan. 12, Miss. inaugurated Phil Bryant to his position as a second term governor. The inauguration gave voters a chance to reflect back on the leaps and bounds that Mississippi has made in the four years since Bryant took office in 2012. Over the four weeks prior to the ceremony, contractors had built a massive podium and grandstand on top of the Capitol steps to house foreign dignitaries, members of the press, and the Mississippi National Children’s Choir. The 2016 Inauguration theme was “Imagine Mississippi”, and all of the inaugural events reflected this theme. Visitors and spectators were able to hear several of Mississippi’s finest vocalists, as well as the inaugural speech from Governor Bryant. During his address, Bryant played on the theme for the week, asserting his belief in the greatness of the state of Mississippi.
“We have done so in the past, and I have no doubt here today, we can accomplish greatness. When I imagine Mississippi, I think of the words of our own Zig Ziglar, ‘You were designed for accomplishments, engineered for success and endowed with the seeds of greatness.’ These designs are not by accident, nor are they only recent. Our potential has always been here. Not in the form of new economic development or an undiscovered technology or a new government program. The seeds of greatness were planted generations ago inside every Mississippian. We have always felt it within our hearts and souls. We have always known we could do great things. We could always Imagine Mississippi. It is now time to release our talents and potential. To rise together to a higher and better place. In reality, that special place is where we have always been. It has always been here. Here in Mississippi.”
After the ceremony came the inaugural parade, an event that had been unfortunately postponed and then cancelled previously in 2012 due to unfortunate weather that had also pushed the inaugural ceremony indoors. This year, the parade went off without a hitch, passing through some of the most historic and governmentally significant streets of Jackson, including passing in front of the Governor’s Mansion and the grandstand set up for the viewing pleasure of the governor, his wife, their family, and other visiting dignitaries. For many of those members in the grandstand, Tuesday was a packed day, with the Inaugural Ball commencing a few hours later at the Jackson Convention Center. This event was open to the public, with the tickets listing the attire as “black tie and boot optional” in a nod to Governor Bryant’s fondness for his cowboy boots. The event was an opulent affair, with over three hundred guests in attendance. They were able to enjoy three performers representing various genres on the main stage, as well as making use of the dance floor.
Several Mississippi College students had an important part in the planning and execution of the inauguration. Nick Hall, a junior from Brandon, Miss. was on the inaugural staff with former Aide-de-Camp Scott McClintock, who took over the planning of the impressive event. In addition, junior Hunter Foster of Brookhaven was involved in the festivities. Foster is the current chairman of the Mississippi Federation of College Republicans, as well as being involved in MC’s College Republicans chapter.
After the inaugural events took place on Tuesday, Jan. 12, the Governor gave his annual State of the State address to both houses of the state congress in the Capitol chambers on Jan. 26, 2016. The address was delivered after a similar one given by Lt. Governor Tate Reeves. During his exposition, Governor Bryant touched on the future of funding for community colleges, as well as the whole of the public system of education in the state, expressing hope and belief in the structures set up to help students succeed. He also discussed his belief that Mississippi needs to encourage the training of skilled laborers for specific positions in workforce development. As Gov. Bryant succinctly finished his address: “To sum it up, we will keep Mississippi working.”
-Hannah Richards, Reporter
this article appeared in Vol. 97, Issue 7 of The Mississippi Collegian