U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran campaigned across South Mississippi on Thursday, highlighting federal government spending on education and shipbuilding, themes central to his comeback attempt against state Sen. Chris McDaniel.
McDaniel, meanwhile, barnstormed around the northern part of the state. His bus took him to restaurants in Ackerman, Starkville, Aberdeen and Grenada.
In Biloxi, Cochran joined hundreds of teachers gathered at the Coast Convention Center for a state Department of Education conference on challenges in teaching and the latest on Common Core, a set of standards McDaniel vigorously opposes. Many attendees thanked Cochran for supporting education. Dozens of photographs and more than a few selfies were taken.
"I'm very grateful for the appreciation they've expressed," he said afterward. "It reminds me we've done a lot of work on education issues. As an Appropriations member, we've tried to allocate sufficient funds for teacher training, to try to help improve curriculum that's available to schools, also graduate education. There are all kinds of programs the Department of Education has some influence in, all for the benefit of having well-qualified teachers and students that are ready to learn and eager to learn."
McDaniel has said he would abolish what he calls the unconstitutional Department of Education and turn all decisions about schools over to local authorities.