Current Assistant Secretary of State for North Mississippi, Jeremy Martin, is taking a leave of absence from the office in order to run for Northern District Transportation Commissioner.

“For the past eleven years I have worked each and every day to represent the people of North Mississippi and ensure that we connect to the state Capitol with the farthest removed region of the state,” said Martin. “I want to use those experiences that I’ve had and relationships that I’ve built to enhance the transportation industry and infrastructure in the Northern part of the state.”

Martin says the three most important issues he is running on are: First, identify a long term funding source statewide, and a plan to address the issues. Second, bring accountability at MDOT on all levels. Third, make the Transportation department more accessible to constituents.

When it comes to where all this funding will come from, Martin says it has to include all parties.

“I think we have to build a coalition of stakeholders,” said Martin. “From the ag community, manufacturers, county leaders to city leaders, education leaders and business owners. Bring them to the table.”

He said he hopes to then look at the problem from all angles whether that be state or local. He believes the current funding source needs to be reviewed to find a more equitable way for local roads and bridges to be funded.

“We need to make sure everyone is investing in the roads, long term,” said Martin.

While that may seems like an impossible task to some, Martin said his time at the Secretary of State’s office has shown him that Mississippians are resilient when it comes to change.

“I was told for a generation we could never implement voter identification in this state… but we went out and we built a coalition of stakeholders, sold the idea at the local level and were able to do that very successfully,” said Martin.

Martin accepted the position with the Secretary of State’s office eleven years ago. He was hired to create and manage two offices in North Mississippi in which he oversees activities in 32 counties for Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. His responsibilities have included implementing the state’s voter identification law, training election officials, observing elections and others.

He also worked as a school teacher for six years, where he felt he really learned how to connect with and communicate with the public.