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Bartlett’s interests in agriculture, blues expand to politics 

By Rupert Howell

Marshall Bartlett is one of four candidates for the Mississippi House of Representatives District 11 seat being filled in a special election March 26.

Although he spent most of eight years away attending Mississippi School for Math and Science and Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, candidate Marshall Bartlett never lost the love of his Panola County home on Homeplace Road east of Como. 

He currently serves as vice-president of Two Run Farm and, a Mississippi-based operation whose name you see on restaurant menus all over New Orleans and Jackson, selling “hand raised”, grass-fed, free range beef and lamb. 

Bartlett’s current occupation is also an extension of his agrarian upbringing on the family farm on Homeplace Road.

 “I’m seeking the District 11 House Seat because nothing is more important to me than where I came from.  I see challenges facing my community, and I feel I have the skills, smarts, and fresh ideas needed to tackle them,” Bartlett said.  

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“I know I’m the best candidate because I am an expert negotiator, a clear communicator, and I’ve got a stiff backbone.  I am a smart and competent leader who will remain a steadfast servant to my community while in Jackson.  I have received an excellent education, both in Mississippi and at Dartmouth, and my business experience proves that I am a successful, innovative and hardworking young man.  I will use all of my talent, energy, and conviction to enrich this community by getting all of our children the resources they need to be successful.

“If we are able to produce a generation of healthy, educated and productive young people, we will see poverty, poor health, and crime diminish,” Bartlett notes, while stating his most important issue is education.  

“State prisons use third grade literacy rates in our public schools to predict how many cells they will need down the road.  As I’ve often said, the problems we face in our community can all be traced back to inadequate educational opportunities.  

He continued, “We must promote affordable pre-K  programs like Mississippi Building Blocks, to which Governor Phil Bryant has asked the legislature to provide $3 million in state funding. We must champion summer enrichment programs that are accessible to all of our children to keep them from falling behind over the summer.   

“These simple steps will increase our graduation rates provide an interesting opportunity for improving the educational experience for certain students.  They are not allowed to receive funding for building or upkeep, and money raised with local public bonds cannot go to Charter Schools.  

“However, there are valid concerns with Charter Schools.  For example, having a committee with the authority to grant charters rather than the board of education limits the number of voices involved in such decisions.”  

But Bartlett noted, “I do not believe that the evidence against charter schools is strong enough to suggest that they have no place in improving Mississippi’s education system.  However, they must operate with full transparency and never deprive our traditional public schools of resources.  They must also cater to a diverse set of students with equal representation from all areas of our community.  The fact that the current house bill on the subject was amended to forbid for-profit organizations from managing schools shows a collaborative legislative effort in the right direction, but I remain skeptical of a special committee with the authority to grant charters,” he said. 

 Bartlett has learned several lessons while campaigning door to door and most recently learned that his potential constituents’,  “. . . dogs just might bite you,” with a real life experience in Courtland last weekend. 

 “But seriously, I have been so encouraged to see young leaders stepping forward to tackle our challenges.  Our political history has been murky, often stained with racism and dishonesty, but today I get no sense of that past nastiness.  We are a loving, hopeful, hardworking, and faith filled community that all want the best for our children’s future.  I become more grateful every day of where I came from, and more determined to represent the good people of District 11.”

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