Jones County – Republican Senator Michael Watson, a candidate for the office of Mississippi Secretary of State, stopped by to speak to the Jones County Republican Women Wednesday, September 11 during their monthly meeting. Watson will face Democratic candidate Johnny Dupree in November.
Watson discussed a couple of the main issues facing the state of Mississippi and the office of the Secretary of State.
“The number one issue we want to address is making sure only U.S. citizens are voting in our elections,” exclaimed Watson. He said there are stories coming out all over the country of illegal immigrants voting. “We need to be proactive on the front end instead of reactive on the back.”
Pointing out the senate election on the Coast where the race was decided by one vote, Watson said, “Every single vote counts.” He also discussed the recent raids on the poultry manufacturing industry of illegal immigrants. He said he spoke to Mike Hurst, United States Attorney for the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, and one of the things that got Hurst’s attention was the individuals using fake identifications with possibly stolen Social Security cards to obtain employment.
“If the stories we are hearing are true, what if they were also using these IDs to go vote,” stated Watson, “then you’ve got voter fraud and that’s another big issue.”
The second issue Watson addressed is another issue that has gotten a lot of attention lately –the incompetency of the Department of Motor Vehicles. The DMV is presently under the Department of Public Safety. Watson proposes to move it to the Secretary of State’s office. He said the average wait time across the state in DMV offices is four to six hours, and most of the people are there to get driver’s licenses renewed.
“You’re waiting four to six hours to get a driver license; that’s ridiculous,” said Watson. “Mississippians deserve better than that.”
He said he has a plan called the SIP plan which will provide service, information and professionalism. The service part of the plan includes providing more kiosks for driver’s license renewal in different locations. The informational part of the plan includes better communication and education as to what is needed to obtain licenses by making online renewal available. And, the professional part of the plan includes better worker education and customer service.
Watson added that another way of addressing issues with the DMV includes privatizing some of the demands of the department, which can result in a hybrid system and get government out of the way where needed. He also mentioned that cyber security in Mississippi as another issue facing the Secretary of State office.
Watson said his experience as a senator and the relationships he has established over the years with state legislators will be vital in addressing many of these issues, which are going to need to be addressed by the legislators. He added that his experience as an attorney will also be beneficial in dealing with the issues of the office as well his willingness to work hard and be accessible to the voters.
He concluded by saying that if he’s elected in November, “Please hold me accountable.”
Jones County Republican Women meet on the second Wednesday of each month at noon at the Gables. Next month’s scheduled speaker is Lynn Hosemann, wife of Delbert Hosemann.