Windsor logs miles in Sec. of State race

Published 5:00 am Thursday, July 19, 2007

Secretary of State candidate John Windsor stopped in BrookhavenWednesday during a whirlwind campaign tour through SouthwestMississippi.

“They say (elections are) a marathon and not a sprint, but todayit feels like a sprint,” said Windsor, citing other campaign stopsin Fayette, Natchez, Liberty and Jackson.

Windsor, of Corinth, at 29 years old is the youngest candidateseeking the office in the Aug. 7 Democratic primary. He will turn30 before the general election in November, but he does notconsider age a factor in the race.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“I think it’s negligible,” he said. “In the past it may havebeen a factor, but (State Treasurer) Tate Reeves was younger thanme when he was elected.”

Windsor is still often faced with surprise when initiallymeeting people. But after speaking with him, “they usually say weneed more young people in politics,” Windsor said.

The secretary of state’s office is an important, butlow-profile, position and many people are not aware of what itdoes, he said. The office oversees elections, businesses and publiclands.

Windsor said his professional experience has prepared him forthe job and its many aspects.

After graduating from the University of Mississippi with anundergraduate degree, Windsor worked in Memphis and northMississippi as an investment advisor counseling families andcompanies on financial decisions.

Windsor said he did not agree with a plan proposed by Republicanopponent Delbert Hosemann to create a Business Court in the state.Hosemann alleges the new court could remove business disputes fromcircuit court dockets and allow the established court more time topursue its criminal cases.

The government, however, needs less bureaucracy, not more,Windsor said.

“I understand the argument that it might speed up things, butit’s a whole new level of bureaucracy and I think we have more thanenough of that,” he said.

Windsor later became a teacher with the Coffeeville SchoolDistrict, where he taught seventh and ninth grade history,geography and Mississippi studies.

The experience has contributed to what he considers his twopriorities should he be elected – public education and cleanelections.

Windsor said that although the secretary of state’s office hasno direct influence on public education, he would use its influenceto call on the governor and Legislature to fully fund theMississippi Adequate Education Program every year and not just inelection years.

“Clean elections” would be his primary goal, however.

“I believe someone with experience with elections is neededgiven the recent ruling,” he said. “I’ve been a poll worker forover 10 years.”

Windsor said a recent court ruling to require voters toreregister as Democrat, Republican or independent was not good forthe state.

“People in Mississippi are independently minded and don’t want afederal judge telling them how to vote,” he said.

The ruling could further disenfranchise voters at a time whenonly about 40 percent participate in elections. The state should bedoing things to encourage election participation instead oflimiting it, he said.

Windsor said a majority of poll workers are over 70 years of ageand will soon be retiring. Replacing them may be a problem, hesaid, and the knowledge that could be lost on how to manage apolling precinct is invaluable.

“We need to encourage more young people to get involved aselection workers and draw on the experience of those seasoned pollworkers,” he said.

The ruling also mandated the state to create a voteridentification system to address the potential of voting abuse.

“Frankly, I think it’s an assault on the poll worker,” hesaid.

Many poll workers have been on the job for 30 years or more andknow everyone who comes in to cast a vote, he said. They would knowif an illegal vote, such as for a dead person or an illegalimmigrant, were cast, he said.

“I haven’t seen this outlandish voter fraud that’s been alludedto,” he said, “But it appears we’re to have a voter identificationsystem anyway.”

Windsor will meet fellow Democrats Robert H. “Rob” Smith andJabari Toins in the Aug. 7 primary. The winner will advance toNovember’s general election to face Republican Hosemann, Mike Lott,Jeffrey Rupp or Gene Sills.