Slay challenges incumbent Robinson in District 84
The Star: With beauty shop regulations, is that done with state law or is that done by another state agency?
Slay: Those are through different agencies.
The Star: So that is not really something that is legislative?
Slay: For it to be law, it has to go through the House.
The Star: Tell us more about meat inspection laws and any changes that you don't find out about until it is too late?
Slay: According to state law, (Agriculture Commissioner) Lester Spell has to have a town meeting a specified number of times a year. Since he's been in office, there haven't been any.
The Star: Is your concern that the Legislature is passing things without you knowing it, or is it your concern that the Department of Agriculture is doing something that you don't know about?
Slay: The Department of Agriculture is not following the laws that the Legislature is passing down, and if the Legislature doesn't call into account the people that are supposed to enforce the laws that the state house passes, then they are not doing their job. It's all tied in together.
The Star: Do you have any complaints about how things have been under your opponent, Eric Robinson? He's been in the Legislature for a while. Are you happy with what he has done?
Slay: I think he does as well as he is able. That's all I have to say about that.
The Star: Why you are running?
Slay: He has claimed a lot of power and seniority. But I haven't seen anything done with it the 11 years he's been in office. If you go to his Web page, he has a whole list of things he has put before the House and all of them have died in committee except for two and one of them makes it against the law to kick a police dog and the other was an "atta-boy" to the Bank of Quitman for not going out of business.
The Star: So you think you could perform better?
Slay: I know I could perform better. I worked with various departments of the government for my entire life. I worked with the EPA and the Department of Agriculture, working with the regulations and the rules and guidelines that small businesses have to operate by.
The Star: Tell us about your take on education funding.
Slay: I've gotten several letters from different groups wanting me to sign a pledge to automatically vote for 62 percent of the state budget going to education.
I believe that they should be funded first, but I'm not sure if 62 percent is what they need. If it's more than that or less than that, but I don't believe they should automatically get 62 percent off the top. I have no problem with funding education first.
The Star: Tell us why you think that is important?
Slay: If the schools can operate efficiently, then hopefully they will be able to educate our children more properly.
The Star: Tell us your thoughts on elected or appointed school superintendents.
Slay: I don't really have an opinion on that.
The Star: What do you think would be a good way to run a school system?
Slay: That is beyond my scope of knowledge.
The Star: How do you feel about schools and colleges teaching courses related to the casino industry?
Slay: It's legal to have gambling in the state of Mississippi. It should be common sense that we teach our residents and hold classes and courses for them to give them a better shot at getting jobs in the casinos that the Legislature has allowed to be put in.
The Star: What is your overall opinion on the state of education in Mississippi?
Slay: Right now, a college graduate comes out with the equivalent of a 1950s high school education.
We should start languages, math and science in kindergarten all the way through the 12th grade instead of a year of foreign language their senior year. Children can learn languages and formulas easier than say if you and I went to try to learn a foreign language right now. If taught that, they will have a better chance in the world economy, not just in Mississippi.
The Star: What about the students who are struggling with English?
Slay: That's why languages should be pushed at an early age, because if someone graduates from high school and they can't read a comic book, then the educational system has failed. Language skills are not pushed enough.
The Star: Talk a little bit about discipline in the classroom.
Slay: If a teacher has the right to use basic discipline in the classroom, then it will go a long way toward helping children learn.
The Star: Do you support corporal punishment?
Slay: They used it when I was in school and it didn't hurt me.
The Star: If you are elected, what committees would you like to serve on?
Slay: I would like to serve on the Agricultural Committee and the Finance Committee, eventually, and other than that, I'm not sure.
The Star: Tell us your thoughts on a tax increase.
Slay: I would rather not have any kind of tax increase. But if we had to have one, I would like it to be on alcohol and tobacco because those are luxury items.