HPNM

Mississippi: Welfare Fraud Highlights A State Facing Crisis of Leadership 

Investing in the basic necessities and public goods that working families need to thrive is a recipe for strong, thriving communities and a brighter future for all Mississippians. Unfortunately, Mississippi’s statewide leaders are operating under a different guidance, and many working families in the state are suffering as a result. 

If you type “Mississippi” into a search engine right now, one of two things will probably populate. Your search will either yield coverage of our state capital, Jackson, Miss., where nearly 160,000 people did not have access to reliable, clean water for a month and a half; or coverage of the largest welfare scandal in Mississippi’s history with federal TANF funds diverted to the pet projects of millionaire athletes on former governor Phil Bryant’s watch. That money was meant for the state’s most vulnerable families.

What do these two incidents have in common? Mississippi leaders who are content with the prolonged suffering of the most vulnerable in our state. As recently as last year, some residents of Jackson were without water for close to 6 weeks in the aftermath of a winter storm. Now the state capital is exiting a period where we went close to two months where residents did not have safe drinking water. 

Gaslighting Most Vulnerable Mississippians

Almost a quarter of Jackson residents live in poverty. Many of these individuals are working full-time jobs and still are unable to get by with the cost of rent, gas, and trips to the grocery store. Right now, these same families are at the mercy of community organizations and state entities to provide drinkable bottled water. 

Water is one of the most essential elements of life and one of the most abundant resources on the planet, but currently in a capital city in the United States, many families do not trust the water flowing out of their faucet. 

The price tag for fixing the water system in Jackson is well over a billion dollars. A city of Jackson’s size simply can’t afford to shoulder that cost. Jackson will need investments from both federal and state entities in order to fix

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