Mississippi, Governor Reeves, Donald Trump discussed on Today in Focus

Today in Focus


Oliver Laughlin Bureau chief for The Guardian us? He's normally based in New Orleans Louisiana but earlier this week. He headed east into Mississippi at South West on Duffy Street. Then turn right on our side avenue. The joy from newly-installed. Luxy is not particularly long. It's only ninety miles long and you're driving along pre sparsely populated often empty rural high roads. The set by lush forest. That has kind of blamed in recent months. Empty Retail Parks. Big Strip malls. This huge lake. That you try lake pontchartrain. So you can see this huge false and like shimmering brave water and I really being one of the I need 'cause on the right pretty extraordinary. Why are you interested in reporting from Mississippi? So Mississippi is the poor state in America is also the hungriest stay in America. So there are issues with access to food with obesity and underlying health conditions aware in the top five in terms hypertension in terms of obesity. We're in the top five of many states in other areas. We're number six across the nation in the number of smokers per capita in Mississippi who say one of the states that was one of the slowest. Close up the Republican governor that Tate Reeves he issued a very liberal directive. Or what one would class as an essential business and this is a time when the neighboring state of Louisiana was really going through a severe crisis with corona virus and became one of the major hotspots Cross Louisiana. The numbers are simply staggering. It's scared me I'm telling you like screaming dislike. You're kidding me. The State has seen the fastest growth rates in the world. So I'll ever you watching Louisiana register more and more cases of covert nineteen. Meanwhile next door in Mississippi. It was more or less business as usual. Why was governor you so reluctant to ask people to stay home? I think what you've seen with. People like Governor Reeves and other governors in conservative states is a desire to follow the rhetoric. That is coming out of the White House. America wants to be open and Americans want to be open and at times. Donald Trump's rhetoric on what the correct responses with the corona virus has been incredibly confusing and difficult to follow. And so you kind of see scattergun approach across the country when it to who shut I on what time. So ultimately reeves and a host of other conservative governors across the. Us South didn't issue stay at home mortars until the decision not to close down. Basically became politically untenable. We are now at the point and Mississippi Cycle Drastic measures may be required. Today is the day. We are announcing a shelter in place order. It will go into effect Friday at five. Pm You mentioned that. Mississippi is one of the poorest states in the country. But where you headed. Boxy does have a pretty healthy economy. What are some of the industries in that area? Yes us she said. Block see is in one of the more prosperous areas of Mississippi. It's by the coast and so it's a pretty picturesque town out. Twenty five percent of its economy is driven by tourism so relatively strong fishing industry there. I am the LEXI. Hundreds of thousands come to my shores to play to shop and when the sun goes down the sky lights up with excitement am the Luxembourg when you drive into blocks see basically the first thing that you see is a line of huge hotels and casinos. And that's really what's kind of dominated industry about town for decades now. Now Open the President Casino at Rod. Water Beach Resort Luxy Mississippi misled Sir degree of prosperity. That is in contrast and much of Mississippi You visiting at the time of year where the weather is warming up starting to get nice and you spoke to one restaurant worker whose normally doing very brisk business this time of year before the pandemic. I was working him anywhere from forty to forty five hours a week. Can you tell me about the Wilkerson price? So works in. Price moved to block see a few years ago and really moved that tryon sure up his life. I through hard times and I try not looking future too much during hard times. I just lived for the day. He is about homelessness drug addiction and wanted to come to block sip because he saw a financial future for him and his three sons Twenty one year old eighteen year old and fourteen year old Two older ones work with me. The eighteen year old graduating this year. So He's been working a seafront restaurant there for the past couple of years and basically when I asked him how his life was doing before corona virus he basically said he turned a corner and that things are getting much better for him. We're don't really I mean Tucson's I work with full time. Also at the restaurant. Work at their dishwashers there. To my two older sons we all pitch in and well worth the other as a family to get everything paid so we actually have a very easy even though we do let weak. The weak but You that all three of US got laid off at the same time. How do they feel when he heard that his restaurant would be closing because of this pandemic he was absolutely devastated and even reflecting on a month after he heard the news hit up when he spoke to me about it? I I'd sales about four days leading up to it. We own something happening. I everybody's breaking off to lie song. The hand sanitizer a lot more watching their phones and listening to the news. I had a feeling something was getting ready to happen. We didn't quite know what it was and that last day. I can't I really can't explain excels totally lost. I just like everything worked out from underneath. It was rough basically his entire EB world and and the security that he built up for himself was taken away a with a single directive from his boss. Where actually I work. We're told pretty much. Go home until further notice. That's devastating. What did he do when he got the news? It's the moment Lee lost his job. He instantly tried to think about ways to improvise the day. I lost my job about laid off The next day where opportunity. Gomo along the way we need a lawn mower we had an opportunity to go mow lawn mower so I went out with the last few bucks I had in my pocket Martha Law that he went out and learn more and his sons come out with him to my loans for twenty bucks ago asking the ads do that and the increase realize. That really wasn't going to be enough to keep him going through. We've cut out snacks special all traits. We don't have them. You know We've just concentrate on breakfast lunch and dinner and just getting through the day. He turned up food banks to try and get food. He relied on handouts from liquid assets groups. Next thing I know someone reach out to me on facebook and I had a Bagel box of super big box. Pancake mix overseen big jar of Syrup And it was a great blessing. And there's even a few bucks for gas. Which was very touching is that time. I'd have no gas anywhere and he will say relied on the kindness of his neighbors. He told me invited into their homes to feed him and family. I I am neighbors. Come over one night wrapped in and the mother. Dennis speak English showing spoke broken Spanish. She had her daughter with me and I wrote said that they had a Turkey. I went over to their house and it was the biggest most beautiful spiral ham I'd ever seen. I told him I said this. Turkey is a ham. Do you want me. Just put it in my freezer for you know. Eat It you know. I got a little girl speaking for him. And that was a blessing and All through this and ask my son. Danny I always say. Don't bless me. He's spoils me so Lee out of work but obviously for no fault of his own. This is much bigger than him. Was there any kind of public assistance that he could access the oversee qualifies obtain food stamps? Now which is federal government program to low income Americans access to stamps to exchange for food. He's also eligible to claim unemployment as well but he's had a huge amount of difficulty accessing both those programs the department overseeing unemployment claims that Mississippi has been completely overwhelmed by this crisis on employment. I can't our that. I've been on the phone. What what not ring and ring for weeks on end now. I mean every Monday I subscribe for four five dollars ring and nothing happens. Nobody site before the public hit. Mississippi was receiving around a thousand new unemployment claims each week but since nineteen is happened now receiving about forty six thousand claims a week. Make no mistake. This is not only public health disaster. This is also an economic disaster in Mississippi and in this nation we understand that with the workload at the Department of Employment Security Being thirty x compared to what it was two weeks ago. I just ask you to be patient. Put yourself in those employees shoes. What about from the federal government on the trump administration was sending out stimulus checks to Americans around the country to did that make difference relief so Lee received his check from Donald Trump. Twelve hundred dollar. Check that every American is entitled to is part of the stimulus package that was passed by Congress. When you talk about a six point two trillion dollar bill and this will deliver urgently needed relief to our nation's families workers and businesses and That's what this is all about. Don't trump it's been pains to make sure that his name is on. Every one of those checks they sent out but basically lead hoped me now was essentially not enough for him. It's me day today. The past two weeks. I put food in the fridge. We've basically take taking care of day-to-day needs with that..

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