Gov. Phil Bryant at an afternoon press conference Thursday at the Fair.
Gov. Phil Bryant at an afternoon press conference Thursday at the Fair.
Gov. Phil Bryant pointed to Weyerhaeuser here in Philadelphia as an example of one of the many economic expansions in the state at his annunal press conference at the Neshoba County Fair.

This is the second time in two weeks that the governor has been in Neshoba County.

Bryant was at the Weyerhaeuser mill announcing a $57 million modernization plan that would include the purchase two continuous direct fired kilns and a new planer mill.

He also boasted about Southwire Company in Starkville and Uncle Ben's Rice in Greenville looking to expand their operations.

"They want to be a part of this economy that has added 36,800 jobs since January of 2011," he proclaimed.

Bryant said he has changed what he said regarding jobs in his State of the State address earlier this year.

"I said 'I want every Mississippian who wants a job to have one,'" he said. "I amended that. I want every Mississippian to have a job even if they don't want one."

Lately, Bryant has been burdened with the issue of immigration which has stemmed from nearly 200 migrant children being placed throughout the state.

After questioning the state's Department of Human Services and Catholic charities about who and where the children are, Gov. Bryant said he received a unanimous reply of "I don't know."

"We simply want to know who these children are and where are they!" Bryant exclaimed. "We don't know their physical and mental state or if they have been subject to human trafficking."

Bryant spent a few minutes clarifying he has no intention of sending the Mississippi National Guard to Texas to assist in border control, although he said in his speech he'd talked to Texas Gov. Ricky Perry and offered assistance.

Gov. Bryant was disappointed in the wake of the 2-1 Fifth Circuit Court ruling striking down a law enforcing the state's only abortion clinic to seek hospital admitting privileges.

"The law was not unconstitutional," he said. "I do not think it is too much to ask for admitting privileges for a major medical procedure."

Bryant said the state will appeal the ruling and will take it to the U.S. Supreme Court if need be.

"We must protect women's health and we must protect the unborn," he said.

The governor expects the state legislature to pour more money into the Department of Education next year, but is concerned over the current lawsuit being filed to fully fund MAEP.

"It will allow action for Chancery Court in Hinds County, and it may make the Legislature pay it [MAEP]," he said.

Former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove and other lawyers are currently trying to recruit school districts in their fight to fully fund MAEP.

Bryant said if the court rules in favor of the school districts, the ruling would be a "separation of powers issue."

"The courts should not tell the Legislature what funds to pay," he said.

At the moment, the governor said he would not vote for fully funding MAEP.

"To fund MAEP, you would have to make sufficient cuts in other areas," he said. "And we don't know if we will have another economic crisis like in we had a few year ago."

At the press conference at the Denley-Salter cabin, Bryant confirned that he will seek re-election in 2015.

Earlier at the Pavillion, Bryant closed the speaking on Thursday at the Neshoba County Fair recognizing the resilience of Mississippians after the April tornado that hit Louisville.

He said First Lady Deborah Bryant was in Louisville shortly before the tornado and stayed through the night tending to those in the disaster shelters.

He said he works to ensure every Mississippian who wants a job can get one, and those that don't want one will get one as well. He hits issues like the 2nd Amendment, voter-ID and tax cuts.

He said Mississippi would appeal "to the US Supreme Court" if necessary on a recent federal court decision striking down requirements that anyone performing an abortion had to have local hospital admitting privileges. Bryant said illegal immigration is the greatest threat to the country and he recently offered to send help to Texas Governor Rick Perry to help secure the border, but that while Perry said he appreciated the offer, Texas can take care of itself.

The morning began with two challengers to Third District Congressman Gregg Harper (R-Pearl) with speeches from independent Robert Gerrard of Meridian and Democrat Doug Magee of Mendenhall. They were followed by Chancery Judge Joey Kilgore who is unopposed for reelection.