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First Appointment of Millennial to Statewide Office May Keep

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First Appointment of Millennial to Statewide Office May Keep More in State
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l. to r. Bob White, Shad White, Emily White, Chief Justice Bill Waller
Associated Press

Mississippi's first statewide office holder from the Millennial Generation is sworn-in. As MPB's Desare Frazier reports some onlookers hope it could lead to a turnaround for the state.

Shad White is now the 42nd State Auditor of Mississippi. He took the oath of office Tuesday morning at the state capitol. The 32-year old's track record of achievement includes degrees from the University of Mississippi and Harvard Law School. He was director of the Mississippi Justice Institute, a conservative public interest organization until this appointment. White served as Governor Phil Bryant's 2015 campaign manager.

"You know one of the reasons I think I was appointed to this job is that the governor had seen me manage a lot of people including people who were older than me. So, on his reelection campaign for instance we had over 300 volunteers. We had a staff of about 25, budget of about $4 million. He had seen me do all that," said White.

Governor Bryant says he hopes to appoint more Millennials to government service.

"I think you will see this Millennial generation come to the forefront very soon and help manage Mississippi's responsibilities," said Bryant.

Jake McGraw is with the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation. He says he knows White and thinks the appointment may convince more young adults to stay in Mississippi. McGraw says the south is the fastest growing area. But he says Mississippi is the only state losing population. McGraw says between 2010 and 2017 nearly 43,000 people left.

"He and many others like that have already started to form that vanguard and show Mississippi is a place where if you choose to be here, stay here, come back here you can do meaningful things and I see this as just another step in that process," said McGraw.

McGraw says people leave for reasons that include lower salaries and a lack of investment in urban communities.