By Othor Cain,
The slate of democrats running for statewide office this year is quite impressive by many accounts and Tuesday, another well-known democrat qualified to run for secretary of state.
Former longtime Hattiesburg mayor Johnny Dupree returns to the political scene as a candidate to replace Delbert Hosemann as secretary of state.
Hosemann, 71, who isn’t seeking reelection for secretary of state, is running for lieutenant governor on the republican ticket.
Dupree, 65, served as mayor of Hattiesburg from 2001-2017. He said Tuesday that election reform will be his top issue, and that his experience as a mayor, a school board member and president, a real estate agent and a small business owner makes him uniquely qualified for the office.
In 2011, Dupree was the Democratic nominee for governor, the first African American to be elected nominee for governor for a major party in Mississippi since Reconstruction. “I was just about content with private life,” DuPree said when asked why he decided to run. “But I started teaching a policy course at (the University of Southern Mississippi) and I talked to and interacted with a lot of young people. It totally surprised me how much work we still need to do with voting, elections – the underpinnings of our democracy.”
Dupree understands the value the secretary of state’s office brings to Mississippi and is certain he has the fortitude to increase voter awareness and other issues crucial to the electoral process.
“There needs to be some election reform in Mississippi,” DuPree said.” How can we make it easier to vote? How do we improve access to the process that is the foundation of our democracy?”
As a small business owner, a leader in his church Mt. Carmel Ministries, DuPree knows first hand the importance of land assessment and property being on tax roles.
DuPree, who owns a consulting firm and a trucking company, said he has experience with 16th Section lands, business and corporation regulations and filings and other issues the secretary of state’s office oversees.