Credit: Ty Pinkins for Secretary of State campaign news release
Ty Pinkins, a Rolling Fork native and resident of Vicksburg, has accepted the nomination for Democratic candidate for Mississippi Secretary of State for the November 2023 ballot. Pinkins’ name will be on the November ballot against incumbent Republican Secretary of State Michael Watson.
Pinkins, an attorney, a veteran (21 years in the US Army, three tours of combat in Iraq, awarded the Bronze Star), an author, and a former Presidential Communications Aide to both Democratic and Republican Presidents, had previously announced he was standing for the Democratic nomination for US Senate in 2024.
However, when Shuwaski Young, the original Democratic nominee for Secretary of State, needed to step aside for health reasons, the Mississippi Democratic Party asked Pinkins, who had been actively campaigning for the Senate race for over eight months, to step in.
“I want to wish Shuwaski, my good friend, all the best in his continued recovery, and that he gets back to full health soon,” Pinkins said. “And I deeply appreciate all the work he has put in to address our unnecessarily strict and confusing voting laws, and to make Mississippi an attractive place for business, particularly small businesses and startups.
“I also want to thank our Democratic Party Chair Cheikh Taylor and Executive Director Andre Wagner for having faith in me that I can step in and fill this role. Providing Mississippi citizens and voters with a real choice in the election for such a vital state office is a duty I am happy to fulfill. And I look forward to proving to our voters that I, and our party, provide the best choice .
for moving Mississippi forward in the 21st Century and making it a great place to live and work—for our current citizens, and for those outside our state looking for an attractive location to raise a family, pursue a satisfying career, and start a successful business.”
Pinkins believes that Mississippi voters deserve a system that provides easier, more convenient, and more efficient access to registering and voting—and that this can be done while keeping elections safe, secure, accurate, and trustworthy.
“Voting is the most sacred currency any of our citizens own. Lincoln said that our government is of the people, by the people, and for the people. Access to voting for everyone who has the right to vote is how we ensure that the government properly serves those functions,” Pinkins said.
“There is no reason that in one of the poorest states in the nation, where for instance in the Delta some of the poorest people are spread amongst some of the least densely populated areas, we should be throwing artificial and senseless obstacles in the way of people voting. And we certainly shouldn’t be making it more difficult for our workers, our elderly citizens, our aging, ill
or injured veterans, and our disabled citizens to vote. It shows disrespect for our people and those dedicated, everyday citizens who run our elections when we act like we can’t have online voter registration, early voting, and better provision for absentee voting.
“Forty-nine other states—many of them Republican-run—have implemented things like online voter registration and have made it function perfectly. We’re not backwards, we should be able to do exactly the same. It’s time for our leaders to stop acting like we are. My opponent has been talking about doing that while he’s been in office—but his actual accomplishment in achieving it is absolutely zero. I am sick and tired of our state being the last to do the right thing.”
Pinkins also vows to work with the Legislature and the Governor to restore the ballot initiative.
“We trust those who represent us in state offices and the legislature to listen to the people, and to put into law their views on the issues that affect us the most,” Pinkins said. “But those same officials need to trust the people.
“We once had a functioning ballot initiative that gave the people the right to directly put their views into law. Ever since we lost that, my opponent and his Republican colleagues have been talking about how they’re working to bring it back—it’s really not hard to do it—and promising that they’re going to restore it. But they’ve failed every single time.
“The truth is, when they saw how the ballot initiative worked in real life when citizens used the very law they passed to institute the initiative, they got scared. They saw that what they were telling us everyone wanted was not always the will of the people. That’s why they’ve never put it back in, and when they talk about bringing it back, they want to keep the people from voting on certain things. Because really, they don’t trust us.
“I believe giving Mississippi’s citizens a direct say on matters that are vital to us is the right way. To deny that, or to specifically put certain issues out of reach of that, is cowardly.”
Pinkins said that he will unveil more of his platform on the other matters that the Secretary of State oversees over the coming days and weeks. “We certainly want to make Mississippi an attractive place for businesses, and to make sure that we present to them what they need to thrive as soon as they come here—because we have to compete with other states for those economic opportunities. So that means I’ll have to work with our Public Service Commission and Transportation Commission to make sure the infrastructure is there, and with our education people to make sure that our schools—including especially our community colleges—have the resources to produce graduates with the knowledge and practical skills to provide a quality workforce.
“And I am perfectly willing to work across the aisle to do that. There are good, smart people in our legislature and our state government who may not agree with me on some things, but who want to do their best to make sure that Mississippi’s citizens have what they need to live productive and prosperous lives. I will always work with anyone who is committed to that goal.”