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Facing the Primaries: District 55 candidate responses to our questions (Denton)

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The Aug. 8 primaries are quickly approaching. At that time, voters will make their voices heard and select the candidate they want to represent them. In light of the upcoming election cycle, Vicksburg Daily News has reached out to the candidates on the Warren County ballot and posed a series of questions on behalf of our readers.

We reached out to each of the candidates running for District 55, Oscar Denton and Kimberly Stevens.

Questions were asked

  • What are your top three policy priorities if elected to the House of Representatives and how do you plan to address those issues and work towards enacting legislation to benefit the constituents?
  • Are there any specific industries or initiatives you plan to support to boost businesses and employment opportunities?
  • What measures do you propose to improve healthcare affordability, accessibility, and quality within your district?
  • What are your plans to improve and maintain infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, public transit, and broadband internet access?
  • How do you plan to stay connected with the residents of our district, seek their input, and ensure that their voices are heard in the decision-making process at the federal level? 

Answers were given

I am Representative Oscar Denton, elected to serve House District 55 in the special election of 2013. Currently, I am running for re-election. As a lifelong resident of Vicksburg and proud graduate of Rose A. Temple High School, I later attended Utica Jr. College before embarking on a nearly forty-year career with AT&T.

I’m a former union leader, having served as a Shop Steward, Vice President, and President of CWA Local 3518. Additionally, I was a board member of the Central Labor Council and certified as a union contract negotiator at the George Meany Institute in Silver Spring, MD.

At St. Mark Freewill Baptist Church, I serve as a Deacon, Trustee, and Member. In community service, I hold the Chair position on the Salvation Army Board and am a former Board member of United Way of West Central Mississippi.

In the legislature, I serve as Treasurer of the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus. I’ve also served as Vice Chair of Tourism and as a member of several committees, including Gaming, Drug Policy, Insurance, Transportation, and Workforce Development.

I am married to the former Cathy Naylor, and we are the proud parents of three children, four grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. We are all proud products of public schools.

I support the following:

Medicaid Expansion
Fully funding MAEP
Recruiting and retaining highly qualified and effective teachers (I proudly supported the 2022 teacher pay raise)
Upgrading and maintaining our roads and bridges
Creating high-quality and well-paying jobs

My top three policy priorities are Medicaid Expansion, fully funding MAEP, and creating high-quality and well-paying jobs. I will continue to advocate for Medicaid expansion as our hospitals are in crisis, and people’s lives are at stake. It is sound economic and health policy to expand Medicaid.

I am pleased to have received endorsements from two of the leading education organizations in the state: the Mississippi Association of Educators (MAE) and the Mississippi Public Education PAC. Their endorsement recognizes my strong commitment to public education. I believe that fully funding MAEP will provide adequate resources to our school districts, enhancing the quality of education for our students.

I am proud to have partnered with our legislative team to secure $3.9M for Vicksburg to assist in costs associated with the repair, rehabilitation, and construction activities for the Mississippi Center for Innovation and Technology. This center will equip our young people with the skills to secure high-quality and well-paying jobs right here in Vicksburg.

My requests to serve on the Tourism, Gaming, Transportation, and Workforce Development committees are due to their importance to Vicksburg and Warren County. Collectively, these committees set the policy agenda for economic development, which leads to job creation.

Medicaid expansion, in addition to being a health priority, also makes good economic policy. Our state has been given an unprecedented opportunity, and I will continue to work with our municipal and county leaders to access the federal and state funds available for infrastructure development. Access to broadband is as necessary as electricity and water, and we must ensure all our citizens have this access.

I am very open and available to all people. Please feel free to give me a call. My home phone number is listed, and my cell number is 601-529-3391.

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