When Democrat Velesha Williams announced on Saturday at the Old Capitol Museum in Jackson that she will be running for Governor in 2019 there were no large crowds or TV cameras.
In attendance were a couple dozen friends, prospective volunteers and campaign workers. The media packets she distributed to the three media people on hand to cover the event, referenced “David and Goliath” to signify the struggle she has in front of her.
Her announcement stood in stark contrast to Attorney General Jim Hood’s announcement which featured lots of fellow elected officials and party insiders. So far in 2019, many within the party have put their weight behind Jim Hood, and dubbed him “the last Democrat in Dixie.”
But it’s not insurmountable. In 2015, the Democrat establishment tried to handpick local trial lawyer Vicky Slater. Insiders said things like, “We like to think of her as our Kirk Fordice.” Money flowed to her campaign primarily from trial lawyers. She had volunteers and campaign workers that came from within the party.
She then lost to Robert Gray, a sweet potato truck driver that didn’t vote for himself and whose mother didn’t even know he was running. He carried 79 of 82 counties in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. He pulled more than 147,000 votes, or 51 percent, to Slater’s 87,000 votes, or 30 percent, in a three-way race. Democrats were stunned.
For now, Velesha Williams seems to be simply starting with her vision.
When it comes to the issues, Williams stands firm on Healthcare for all, saying that quality healthcare will be the right of all Mississippians not just a privileged few, including the availability of preventative care with a cost-effective method. She wants working Mississippians to have ample opportunities to earn a living also protecting social security and for retired state employees to maintain their cost of living pay.
Other issues Williams believes Mississippi must face soon are failing infrastructure, criminal justice reform, environmental protection, and quality education.
Williams received her Bachelor of Science degree from Jackson State University in 1983 and a Master of Art degree in Criminology and Justice Services in 1996
Williams retired as the Director of Metro Jackson Community Prevention Coalition, a unit within the Office of Community Engagement at Jackson State University. Prior to that she served in the United States Army as a commissioned officer, a Company Commander at Aberdeen Proving Ground and Acting Inspector General at Red River Army Depot.
She is married to her husband Bennett and has two children, Felicia and Bennett II. She returned home to Mississippi in 1991 to Madison County.
Currently, Attorney General Jim Hood is the only other announced candidate in the race. However, other prospective candidates, including the Mayor of Magnolia, MS, Anthony Witherspoon, are considering jumping into the race.