WATSON: Conservative values ​​are more than just talking points | Politics and News in Mississippi

Reported by Michael Watson, Secretary of State

“Some find it easy to preach conservative ideals, but many find it difficult,” writes Watson.

There are many brands and faces of conservatism in today’s political landscape. While there is room for debate on the latest headlines and conservative points of discussion, as an elected official, I believe it is more important to concentrate on applying our principles when making everyday decisions. For some it is easy to preach conservative ideals, but for many it is difficult, especially when it is not politically purposeful.

During my tenure in the state senate and since taking office as the 36th Secretary of State for Mississippi, I have made a concerted effort to ensure that every decision, no matter how big or small, is influenced by my conservative principles, and I urge my employees to do so. . same. Whether it is purchasing office supplies for $ 3 or putting aside $ 3 million to finance CARES, the rules still apply.

While this is not an exhaustive list, there are some basic standards by which I try to filter all of our ideas and decisions – if you prefer, call it a conservative decision-making checklist.

  • ROLE: Is it the role of the government, free market, or partnership between them? If so, is it the role of the federal, state or local government?
  • AUTHORITIES: Do I or my office have legal authority to do so?
  • COST: What is the cost to the taxpayer? Is the cost necessary and what is the return on investment? Where are the funds coming from and what is the best way to spend them?
  • TRANSPARENCY: How can we ensure the entire process is ethical and transparent? We work for you, the people, and you have the right to know what decisions are being made and what the impact will be on you.

When I first took office after I was elected Secretary of State, I immediately started applying these conservative principles within the agency, especially with regard to costs for taxpayers. We began looking for ways to reduce office expenses, including plans to refurbish the Jackson state-owned building to save on current annual rental fees of over $ 400,000. Additionally, we moved our Gulf Coast office from rented space to a state-owned building, which resulted in another $ 40,000 in annual savings.

Why? Just because we can spend money doesn’t mean we should. Similarly, just because some may have the power to enact policies and laws does not necessarily mean that it is the right thing to do.

For example, House Bill 1163, passed in a legislative session in 2022, created stricter rules for contractors and subcontractors. A license is now required from these specialists for any electrical, plumbing, mechanical and heating, ventilation and / or air conditioning work. While the argument about the safety of life is correct, enforcing the most restrictive measures is not a conservative solution. There are ways to protect consumer safety in this industry through different insurance and registration requirements without creating additional requirements and licensing fees. Could they just require a bond or an insurance policy?

This is by no means an attack on those who supported this legislation, but it is a perfect example of how we don’t have to go from one extreme to the other. We can cross out questions or a conservative decision-making checklist and go through the process without creating unduly burdensome constraints for market participants.

While I do not pretend to know all the answers, I fully believe that if conservatives spent more time acting according to conservative principles, rather than just talking about them, political decisions would be much more intellectually wise. I call on each of you to hold your elected officials accountable, hold me accountable. Make sure that the rules on which any official campaign is based are the same rules that he or she is following. Again, we work for you people!


Reported by Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson.


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