Wages Leaves Election Commission and Announces Plans
John M. Wages, Jr., announced his resignation from the Lee County Election Commission effective December 15, 2007.
Wages was elected as the Election Commissioner from the 3rd District in 2004. State law provides that Election Commissioners declare their party affiliation, which is then listed on the ballot. Wages is the first Green Party candidate elected to office in Mississippi. While serving on the Election Commission, he worked for paper ballots and provided options and recommendations for voting systems to the Board of Supervisors. In 2005, Lee County became one of three counties to opt out of Secretary of State Eric Clark's plan for a uniform, statewide system of computer voting using touch-screen voting machines. This decision preserved paper ballots that can be recounted or audited, and also provided a more cost-effective voting system for the taxpayers of Lee County. The State Election Code provides for the Board of Supervisors to choose a replacement to serve the remainder of the term until the next election. In his resignation letter, Wages stated,
"For the past three years, it has been a sacred honor and my great pleasure to serve the citizens of Lee County on the Election Commission. I now look forward to serving the community in other capacities."
Speaking to friends and supporters on January 1, Wages announced plans to run for Congress,
"With respect for the past, hope for the future, and confidence in the rightness of this quest, in accordance with the State Election Code, I have submitted qualifying papers to the State Executive Committee of the Green Party of Mississippi, seeking its nomination for the 1st Congressional District.
America faces challenges unlike any we have ever faced before this time:
· An incredible burden of debt amassed by banks and other financial institutions threatens to dissolve our economy. We must begin to address this crisis not in terms of saving Wall Street, but of saving Americans who stand to lose their homes, savings, and retirement accounts.
· Even after the folly of NAFTA, Congress continues to approve free trade pacts that send America's jobs overseas and that undermine workplace protections for American workers. We must replace NAFTA and similar treaties with Fair Trade agreements that benefit and protect American workers as well as their trading partners.
· Here in Mississippi, we have begun to experience global climate change firsthand in the twin disasters of a devastating hurricane and the ongoing drought. No one person, city, state, or nation can address this problem. Working with other nations, we can limit human suffering and the worst effects of climate change.
· Global petroleum production appears to have peaked in 2006. Our economy is based on the cheap energy contained in liquid petroleum. We must begin a crash course of implementing a national energy policy anchored in conservation and renewables.
· Hiding behind a curtain of lies, the Bush-Cheney administration launched an illegal war of aggression in Iraq. We must immediately end the war, dismantle our bases in that country, bring our soldiers home, and give our veterans the health care and support they deserve.
· Despite these daunting problems and the others space and time do not permit me to mention, the politicians we sent to Washington to represent us spend their time raising campaign cash, strategizing, and winning the popularity contests that our elections have become. Problems in education, healthcare, and other areas are never solved because of the influence of money in politics. We must enact radical campaign finance reform that outlaws all corporate contributions, severely limits contributions from wealthy individuals, mandates equitable media coverage for all candidates, and provides a fair and reasonable level of public financing for campaigns.
· Furthermore, we must call to account, whether by impeachment or by trials in a court of law, all members of the administration and Congress who have violated their oaths of office to support and defend the Constitution. This is not only the Constitutional remedy for "high crimes and misdemeanors," it is the requirement and obligation of all those in elected office who take their responsibilities seriously under the Constitution.
Every challenge is also an opportunity. If we rise to the occasion, with grace and humility, we may not only overcome these problems, but enjoy the fruits of Liberty that are the unrealized vision of Washington, Jefferson, and Madison. If chosen as the nominee, these are the things I will speak about during my campaign."