From staff reports
Q: Why did you decide to run for the District 72 post?
A: We face critical times in our state and nation. We need visionary leaders and talented, dedicated citizens willing to make sacrifices in tackling some very crucial issues. I decided to offer my service in this position because I truly believe I can make a difference in the district and in the state. Whether by appointment or election, I’m convinced that public service is a calling. Everyone is not suited to the tasks or the sacrifice. I believe that I am. I have talked with many residences throughout the district, and I find that they are beginning to lose faith in their elected officials. My parents taught me to never give up hope, when it comes to the public service. And, I never have. I’m challenged by the goal of overcoming mediocrity. I want to make things better for every person in our state, regardless of their color or nationality, regardless of their economic status, regardless of who they love or where they worship. I have dedicated my life to public service. I am willing to make the sacrifice for a greater good. Running for House District 72 is just the next logical step in expanding what I’ve done all my life. I want to be a change maker and prepare ever citizen for the next century. With God’s help and guidance, and the voters, I can help the people overcome that which keeps Mississippi of the bottom of the scales of progress.
I was born and raised in District 72. I own a home in the same neighborhood where I grew up. My educational background and myriad experiences at all levels of government has prepared me for the trying times in our district and in our state.
Mark Twain once suggested that the two most important dates in a person’s life is the day they are born, and the date they know “why.” Being a state Representative is a part of the “why” of my life. When voters elect me to office on Aug. 23, they will become a part of the “why” as well.
Q: What career experience makes you the top candidate?
A: The Mississippi Legislature need visionaries who can be a part of the solution and not the problem. With shrinking tax bases and pressing social and economic issues, lawmakers will address issues that impact all levels of education, affordable and accessible health care, public safety and economic development. Lawmakers are duty bond to provide solutions for all the people of the State.
I am a product of Mississippi’s public school system, as are my parents and grandparents before me. I attended Green Elementary, Powell Jr. High and Murrah High Schools. Following in my father’s footsteps, I earned my B.A. (Criminal Justice) at Jackson State University. When I notice the correlation between crime and education, I returned to Jackson State to earn a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education. After I returned to Mississippi from my position with Homeland Security and Congressman Bennie Thompson in the District of Columbia, I accepted a scholarship that led to a master’s in Business Administration at Millsaps’ Else School of Business. I earned the MBA while serving as the Chief Administrative Officer/city Manager by appointment of Mayor Chokwe Lumumba and Acting Mayor Charles Tillman. I currently serve as the City of Jackson’s state and federal liaison to the Mississippi Legislature and Congress by the appointment of Mayor Tony Yarber.
In the area of education I have facilitated the structuring of a public school districts budget appropriation and understand the importance of fully funding MAEP. I’ve taught in a public school system and understand the pay scales, the student demands and limited resources they face. While working for Congress, I assisted in developing the foundation for what would become the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the program that replaced the failing No Child Left Behind Act. Along with Congressman Bennie Thompson, we were able to steer needed funds to Mississippi school districts to foster more progressive and innovative school programs. This experience will facilitate the education of Mississippians at all levels.
In my career I’ve served over 14 years as a law enforcement professional earning the rank of sergeant. I have served as director of the youth Police Athletics League (Hattiebsurg), school resource officer, team facilitator for the Hattiesburg mental health court program and as professional staffer to the U.S. Committee on Homeland Security (CHS). I am keenly aware of the divide between communities and the police and have worked to develop programs to build public trust on both sides of the table. Additionally, I have worked on legislation that has resulted in the creation of resources for local law enforcement, promoted transparency in the investigation of high profile cases and situations, fostered cooperation between law enforcement agencies and communities, and ensured safety from terrorist threats, both domestic and foreign. I will utilize this experience in setting policy in the legislative district and the state of Mississippi.
I will be a major asset to the policy making of House District 72, because I’ve worked through non-profits to promote awareness of childhood obesity, infant mortality, high blood pressure, and many other chronic health issues that plague Mississippians. Through the office of Congressman Bennie G. Thompson, I have promoted the expansion of Medicaid through the Affordable Health Care Act, encouraged the accessibility and affordability of health services in the Mississippi Delta, and fought to ensure more veterans received quality, adequate medical care.
In the area of economic development, I will bring a variety of experiences to the capital. I worked with congressional staffers to fight to maintain and increase funding opportunities for the U.S. Small Business Administration to ensure that more minorities and women could start, maintain and grow their businesses. I facilitated Tougaloo Colleges’ development of their Center for Outreach for Disadvantaged Farmers, Ranchers and Veterans which was a direct assistance to the people of Madison and Hinds County. As Chief Administrative Officer/City Manager for the City of Jackson, I managed the funding appropriation which allowed the city to place or higher over three-hundred (300) youth for summer employment. As legislative liaison for the city, I helped Jackson get $16.5 million for infrastructure improvements through the Mississippi Department of Transportation and fought for legislation that would improve our failing infrastructure and help our public safety personnel.
These are just a few of the career experiences in have that specifically relate to policy, legislation and community enrichment which explain why I am the top candidate.
Q: As representative, what are the top three issues you want to tackle?
A: My top areas of interest are public education, economic development, and public health and safety.
I will sponsor bills that restore funding and promote the success of our public schools. That includes, but not limited to: (1) fully funding education K-12, (2) a research project to study the correlation between the lack of education and incarceration, (3) increase teacher benefits and resources and (4) develop pilot program to substantially reduce Mississippi’s dropout rate.
I will sponsor bills that make health care more accessible and more affordable. This includes the expansion of Medicaid and restores funding to the Mississippi Department of Mental Health. This will impact nearly a million men, women and children.
I will sponsor a bill to create diverse commission charged with redesigning the Mississippi State flag. Legislators must shoulder this responsibility. The confederate flag is a part of Mississippi’s past and not its future. I truly believe that changing the flag will go a long way in eradicating the mindsets that foster intolerance, racism and discrimination.
I will sponsor bills that expand opportunities for small businesses and new industry development.
I will sponsor bills that address the disparity in sentencing, probation and parole on minorities. Specifically, I will sponsor a bill that will require that any amended or new criminal laws include a “racial impact statement” indicating the disparate impact that the new or amended law will have on minorities and children.
I will sponsor bills that offer training and resource assistance for our public safety officials. Specifically, a bill that would require public safety funds for cities that police venues where State buildings and offices are located. I will also sponsor a bill which requires that all law enforcement certification programs in Mississippi include diversity and sensitivity training modules.
Q: What do you want voters to know about you that wasn’t previously addressed?
A: I want voters to know that I am a Christian. I want them to know that I am a man of integrity. They should know that I can be their voice in the Legislature – willing to stand up and to speak out as their advocate. I come from good stock. My father served in Germany during the Vietnam war and retired from the Mississippi National Guard. In 1972, he died of cancer after suffering with a bone cancer for 11 years. My mother has been the stronghold of our family. She honorably served House District 72 for nearly seven years before being elected as a circuit court judge. She is the first African American and the first woman elected to the circuit bench. Currently, she is the first African American and first woman to serve as the Senior Circuit judge in Hinds County after being on the bench for nearly 20 years. She is a phenomenal woman and she has taught my sister and I to seek God’s favor in all we do. My sister, Dr. Nikisha Green Ware is a dedicated educator and spent many years uplifting the community and developing programs that lowered the dropout rate and increased the success of young minority males.
I want the people to know that I am prepared to lead and ready to serve. But, they must get out and vote for me on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016 or I will be the best House District Representative that never was.