The qualifying deadline has passed for candidates who plan to run in the primary elections this summer and in the general elections in the fall. It is not too late, however, for each resident to help promote democracy in Jackson, Hinds County, and all of Mississippi. As a matter, getting involved in campaigns and voting for candidates ought to be taken as sacred obligations for those who believe in democracy.
Many people wait to come out and vote for the president of the country but little else. This year there is no presidential election, but almost equally as important is the fact that during this election cycle, Mississippi citizens have an opportunity to elect people who have been supportive of the current federal officials as well as those who will be in charge of the election machinery when the federal officials run next year.
Officials at the federal level decide the fate of national laws, including things like voting rights protection, criminal justice reform, healthcare, food and housing assistance, and the appointments of federal judgeships and agency heads. These are critical things that no citizen should allow others to decide for him/her, especially if it is due to the lack of initiative. At the same time, voters should be aware that the state-level candidates who are on the ballot this year should not be ignored. They lay the foundation for much of what will happen at the federal level next year.
Most of the activity for the August 8th primaries and November 7th general elections will be at the state level, for state-wide and regional positions, and seats in the state Senate and House of Representatives. These officials decide on local laws, taxation, public education, apportionment or the alignments of voting districts, crime and punishment, and much more that touch everyday lives.
For these positions, which are often overlooked or by-passed by politically ambitious people as well as by voters, this year there are plenty of takers. The line-ups for these offices are as follows:
• Governor – Gwendolyn Gray as an Independent; David Hardigree, Tate Reeves, and John Witcher as Republicans; and Brandon Presley as Democrats
• Lieutenant Governor – Ryan Grover as a Democrat and Delbert Hosemann, Shane Quick, Tiffany Longino, and Chris McDaniel as Republicans
• Secretary of State – Michael Watson as a Republican and Shuwaski Young as a Democrat
• Attorney General – Lynn Fitch as a Republican and Greta Martin as a Democrat
• State Auditor – Larry Bradford as a Democrat and Shad White as a Republican
• State Treasurer – Addie Green as a Democrat and David Mcrae as a Republican
• Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce – Robert Bradford, Robert Briggs, Bethany Hill, and Terry Rogers as Democrats and Andy Gipson as a Republican
• Insurance Commissioner – Mike Chaney and Mitch Young as Republicans and Bruce Burton as a Democrat
• State District Attorney – Jody Owens as a Democrat and Darla Palmer as an Independent
• Central District Public Service Commissioner – Brent Bailey as a Republican and Dekeither Stamps as a Democrat
• Central District Transportation Commissioner – Willie Simmons as a Democrat and Ricky Pennington as a Republican
• House District 63 – Stephanie Foster and Dynamore White as Democrats
• House District 64 – Angela Grayson and Kia Jones as Democrats
• House District 65 – Chris Bell is unopposed.
• House District 66 – Gregory Divinity, Roshunda Harris Allen, and Fabian Nelson as Democrats
• House District 67 – Earle Banks is unopposed.
• House District 68 – Zakiya Summers is unopposed.
• House District 69 – Tamarra Butler-Washington, Allan Cole, Patty Patterson, and Iva Steptoe as Democrats
• House District 70 – William Brown is unopposed.
• House District 71 – Ronnie Crudup is unopposed.
• House District 72 – Justis Gibbs, Synarus Green, Rukia Lumumba, and Ailean Stingley as Democrats
• House District 76 – Gregory Holloway as a Democrat and Ricky Smylie as a Republican
• Senate District 25 – J. Walter Michel is unopposed.
• Senate District 26 – John Horhn is unopposed.
• Senate District 27 – Hillman Frazier and Marvin Hightower as Democrats
• Senate District 28 – Sollie Norwood is unopposed.
• Senate District 29 – David Blount and Dwayne Pickett as Democrats and Michael Carson as a Republican
Because there is such a long list of candidates and because of the grave responsibility the officials have, it is incumbent upon citizens to carefully scrutinize the candidates. For that reason, we endeavored to get the list out early enough to enable citizens to evaluate each candidate and leave no stone unturned. Our community and state deserve the best.
If your preferred candidate is not on the ballot or if your favorite is unopposed, volunteer to help someone else who shares your interests and concerns. Help us as a society get the best people elected. What each candidate needs are supporters in order to get in office and to get the job done. Democracy depends upon that. What we need is for them to get elected and to perform well. Once they are elected, we must do whatever is necessary to keep them informed, honest, and accountable. That, too, is what democracy is all about.
Getting to know who the candidates are is just the first but it is an important step.