WCU to host forum with secretary of state candidates


With the general election coming up Nov. 5, Mississippi’s two secretary of state candidates have agreed to talk about their positions during a public forum Oct. 3 at William Carey University in Hattiesburg:

• Johnny Dupree, D-Hattiesburg, was mayor of Hattiesburg from 2001-17. Before then, he was a member of the Forrest County Board of Supervisors for 10 years.

• Michael Watson, R-Pascagoula, represents District 51 in the Mississippi State Senate. An attorney, Watson was elected to the Senate in 2007.

The forum is hosted by the Mississippi Coast Lawyers Chapter of The Federalist Society, William Carey University and The Gulf Coast Business Council. It will take place Oct. 3 at 4 p.m. at Thomas Fine Arts Auditorium.

The non-partisan forum will be free and open to the public. Candidates will be asked to comment on topics selected by event organizers, which will include questions submitted by William Carey students.

Mississippi’s Office of the Secretary of State includes eight divisions overseeing a broad range of public policy and service: Regulation and Enforcement, Business Services, Education and Publications, Elections, Policy and Research, Public Lands, Securities, and Charities. For details, visit www.wow.ms.gov.

“The Secretary of State’s Office plays a crucial role in our state in elections, regulation of businesses and administration of public lands, among other functions. This will be a great opportunity for voters to hear directly from the candidates about their plans for this important office,” said Jane Meynardie, one of The Federalist Society organizers.

WCU Provost Dr. Scott Hummel said the university is honored to co-host the forum.

“Democracies depend on an informed electorate. We’re pleased that both candidates are willing to speak directly to voters during a non-partisan, public event. Universities also play an important role in exposing their students to different viewpoints. This kind of experience helps students, who are also voters, to think critically and evaluate ideas,” Hummel said.

Ashley Edwards is president and CEO of the forum’s third co-host, Gulf Coast Business Council.

“The Gulf Coast Business Council represents nearly 300 businesses, non-profits and other institutions across South Mississippi, employing more than 100,000 people,” Edwards said.

“This forum is an excellent opportunity to hear directly from Mississippi’s secretary of state candidates about their positions on critical public policy issues affecting businesses and industry throughout our state. We are pleased to have the opportunity to partner in this important forum for voters.”

For more information, call Jane Meynardie, (228) 867-7141.