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Q&A with Shanda Yates

Sister District sat down with Shanda Yates to find out more about her platform and why she is running for office.

What’s one of the key issues you want to change?

Mississippi’s current leadership has refused to prioritize education for far too long and the effects are staggering. Mississippi’s public schools are some of the worst in the nation.  Our teachers are some of the lowest paid in the nation.   Nearly one-quarter of our public school children are attending schools which are rated as failing or near failing.  We must provide quality education to all of the children in this state and we must pay our teachers competitive salaries. Educating the children in this state is the first step in moving our state forward.



When did you realize you wanted to step up and run for office, and why? Where did you start, and where did you go from there?

Being “in” politics was never on my radar, but seeing change and wanting a better place to raise my 4-year-old son was. When I was initially asked to run, I laughed and told the person on the other end of the line that he must have the wrong number. But, I spoke to my husband and good friends about what I had been asked to do. At the end of the day, I decided that I had to be the change that I wanted to see. I could not continue to sit on the sidelines and complain. I had to step up and be part of the process of moving Mississippi forward.

What does your role as a candidate that also works full-time look like on a week-to-week basis?

I am a working-mother, an attorney and a small business owner. Adding “one more thing” to my plate hasn’t been as difficult as some might imagine. Somehow, when you are passionate about what you are doing, you always find time to carve out of what you previously thought was a completely packed schedule.

How would your victory this fall help to change things in MS’ legislature going forward?

My opponent has held this seat since 1988 – since I was seven years old. It is time for change! It is time to elect a representative who cares about the children in this state, about the teachers in this state and about the working families in this state.

Flipping this seat in 2019 is a critical component of putting an end to gerrymandering in Mississippi. Mississippi’s district maps will be redrawn following the 2020 census. My opponent chairs the elections committee and, as such, would lead redistricting efforts if he is not defeated this November.

My victory would also help break the Republican supermajority in our state and add another strong female voice to our state capitol. Although women comprise more than 50 percent of our state’s population, only approximately a dozen of the 122 House of Representatives seats are held by women.

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