PAC linked to MSA move bill lawmaker

Published 4:25 pm Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The political action committee behind adirect mail campaign targeted against Rep. Becky Currie haspossible ties to two legislative leaders who have actively soughtto close the Mississippi School of the Arts in recent years.

    An organization calling itself Mississippi Kids PAC is behind adirect mail piece delivered in the Brookhaven area on Thursday thatcriticizes Currie for voting against the Mississippi School of theArts.

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    The political action committee was organized on Oct. 10, 2011,according to the Secretary of State’s Office. The direct mail piecewas delivered to area residents three days later.

    The organization statement filed with the secretary of state namesNancy H. Brown as the treasurer with a Johnny Stringer as director.Nancy Brown is the wife of Rep. Cecil Brown, of Jackson.

    Cecil Brown is the chairman of the House Education Committee andsits on the House Appropriations Committee. Rep. Johnny Stringer,of Montrose, is chairman of the Appropriations Committee.

    Both Brown and Stringer have been vocal opponents of theMississippi School of the Arts and have led battles over the pastfive years to close the Brookhaven school and move it to the campusof Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, home of theMississippi School for Mathematics and Science.

    The direct mail piece, with a large photo of Lampton Auditorium anda photo of the Brookhaven representative, touts the importance ofthe Mississippi School of the Arts to Brookhaven saying, “It servesas a critical economic engine for our community and createshundreds of jobs.”

    Currie was one of five who voted against the omnibus education bill(HB 1494) passed on April 4, 2011, and signed by Gov. Haley Barbouron April 26, 1011. The bill included funding for the MississippiSchool of the Arts, as well as funding for all state publicschools, including Brookhaven and Lincoln Countyschools. 

    In a phone interview Friday afternoon, Nancy Brown said theMississippi Kids PAC’s purpose was to give support to candidateswho support public education and the children of Mississippi. Sheadmitted to sending out the piece in Brookhaven. Neither CecilBrown nor Rep. Stringer returned phone calls.

    The organizational papers filed with the Secretary of State’soffice describe the PAC as an organization, “to elect people to theMississippi House of Representatives who support PublicEducation.”