Candidate Questionnaire: Howard Sherman | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Candidate Questionnaire: Howard Sherman

Howard Sherman, an investor and husband to actress Sela Ward, is running as a Democrat in the crowded primary for Sen. Roger Wicker’s seat.

Howard Sherman, an investor and husband to actress Sela Ward, is running as a Democrat in the crowded primary for Sen. Roger Wicker’s seat. Photo by Howard Sherman

Fast Facts About Howard Sherman

Election: Democratic Senate Primary

Age: 63

Family: Austin 24, Anabella 20 (Sela Ward, spouse)

Place of Residence: Meridian, MS

Education: BA Claremont McKenna College, MBA Harvard Business School

Work Experience: Entrepreneur since 1979 - starting and mentoring young companies in varied industries: Health Sector,Medical Devices, Consumer Products, Consumer Electronics, Health & Beauty, Health & Fitness, Finance

Current Job: - CEO Inventure Holdings with primary emphasis on the health sector

The Jackson Free Press reached out to all candidates in the four Mississippi Congressional districts who are listed on a primary election ballot on June 5, regardless of whether they had a challenger or not. Each candidate received the same five-question questionnaire. We've published their responses in full below, with minimal edits for editorial/reader clarity only. The JFP did not copyedit or line-edit candidate responses. The views expressed by candidates do not necessarily reflect the views of the JFP.

Why does your district (for senators, your state) need you right now?

The state of Mississippi needs new and a different kind of leadership.

With a legacy and history of legislators at the helm in Jackson and Washington DC, the result is a state (us) at the bottom of almost every meaningful life quality and economic scale. My unique value proposition as a lifetime entrepreneur is to reach across the aisle (as is done every day in the business world) and to the private sector to come up with creative solutions to the problems that face the state that do not exclusively rely on "tax and spend" or "spend and tax". In addition, as a senator who will accept ZERO $'s from special interest and corporate donors, I will govern based upon what is best for Mississippi, based upon acumen, and based on fairness as opposed to WHAT the financial donors who gave me $'s to hijack how I vote and what I advocate for want.

Provide one or two examples of when you have been an advocate for your district (or state) in your personal or professional life. What was the result?

Too many to count:

—Hope Village for Children - in 1998, my wife, Mississippi's own Sela Ward, and I took on the community and state problem of siblings being separated after their parents' rights had been terminated. When "Jimmy" and "Michael", two African-American young boys temporarily housed in the local Meridian emergency shelter were going to be separated, we made it our life goal to never have that happen again (by the way, we were able to prevent their separation from happening). We embarked on a 2-year journey to raise the $1 million to purchase 26 acres just blocks from the local Meridian school for our planned "Hope Village for Children". In 2000 we opened our doors and have since assisted and served over 3,000 kids from around the state. In 2017 when the result of the legislature passing HB 2179 was going to cause the kids in the state's care to suffer dramatically and the state to be in violation of the settlement terms of the Olivia Y lawsuit, I raced to Jackson to sit with Commissioner Dickinson to brainstorm ways to avert disaster. In February 2018 when Senator Wicker voted in favor of the Family First Protection Act in Washington DC that slashed the funding that fuels the care of kids in Mississippi and added additional requirements on what facilities need to have in order to receive what few kids the state could afford to send, the second "Red Line" was crossed and I filed to run for the US Senate so our kids would never have someone who is supposed to represent them instead take action that harms instead of helps.

—Health Care - to facilitate more accessible and lower cost healthcare, I'm actively working with local hospitals in Meridian to offer:

—Telemedicine - so patients can see doctors for a fraction of the cost and without having to take a day off work or clog up the doctor's office or hospital emergency room.

—Medical Tourism - working with Meridian hospital to drive the cost down on certain medical procedures that people currently go elsewhere for (Mexico, India, etc.). The result will be people instead coming to Meridian for these procedures which will spur job growth, $'s spent in hotels & restaurants, etc.

In the past year or so, what was the most important vote taken for your district (or state)? How would you have voted and why? What is the most pressing issue for your district (or state)?

As stated above HB 2179 effectively cost our kids over $50 million in matching DHS funding. The further waterfall effect of the passage of this bill is that the state is in violation of the settlement terms of the Olivia Y lawsuit which gives the federal government the right to take over the care of the state's kids where the parents' rights have been terminated (THIS WILL BE A DISASTER). Both of my opponents in this race voted for this bill, either because they don't care about kids or because they didn't understand the ramifications of their actions or ask the right questions. Either way, they voted for a bill that has created a disastrous situation for 6,000 precious children that need no additional adversities to overcome. Needless to say I would have voted against this bill and would have shouted 24 hours a day until my colleagues understood what they were doing.

I would be remiss also if I did not mention voting on Medicaid expansion and the state's refusal to accept billions from the Federal Government that could have helped stem the tide plaguing so many Mississippians caught in the "gap". I would have voted to accept the Medicaid expansion!

If you could propose one piece of legislation that would greatly improve the quality of life for people your district (or state) what would it be?

While legislation supporting job growth, education, and infrastructure would have mega impacts on the community, the most universal piece of legislation I would propose would be in the area of healthcare. A day without access to affordable and quality healthcare is like a month. A month without access is like a year. And a year could mean the difference between surviving and not surviving. In addition, if Mississippi's citizens are not healthy, we are handicapped in being good parents, good spouses, good employees, and good citizens. Thus, I would propose legislation that expands Medicaid, promotes technologies like telemedicine and medical tourism, and encourages low cost diagnostic devices because step one in good health care is good diagnostics (I'm personally involved with Healthcubed, a portable device we are using in remote parts of India and Africa that can be used right here in Mississippi to provide blood tests for literally under $1).

If you are unsuccessful in winning your race, how specifically will you continue working on behalf of your district (or state)?

Mississippi has ranked at or near the bottom of key indicators in jobs, healthcare, education, infrastructure, and prison/incarceration reform. With the state being so blessed and gifted in the arts where its genius and inherent abilities have fertilized kindred spirits around the world, I will continue to work to raise our ranking from #50 to #45 to #40, etc. The raw materials are here. The talented people are here. The willingness to roll up our sleeves is here. All that is missing is leadership and a focus in Washington on what is best for the citizens of the Magnolia state and not what is best for the party or for the special interests that facilitated the election of our politicians.

Read more 2018 election stories at jfp.ms/2018elections. The JFP is still taking candidate questionnaires. Don't see your candidate? Tell them to email their questionnaire to [email protected].

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