Weeks after Donald Trump captured the White House, leaders in Mississippi are trying to assess what his presidency could mean for the state.
About seventy people from politically and racially diverse backgrounds gathered at a restaurant last night, to hear panelist talk openly about the presidential election. One of the panelist, Republican Lobbyist Austin Barbour, says Republicans will control both chambers of Congress and the White House, which is a plus for Trump.
"And they've got to go hit the big issues. They want to do a big infrastructure project. That's a lot of jobs right there. They want to do something with taxes. They want to do something healthcare. This doesn't have anything to do with jobs. But he's got a big important supreme court justice to nominate right off the top," said Barbour.
Community Activist Cassandra Welchlin is concerned Trump has incited gender bias along with racism, by tapping into the fears of some White Americans including Mississippians, who feel they're being left behind economically.
"He's going to have to I think step up more and be more of a reconciler when it comes to race relations in this country and I think also in Mississippi as well, our leaders have to do the same," said Welchlin.
Panelists say it's too soon to tell what a Trump presidency will actually mean for the state. But Millsaps Political Science Professor Kenneth Townsend is concerned about the Affordable Care Act being repealed, which insures about 60,000 Mississippians.
"If that happens then a number of Mississippians are going to be negatively effected if nothing else is put in its place," said Townsend.
The Mississippi Humanities Council sponsored the forum as part of its "Ideas on Tap" series.