Q: Tell us about yourself and your background.
A: I am a fifth generation Mississippian. I graduated from Noxapater High School and then attended East Central Community College. I went on to graduate from Jackson State University with a major in political science. I interned under former Mississippi Secretary of State Eric Lewis, where I oversaw election commission training. I decided to go into electoral politics. I worked for the Obama campaign in Las Vegas and on his inauguration committee. I was appointed by President Obama to the Department of Homeland Security where I oversaw the "If you see something, say something" campaign. Since then I have worked with the Oakland Children's Initiative, Hillary Clinton's campaign and the San Francisco Bar Association's Justice and Diversity Institute. I left the San Francisco Bar Association in June 2021 to return to Mississippi. I felt the time was right for my family and for myself to run for office.
Q: Why did you decide to run for the third congressional seat?
A: I was born and raised in the third congressional district. My grandfather was the NAACP President in Neshoba County. My civic responsibility is high. I feel it is important to mobilize our state for democrats, republicans and independents. I have the ability to bring in business. There are reputational issues that Mississippi must overcome so the rest of the country will know how great and beautiful this state is. I feel this candidacy is the best Mississippi has seen in a long time. I chose this office because it will allow me to work at a federal level to help make needed changes.
Q: What makes you think a democrat has any chance to win this seat?
A: We all know the 2022 census had some issues. There is usually a turnout rate of 37%. I think it will be higher this time. I believe it can be 40%. My candidacy crosses party lines. I will not be one who votes along party lines every time. The essence of compromise is to agree in the middle. More connects us than divides us. People in Mississippi, including me, firmly believe in the 2nd Amendment. We all grew up shooting guns, but this is different. We do need safe, quality gun control. The current bi-partisan agreement on gun control does not ban assault weapons, but something is better than nothing. That is why amendments can be added. On July 27, I will be at the Neshoba County Fair to speak with Mississippians from all parties, as well as independents.
Q: The June 7 turnout was only 12.59% for the primary. How will you get the voters to turn out to give you that 40%?
A: We will use mass mailing, and we will knock on doors. We know many people do not have high-speed internet, but they do have Facebook and Twitter. We ask that they go to our Facebook page and follow us. We have more than 14,000 Twitter followers. They can follow us with the push of a button. Our email list can be joined at www.Shuwaskiyoung.com.
Q: Your website still does not have an accurate district 3 map. If I live in Marion County, why shouldn't that bother me?
A: No, but our apologies to anyone who has seen that as well as to yourself. We are scrubbing and adding content and fixing everything that needs to be updated at one time, including the addition of rural job initiatives that many people have asked about.
Q: Why are you the best candidate to represent Marion County and District 3?
A: Nobody else running has the background and the love of country and this state that I have. I will be available to my constituents. Guest has missed more floor votes than any other member of congress. I was raised in the church in Mississippi. I will be approachable. I will be there to have a glass of tea or a beer. I will tell you what you need to know and not just what you want to hear.
Q: Marion County is built on small business. Why should small businesses support your campaign?
A: My focus has been coming back from Covid. I will focus on tax breaks for small businesses. They are the backbone of the economy and are the ones who are providing the jobs and deserve the help. Many of these small businesses are owned by women. Pay equity for women is important. I will fight for tax breaks and for protection for voters on election day so they can go vote without fear of losing their jobs. Large companies should be paying 25%, so we can do these things to help small businesses.
Q: Are there any instances where you lean more toward conservative beliefs or when you would be more likely to vote bipartisan?
A: The economy is one place I feel I can work with the republicans. Inflation rates are a problem. I believe in a fiscally conservative approach. I believe changes need to be made to broken programs to make and save money where we can. We must protect our seniors and social security and Medicare/Medicaid. We must make sure there is reinvestment. These programs cannot be allowed to go belly up. Voters need to understand what republicans mean when they refer to "sunsetting" federal programs.
Q: What do believe can be done about racial issues in Mississippi?
A: We have to be able to accept that more connects us than divides us. We have to realize we live in a biracial society. Some will never let go of our dark history, but we live in a land of sacrifice and hope for the future. We have much more work to do. Right now, Mississippi has a chance to unite and have equal justice and fair treatment for all. We are stronger together and must hold to our Christian values and do what we preach about.
Q: What can be done about crime? Especially in Jackson?
A: We must get all assault weapons off of the streets. We must support law enforcement with funding and training. There needs to be no more gangs, and these criminals need to know there will be retribution for what they do. Republicans need to address this, but so do black democratic leaders. Those committing these crimes need to know there will be hell to pay and that law enforcement will find you. That is one reason people pay taxes-for protection.
Q: How can Mississippi retain its talent when people cannot find good paying jobs here and when it is more of who you know than your qualifications?
A: We have to change that. Mississippi pays the bare minimum of wages. I believe a beginning minimum living wage should be $15. We need companies to move here. Ford, Chevrolet, Amazon, banking institutions and more. We must make companies want to invest in Mississippi and to know they have leaders they can work with.
Q: What are your opinions of Trump and Jan. 6 especially?
A: We all saw what happened on January 6. We saw his speech. The election was not stolen. Everyone around Trump told him he lost. He still raised money to fight. The republicans need to admit they were duped. It was a big lie and a rip off. The people involved on Jan. 6 need to come to terms with the fact they were on the wrong side of the law and need to be held accountable.
Q: What do you think of the Biden presidency thus far?
A: He has his hands full. We all could do more to support him. The republican party has done all it can do to make sure he fails. Corporations must do much more to fix the economy.