Mississippi House Republicans finally issue a statement on PERS

BY: B. Keith Plunkett

It appears the House Republican Caucus finally issued a statement on PERS yesterday (see below). The statement states clearly and unequivocally that the caucus will not support changes to the 13th check, and will not support any changes to benefits for those already in the system. I wrote my thoughts on the lack of communication from Republicans HERE on Monday.

Too little, too late? It remains to be seen.

Without a doubt the state employees groups got the jump on Republicans on this one, and Democrats have been using it to their advantage in the ongoing campaigns. The statement says what other GOP leaders have clearly said before, including Lt. Governor Phil Bryant and Treasurer Candidate Lynn Fitch. The problem is there has been no strategy to get that message beyond the typical statement and into the hands of those that influence public opinion.

Now Republicans need to work hard to get traction and develop a messaging plan that resonates with the public so that it can begin to do the job of influencing decisions. That requires way more than the simple issuing of a statement. It requires communication strategy to educate people. It will also require being open and honest about SLRP and discussing how to address the issues surrounding it.

All this is a precursor to the battles that will begin following the November 8 general election. So, best get in the practice now. The budget fight will be one to watch, and we can expect this kind of effort from a variety of agencies and organizations fighting for dollars.

Keith Plunkett is the CEO of Horizon Media Marketing, a Political Consulting and Communications Strategy firm. He lives in Flora, Mississippi with his wife and two sons. Email him at personal.plunkett@gmail.com 

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