From staff reports

1WilliamsThe election for House of Representatives District 72 is set for Aug. 23. Candidates for the post will take part in a forum at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 16, at Fresh Start Church, 5210 Manhattan Road in Jackson. Women for Progress of MS, Inc., in partnership with STAND will present the forum. Candidates include A. Shae Buchanon-Williams, Debra Gibbs, Synarus Green and Theresa G. Kennedy.

In a Q&A interview with The Mississippi Link, Buchanon-Williams shared her reasons for seeking the position and her plans.

Q: Why did you decide to run for the District 72 post?

A: As I travel around Mississippi, I see so many needs in our district and our state as a whole and I want to be part of finding solutions to change the narrative of despair and hopelessness I often encounter; and to change the perceptions of the rest of the nation and the world about Mississippi.

I share the life experiences of the people in District 72. I am a product of Jackson Public Schools. I am a divorced mother of four children and as I manage the budget for my household, work at keeping my children focused on their education, make good nutritious choices, promote healthy habits, keep my business on track so that when we flip the switch, the lights come on, living in a reasonably safe neighborhood, and counsel my two sons on how to stay alive, even when they are doing right, I realize that the Legislature has a lot of control over how our everyday lives are impacted. I believe we deserve better and we can do better from a policy perspective, but we cannot continue to do the same thing and expect a different outcome.

With a Republican Super Majority, I fully realize the challenge may be even more difficult, but I have a track record of building successful coalitions in difficult circumstances which resulted in positive outcomes. I am confident I can work with the House leadership to get things done for District 72 without compromising my integrity, my values or the people I represent; anything less will render me and any other legislator ineffective.

Q: What career experience makes you the top candidate?

A: First and foremost my time in the United States Marine Corps was a preparation for life and all its challenges. I was often told as a female, “you can’t,” but I did and more often than not excelled above my male counterparts. I learned about discipline, persistence, sacrifice, leadership, and the importance of believing in one’s self to be the very best at whatever the task. Difficult does not deter me; it motivates me to do more.

Secondly, my work as executive director of Mississippi Faith Based Coalition allowed me the opportunity to provide aid and assistance to individuals who were financially harmed as a result of the 2008 economic crisis. We partnered with pastors, elected officials and community leaders across the state of Mississippi to identify individuals facing housing foreclosure, in many instances, through no fault of their own. Our tireless efforts resulted in over 1,200 families avoiding foreclosure and being able to stay in their homes. Individuals still call on me to help with housing issues.

Third, while I have worked for others, I started a business at the age of 16 which has expanded and is still thriving today. I know what it means to ensure that a payroll is met because employees and their families are depending on me.

Q: As representative, what are the top three issues you want to tackle?

A: There are so many needs in our district and I am sure I will be called upon to cast a vote on legislation that will impact some of them. I want to keep families and children in the forefront. For me, this is the foundation of everything. I will also fight for education, job creation and statewide economic development.

Q: What do you want voters to know about you that wasn’t previously addressed?

A: I am a results oriented coalition builder and collaborator who works to get things accomplished, but I cannot do this alone. I will look to the people of District 72 for guidance and direction. I will also seek support from the district to rally for those things that benefit the district and against those that are not in our best interest.

I am un-bossed. I am un-bought. I am not a puppet. I am an independent servant-leader motivated not by ambition, or the attraction of power, but inspired to serve by the needs of our district and that skills and expertise that I possess. My personal record speaks volumes about who I am as a person, as a business woman, as a community servant and as a leader. That record is one of making a difference and accomplishing positive results for my community. I take great pride in living a life where I can be of service to all people and can find common ground on issues such as family, education and work. Excessive partisanship results in ineffective government. Mississippi is ranked 50th in almost every negative category, and our best and brightest are leaving the state. I will work to find achievable solutions.

I have the proven individual leadership to tackle the full range of issues facing District 72 and the state of Mississippi. Constituents can look to me to exercise reasoned judgment and courage when it matters most. I will fight hard, so that together “we” can have a stronger and more prosperous future. I humbly ask for your vote, your support and your prayers.

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