By Talbert Toole
Velesha Williams, a Democratic candidate for Mississippi governor, will speak to the LOU community Saturday, April 6 in hopes of garnering support for the 2019 Mississippi election. She will meet on the University of Mississippi’s campus in Lamar Hall Room 131 to speak from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
The event is being hosted by the group Our Revolution Mississippi (ORM)—a group dedicated to enacting progressive political change at the local, state and national levels.
A Jackson State University alumna, Williams will vie for the governorship against eight other Democrats and three Republicans.
She holds a Bachelor of Science degree (1983) and a Master of Arts degree in criminology and justice service (1996).
In June 2016, Williams retired as the Director of Metro Jackson Community Prevention Coalition—a unit within the Office of Community Engagement at JSU. During her tenure at the HBCU, she served as a principal investigator for several federal and state programs, which generated over $10 million in grant funding for the university.
Williams’ resume also comprises military service, as she was a part of the United States Army as a commissioned officer.
She served as a Company Commander at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Aberdeen, Maryland and as the Acting Inspector General at Red River Army Depot in Texarkana, Texas. These two stints were the two most rewarding assignments during her military career, Williams states on her website.
Olivia Hawkins, chair and co-founder of ORM, said the group’s main goal is to elevate political consciousness. Hawkins believes this event will be a “wonderful opportunity” to discuss important issues in the local community and the state, as well as raise awareness for candidates that people may not already know.
“As a retired public servant, Williams has plenty of experience in serving the needs of the public,” Hawkins said.
At this event, ORM hopes to explore Williams’ platform as a candidate in order to allow the citizens of Mississippi to make an informed choice this November, according to Hawkins.
ORM has endorsed politicians such as U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Ilhan Omar.
After the event, Hawkins said her organization should have enough information regarding Williams’ platform and policies to formally make an endorsement in the governor’s race; however, Hawkins is waiting to hear more about issues that are important to her before making a decision on any candidate in the 2020 election.
Hawkins said that Williams’ dedication to the expansion of Medicaid and commitment to creating decent jobs with livable wages are two issues that will help mend the disparities in employment, healthcare, and poverty in Mississippi.
For more information on Velesha Williams’ platform and policies in the 2020 Mississippi governor’s race, visit her campaign website.