Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves delivers a keynote address during the third annual Data Summit at The Mill at Mississippi State on Friday. Reeves spoke about the use of data in continuing to improve the state. Photo by: Alex Holloway/Dispatch Staff
September 17, 2018 10:55:42 AM
To Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, data is an invaluable tool for helping the state grow.
Reeves delivered a keynote address on Friday at Mississippi State University's third annual data summit. The summit, held at The Mill at MSU and hosted by the university's National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center, focused on how the state can use data to move forward.
NPSARC works with local, state and federal agencies and with the private sector to produce data for a wide variety of uses.
Reeves said that data is crucial for making strides in all areas, from agriculture and public safety to health care and education.
"I believe it was Jeb Bush when doing education reform in Florida who always used to say, 'What gets measured gets done,'" Reeves said. "What gets measured gets done. That's why what I think (NSPARC Executive Director Domenico "Mimo" Parisi) and his team are doing here, working with so many state agencies, is helping us become a better government -- helping us become a better state."
Reeves said the Legislature relies on data as it has to make decisions on how to appropriate $20 billion in spending annually. He said Mississippi's budget planning process, which begins with hearings this week, relies on data to inform policymakers about the best uses of the state's money.
"Data is quickly becoming the currency for success," Reeves said. "In a small state like ours with limited and scarce resources, precise measurements help us make better decisions on how to serve the state and how to protect and preserve our tax dollars."
Data, Reeves said, is also useful for combating stereotypes against the state. He said Mississippi's GDP has grown total of 13 percent since the first quarter of 2012 to the first quarter of 2018. He lauded Mississippi's pre-kindergarten learning collectives, which he said are being looked at as a model in other places across the United States.
Reeves added that Mississippi has made strides in producing a workforce that's more suited for the jobs of tomorrow, but will have to keep up those efforts.
"A lot of times when we're doing economic development and we're talking to companies that may have preconceived notions either about our workforce or things that are going on in our state, it's incredibly important to take them data -- oftentimes produced by NSPARC -- and prove to them that the workforce is available to meet their demands for employees," Reeves said.
MSU President Mark Keenum, speaking before Reeves on Friday, said the university is continuing to push to expand its capacity to produce data.
"We have one of the largest, fastest supercomputers on any university campus right here at Mississippi State," Keenum said. "We have federal agencies we work with that are investing for us to bring even more machines and more high-tech computing to this university. We're working to address critical challenges and generate more data, knowledge and facts to serve our state and our nation."
In addition to speaking at the Data Summit, Reeves made several stops in the Golden Triangle on Friday, including a tour of the Golden Triangle Early College High School at East Mississippi Community College and lunch in Columbus
"There are a lot of great things going on in the Golden Triangle, with the universities, with the community colleges, with workforce training, with the number of jobs that have been created here over the last 10 years," Reeves said. "It's really doing very, very well and we want to continue to build on those successes."
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