Shuwaski Young is the Democratic candidate for Mississippi’s 3rd Congressional District, a seat currently held by Republican Rep. Michael Guest. The Mississippi Free Press sent the following questionnaire to all Mississippi congressional candidates prior to the June 7 primaries. We are are presenting the answers as we received them with only light edits.
What are your policy proposals for education?
As your next Congressman from MS-03, I will promote:
Creation of a diversity pipeline for increased investment in STEM education.
Increased education investment for underserved communities and low-income residents.
Increased educational support for small business ownership programs and business owners, combined with priority land ownership opportunities
What are your policy views when it comes to guns, gun violence and mass shootings?
I am a firm believer in the 2nd Amendment, but it is not unlimited or absolute. Yet, like many Americans, my heart is heavy from the recent shootings in Uvalde, Chattanooga and Tulsa. We need common sense gun control regulations: assault weapon gun control, age restrictions, & universal background checks. This is an American issue and the majority of Republicans agree that we need background checks. I agree with Republicans on this point, and I look forward to working with Republicans on common sense gun laws.
What specific gun regulations do you support, if any?
I believe that Americans should be at least 21 years of age to purchase and/or own a gun, especially a handgun. I believe this standard should not apply in the case of approved hunting firearms. I am open to bipartisan compromise on the issue. I also believe that we should ban semiautomatic assault weapons like the AK15. No one in America should have these types of weapons on our streets. I also don’t know of anyone that deer hunts with these types of weapons.
What are your criminal justice policies and your ideas regarding police violence and brutality?
We must keep our communities safe and we must support our law enforcement by ensuring proper training and pay. To reform the system we must invest more in education. I believe if people have the dignity of a job to take care of their family, we will naturally reduce crime.
What will you do to improve health-care quality and access in Mississippi, including for mental health?
The Build Back Better legislation is our best way to tackle health-care and ensure seniors and those on disability can afford quality care and prescription drugs. I would sponsor legislation that would increase our investment in mental health, especially for our veterans.
What is your position on abortion access and what sort of federal legislation, if any, would you support related to abortion? Please describe any penalties you would support for those who obtain abortions.
First and foremost it is a foundational and unwavering belief of mine that women’s rights are human rights. As a proud Girl Dad, it is imperative that I contribute to an equitable and just country that my daughter and your daughters can grow up in. It is simple, a woman has the sole right to control and determine her reproductive journey and when they decide to become a mother. I understand that we exist in a political landscape and culture that ties in religious beliefs and communal values on a women’s reproductive journey. However, our country’s Constitution is predicated on the separation of church and state. As the future Congressman of Mississippi’s Third District it is my responsibility to guarantee this inherent right to all American women. Finally, I believe that the decision for abortion should be between a woman and her doctor. No one, especially men, should have the arrogance to tell a woman what to do with her own body.
Please list any forms of contraception that you believe should be banned, including birth control pills, Plan B/the morning-after pill, IUDs or others.
None. I believe that access to women’s healthcare is a fundamental right in this country.
What are your ideas for improving our voting and election systems?
We need to catch up with the rest of the country to implement early voting. We also need to pass the Freedom to Vote Act making Election Day a national holiday. People should be able to vote without running the risk of losing their job or pay. Democracy for All and protecting the ballot box has been a foundational campaign promise for me since I started this race in July of last year. For too long, Republicans have gerrymandered and suppressed the vote in Mississippi and all over the country. We’ve seen their recent efforts to restrict the vote in over 38 states throughout the US. My Republican potential opponent, Rep. Michael Guest, voted against the Freedom to Vote Act – right in line with this party. I commend the work of Democratic House leaders like Congressman Thompson as we passed the Freedom to Vote Act in the House in an effort to also make Election Day a federal holiday. I support this legislation and to go further I would like to sponsor a bill to restore federal preclearance requirements. I would aim to provide tax breaks to businesses who actively support their workers being involved in the political process. Our citizens can no longer be intimated into not exercising their right to vote for fear of losing their jobs or losing hours off of their paycheck. Federal elections need to be a federal holiday and I vow to protect the ballot box.
What is your view on systemic racism and taking its impacts into consideration when crafting policy?
I have spoken on this matter frequently in the national press such as the Washington Post and Newsweek. Systematic racism exists in this country and our state. We must be mindful of this reality and must always work to level the equity playing field, especially in our institutions.
What proposals do you support regarding the environment and climate change?
I will focus on advancing agricultural growth, conservation investment and tax breaks for vertical farming investment. I will advance growth opportunities for underserved communities and low-income residents, through investments in climate opportunities: that means clean energy jobs and investment.
What are your policy views on our nation’s immigration system?
We must solve this issue in a bipartisan fashion. Title 42 is not the way to accomplish this goal. Republicans and Democrats must work together on this important issue to pass immigration reform.
What are your views and policy ideas related to LGBTQ rights?
I support the LGBTQIA+ community 100%.
What are your views and policy ideas related to the rights of people with disabilities?
We must ensure federal support to ensure the rights of people with disabilities. I firmly believe in this stance and I will always support people with disabilities.
What changes, if any, do you support making to federal marijuana laws?
Mississippi should fully legalize the use of Marijuana and address the disparity in sentencing for those convicted of nonviolent marijuana offenses, same as other common sense states. The people of Mississippi have already overwhelmingly expressed their stance as the same.
What are your economic policy ideas?
My platform promoties more good pay jobs in rural areas and tax breaks for small businesses as they are the backbone of our community. We must bring Big Business to Mississippi and we must prepare our workforce for these opportunities. I have the connection to do so. As your Congressman for MS-03, I will move forward with the creation of a diversity pipeline for increased investment in STEM and Agricultural growth; Advanced growth opportunities for underserved communities and low-income communities; Investment in conservation, agricultural land restoration, and opportunity expansion programs such as:
Fish and Wildlife Investment and Replenishment
What is your vision for addressing our infrastructure needs?
We must bring Mississippi up to date for the 21 century economy. Our roads and cities need massive investment and improvement. Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, 4.4. Billion dollars will now come to our state for improvement. My opponent voted against these funds. I will work with Republicans and Democrats to continue to build on this progress and create more jobs in District 3 by doing so.
What other policy proposals, if any, do you have that we did not ask about?
Good paying abundant jobs are what Mississippi wants and what Mississippians deserve. Jobs and educational funding for K-12 and low-income families will be my top economic priority in Congress. I vow to focus on tax breaks for small businesses and those who invest in Mississippi.
Tell us anything else about yourself that you think voters ought to know.
I will be a Congressman for all Mississippians, not just Democrats.
Shuwaski Young Bio
Congressional District: 3rd (Incumbent is Republican Michael Guest)
Profession: Nonprofit Executive
Location: Philadelphia, MS
Editor’s Note: When the MFP first published this article, Republican Rep. Michael Guest was mistakenly labeled as a Democrat. We corrected the story shortly afterward, and we apologize for the error.