GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Mississippi’s next Secretary of State is from the Gulf Coast and has big plans to move the Magnolia State forward.
Secretary of State elect Michael Watson grew up in Pascagoula and still resides in Jackson County. It’s the first time in 20 years that a Coast resident has held the statewide office, and he’s very eager to get started.
Watson says there are a couple of major projects he wants to tackle as soon as he takes office in January.
One of those changes include improving the Department of Public Safety’s process for getting drivers licenses.
“Moving the DMV from the Department of Public Safety over to the Secretary of State’s office has been one of our cornerstone issues," said Watson. "When you travel the state of Mississippi, and over the last five to six years in the legislature, you continue to hear the issue about how people are having such a hard time getting our driver’s license and dealing with the DMV. What is it that we can do? We sat down and put a group together and said let’s make a plan. We feel like it’s a good move for it to come to the Secretary of State’s office. It’s really just ideas, simple ideas that we can implement when you’re focused on a problem because Mississippians deserve better service.”
Another one of Watson’s big projects is changing how statewide officials are elected.
“There’s a piece of Mississippi in our past that we want to do away with," said Watson. “The way the statewide (officials) are elected, you have to do two things. One, you have to win the popular vote but number two, you also have to win the majority of the House districts. If you don’t meet both of those issues, then it goes to the House for a vote. So we’ve looked at that and the history of that and said that’s not good for Mississippi.”
Watson said he hopes these issues will gain momentum when state lawmakers had back to Jackson for the upcoming session. That legislative session re-convenes at noon on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020. Watson will officially be sworn in two days later on Jan. 9.
To read more about Watson’s background and his plans for moving Mississippi forward, visit his website HERE.