ESA member Bart Williams has been voted into the Mississippi State Senate.
Williams ran in a special election to the Mississippi State Senate to represent District 15. Williams assumed office on Oct. 28 and his current term ends on Jan. 2, 2024.
Williams was elected secretary of the Mississippi Alarm Association (MAA) in 2009 and credits this to starting his path to the Senate.
From secretary, Williams was appointed the Legislative Chair of the MMA in 2012 and a year later, they produced a bill that would require licensure in the state of Mississippi to install security systems.
“Most states had it; we didn’t, so we thought the need was there,” Williams said. “And … the bill was killed in about 30 minutes from one of the big corporate telecom companies.”
Instead of giving up, Williams and the legislative committee acted.
“The next year, myself and our legislative committee – there’s about four or five of us – we went around meeting,” Williams said. “First we met with AT&T and we found out where there heartburn was; it wasn’t anything important to us, so we were able to work out a deal with them on the bill and they became a proponent of it. We also met with other people we thought might be in opposition – legislators, attorneys, everyone we could think of to ‘sell our bill,’ so to speak and make sure we were all aligned.”
In 2014, the Senate passed the bill unanimously while the House only had one person who did not vote for it. So, Williams and his team were successful in getting that bill created and turned into law for the state of Mississippi.
This process grew Williams’ appetite for politics even more, because for him, it is all about the good of the people.
“It [passing the bill] was good for the citizens of the state of Mississippi,” Williams says. “That whole process intrigued me and that is where the desire first came about to run for office.”
Williams’ bid for the Seante first started in June 2020, when Jerry Jackson retired out of term due to health reasons.
“I sat there and spent about a day and a half,” Williams said. “I talked to my wife, of course, and my family, my business and the good Lord – and I didn’t get any opposition so we threw our name in the hat and went through with our campaign.”
When the race started, there were four candidates running, and the Williams’ campaign was not frontrunner.
“I thought, ‘well, if we’re not going to win, it’s not going to be because we’re not going to try,” Williams said.
Williams did all the “typical” campaign practices: advertising and using the advice of a consultant, but he believes going door to door pushed his campaign over the edge in favor of the eyes of the people.
“The ‘ground game,’ we call it … looking people in their eyes, going door-to-door, and seeing people and meeting people,” he said. “We knocked on thousands of doors; this district has a population of 55,000 people. I think that’s what did it for us. We worked extremely hard; had a village; and we came out victorious.”
When asked what he hopes to accomplish in office, Williams didn’t answer with his agenda; instead, he is all about serving the people by allowing their voice to be heard.
“I want to truly represent the people of District 15, which is the district I won in and to be their voice in the legislature,” explains Williams. “A lot of people feel like their voice is lost … when someone gets elected, they just kind of become a part of the ‘machine.’ I don’t’ want to become part of the machine.’”
Williams’ goal in Senate is simple: “They [the people] want to be heard on the issues that are important to them, and that’s what I plan on doing.”
To others, Williams offers a piece of advice: “get involved and stay involved.”
Williams sets the example of involvement by not only being a member of ESA, but serving on ESA’s Financial Committee as well, now in addition to being Mississippi State Senator.
“Angela White asked me to serve and I said, ‘yes ma’am!’ I’m a numbers guy; I like numbers, quite simply.”
Williams’ journey teaches that even the largest of industries are a lot smaller than we think they are, once we get into them. So vital to Williams’ success has been networking and serving — getting involved and staying involved.