By Associated Press - Tuesday, January 3, 2017

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves says Mississippi’s bicentennial is a chance to focus on achievement.

He and House Speaker Philip Gunn hosted a bicentennial reception at the Capitol on Tuesday, the opening day of the 2017 legislative session.

Mississippi has long been one of the poorest states in the nation and often ranks low on health, education and other measures. But Reeves says some of the state’s residents have been star athletes, literary legends and groundbreaking scientists.

Republican Reeves said: “We need to stop apologizing and start bragging about Mississippi’s many great accomplishments.”

Concerts and other events are being scheduled around the state the next several months to mark Mississippi’s admission, in 1817, as the 20th state in the union: .

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