Busby has served in the Legislature for three terms. Current Commissioner King remains undecided on whether he’ll seek a fourth term.
On Wednesday, State Representative Charles Busby confirmed to Y’all Politics that he will run for Southern District Transportation Commissioner in 2023, meaning he will not seek re-election to represent House District 111.
“I have decided that the best way for me to continue to support our state is by putting my experience to use as our next Southern District Transportation Commissioner,” Busby said.
State Rep. Busby, a Republican, has been the Chairman of the Mississippi House Transportation Committee since 2016. He has represented HD 111 for three terms, winning the seat back for Republicans in 2009 when he defeated one term Democrat Brandon Jones for the Jackson County seat. Busby had repeatedly been mentioned over the years in Capitol circles as a possible candidate for Speaker of the House on day, drawing support from many members in the chamber.
“It has been one of the greatest honors of my life to represent you in the Legislature,” Busby stated in a release to the public. “With your help, we were able to put our conservative district back into Republican hands where it belongs and elect a supermajority in the Mississippi House. Thank you so much for your help and the faith you’ve shown in me.”
Current Southern District Transportation Commissioner Tom King told Y’all Politics in July that he was undecided on whether he would seek a fourth term.
According to Busby, King told him in recent conversation that a decision on his potential re-election would not be announced until December or January. Busby said that was too late for him to wait.
“I mean no disrespect to Commissioner King, and I appreciate his service to this state and our country. He has told me that he will make his decision as to whether he will run again in December or January,” Busby said. “With a February 1 deadline for candidates to declare, that timeline simply would not allow my constituents in HD-111 sufficient time to recruit and vet candidates to replace me. That is why I am letting you all know of my decision now.”
As for his reasons for running for the Commission, Busby says transportation infrastructure is entering a dynamic transition.
“Tough decisions must be made related to obsolete roadways versus newer limited access roadways that support the automobiles of tomorrow,” Busby says in his statement. “However, our number one objective must always be the safety of those who travel on our roads – your family and mine!”
Busby highlights the need for the Commission to maintain and protect the state’s most valuable asset – roads and bridges – to sustain the economic viability of Mississippi while promoting future development.
“The Transportation Commission, MDOT, the Legislature and our contractor partners must diligently work together to find solutions that reflect the highest level of stewardship of the tax dollars provided to us,” Busby says. “As alternative fuel and electric vehicles gain more market share the challenges to find funds will be many. We must make the most of what we have!”
Busby goes on to say that he is no stranger to finding solutions to the state’s infrastructure issues. He says he is a licensed contractor, professional engineer and business owner with nearly 40 years of experience managing projects, executing contracts, and holding engineers and contractors accountable for delivering projects on time and within budget that meet or exceed the client’s quality requirements.
“I believe this gives me a unique skillset tailor-made for the opportunity to serve as Transportation Commissioner for Mississippi’s Southern District,” Busby says.
Busby’s entry into this Southern District Transportation Commissioner race could clear the field among Republicans, assuming Commissioner King decides to retire. King’s assistant Troy Ross, a Jackson County Supervisor, has also been mentioned as a possible candidate for the seat. However, it is Busby who has the industry and political relationships experience within the 27-county area to immediately be the odds-on favorite.
No name of a credible potential Democrat has emerged as of yet.