CL EXCLUSIVE: Former Obama appointee Shuwaski Young says he will seek Mississippi congressional seat
July 15, 2021
After over a decade away from Mississippi and several stints in the Democratic Party’s political machine, Shuwaski Young is running for Congress in the state’s third congressional district, he told the Clarion Ledger Wednesday.
Young, 38, a native of Philadelphia, Mississippi, worked for former President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012and was one of Obama’s appointees to the Department of Homeland Security. Young also worked to elect Hillary Clinton and most recently worked for the California Democratic Party as an organizer in the San FranciscoBay Area.
Mississippi’s third congressional district stretches across the state, from Natchez to Starkville, including Rankin County and a small portion of Jackson. The district is about 64% white, and just over a quarter of people living in it have a four-year college degree, according to U.S. Census Bureau Data.
Republicans have controlled the district since 1997, and incumbent U.S. Rep. Michael Guest, R-Brandon, defeated his 2020 Democratic opponent by more than 100,000 votes.
A Jackson State graduate and former U.S. National Guard member, Young said he returned to Mississippi from California at the beginning of June. He said his time away helped him learn about how people live across the country, and how Mississippians can be better served by government. Now he wants to make a difference.
“I’ve often seen Mississippians go elsewhere to build a family and a life elsewhere, never to return for reasons that are obvious,” Young said. “We have inadequate educational funding, a lack of access to gainful employment opportunities, a lack of inclusiveness and the inability to create generational wealth.
“This has been the case for far too long here.”
Ideologically, Young describes himself as a moderate Democrat, and said he isn’t interested in playing politics that divide people based on race, gender or sexual orientation. Young has never held elected office before.
“I’ve dedicated my life to public service,” Young said.
He has a family history of political involvement in Mississippi — Young’s grandfather, Joe Lyons, was the Neshoba County NAACP president.
Young said there are four key issues for his campaign: Increasing investment in infrastructure projects in Mississippi, helping small businesses continue to recover from COVID-19, increasing access to food, clean drinking water and healthcare, and helping to expand and preserve access to the ballot box.
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Winning a general election as a Democrat will be difficult, but Interim Campaign Manager Jordan Chapman said there is infrastructure in place for support from both the Mississippi Democratic Party and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Fundraising will be key, and the campaign has raised $13,500 in its first nine days, Chapman said.
Organizing voters and doing outreach will also be key if Young is to have any chance of turning the deeply conservative district blue, he said. Young pointed to his experience as an political organizer as evidence he knows how to connect with people
“I’m going to be the first one on the phone, the first one knocking on doors,” Young said. “You have to listen to people and meet them where they are and explain how we are going to get things done.”
Sanderlin, Lee O. “CL EXCLUSIVE: Former Obama appointee Shuwaski Young says he will seek Mississippi congressional seat.” Clarion Ledger. Mississippi Clarion Ledger, July 15, 2021, https://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/2021/07/15/obama-appointee-shuwaski-young-challenge-michael-guest-congress-seat/7964400002/. Accessed September 28, 2021