As election season kicks into full swing, SuperTalk Mississippi is offering every candidate seeking statewide office an opportunity to join our airwaves and discuss why they are running.
Shuwaski Young is a Democrat seeking the office of secretary of state. Young, a former congressional candidate, recently joined MidDays with Gerard Gibert. Below is a recap of some key topics from the interview. A full video of the conversation can be found at the bottom of the article.
Reasons for running
Young believes his previous experience working in the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office, as well as his vision for the state as a whole, makes him the ideal candidate.
“I started my career out at the secretary of state’s office when I was a senior at Jackson State University before I graduated,” Young said. “That was during the tenure of Dr. Eric Clark. After graduation, I was hired as director of marketing and training. That was in the elections division and in the education and publications division.”
After Clark’s departure in 2008, Young remained on staff and worked with now-Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann, who held the position until 2020.
“I know a lot about the office, it’s where I got my first start at. I worked under both Democrats and Republicans,” Young explained. “We didn’t see the result we wanted to see during the congressional race and I did a lot of praying over the course of that end of that election. I wanted to come back and make sure folks know that I’m here to stay.”
Public welfare scandal
If elected, Young has expressed that he would like to further investigate the $77 million public welfare scandal that continues to be unveiled across the state. According to Young, the state has not made those found guilty of misspending TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) funding in 2020 face many consequences.
“One thing we know for sure is that people are not being prosecuted in this particular area,” Young said. “On the first day of my office, I’m going to meet with the FBI, I’m going to meet with the United States attorney, I’m going to meet with the state auditor, and we’re going to open up a proper investigation. We can make sure we get to the bottom of what actually happened and that people are held accountable for it.”
Young explained that he believes the state’s top officials, including Governor Tate Reeves, Secretary of State Michael Watson, and former governor Phil Bryant, are not pushing for the case to be addressed enough.
“Obviously, they are not pushing this how they should be. If they did, we’d see more action and accountability actually happening,” Young said.
One concern that Young intends to address if he becomes secretary of state is improving the election system as Mississippi had one of the lowest voter turnouts in the entire country during the most recent election cycle.
“Only about close to 33 percent of folks in Mississippi who were able to vote actually voted,” Young explained. “That is a failure on our actual part as a state. Our electorate needs to be more informed when these elections are, getting people more access to the ballot. That means making sure that we have early voting in this particular state.”
Young added that he would like to implement online voter registration throughout the state, as Mississippi is just one of 10 states without a form of online voter registration. If elected, he also plans to increase wages and training for poll workers to ensure that those working elections are properly prepared.