Michael Watson

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Michael David Watson, Jr.

Mississippi State Senator for
District 51 (Jackson County)
In office
January 2008 – January 2020
Preceded by Tommy Robertson 
Succeeded by Jeremy England

Born December 22, 1977
Pascagoula, Mississippi
Citizenship American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Lauren Emswiler Watson
Children Gracie and Annie Watson
Residence Pascagoula, Mississippi
Alma mater Pascagoula High School

University of Mississippi
University of Mississippi School of Law

Occupation Lawyer
Religion Presbyterian

Michael David Watson, Jr. (born December 22, 1977), is an attorney from his native Pascagoula,who is the current Mississippi Secretary of State. From 2008 to 2020 the Republican state senator for District 51 in Jackson County on the Gulf Coast of his state.[1]

Watson graduated from Pascagoula High School and attended the University of Mississippi and its law school in Oxford. A Presbyterian, he and his wife, the former Lauren Emswiler, have two daughters, Gracie and Annie Watson.[2]

In the 2007 Republican primary election, Watson, at the age of twenty-nine, unseated the four-term incumbent, Tommy Robertson, 4,994 (60.9 percent) to 3,204 (39.1 percent). Then in the general election, he overwhelmed the Democrat Ray Vecchio, 10,305 (74.7 percent) to 3,490 (25.3 percent).[3] In 2016, former Senator Robertson was sentenced to ten years imprisonment for embezzling from a construction loan, an offense outside his former senatorial duties.[4]  Watson faced no opposition for Senate reelection in 2011. In 2015, he won his third term in the Senate with 83 percent of the ballots cast against his lone opponent, Boyd Kendall, nominee of the Libertarian Party. No Democrat filed for the race that year.[5] 

Watson is the chairman of the Senate Environmental Protection, Conservation, and Water Resources Committee, the vice chairman of the Drug Policy Committee, and sits on these committees: (1) Finance, (2) Forestry, (3) Investigate State Offices, (4) Judiciary B, (5) Ports and Marine Resources, and Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks.[2]

In 2008 and again in 2012, Senator Watson voted to require photo identification as a condition for voting in Mississippi.  In 2009, he voted to increase the cigarette tax; only seven senators voted in opposition. In 2010, he voted to allow underperforming schools to become charter schools. In 2011, he voted to place restrictions on employers who hire illegal aliens. In 2013, he supported the requirement that physicians administer abortion prescriptions. In 2014, he voted to prohibit abortions in Mississippi past twenty weeks of gestation of the unborn. He also backed the proposal that abortion counseling not be mentioned by crisis pregnancy centers in the state, but that measure failed to gain Senate approval.[6]

In 2016, Watson co-sponsored the bill to prohibit state funds from being awarded to the large abortion provider, Planned Parenthood. He backed HB 1523, which attempts to guarantee within Mississippi protections for religious beliefs and matters of moral conscience in regard to Christians being mandated to service homosexual activities. He co-sponsored the bill to prohibit local governments in Mississippi from establishing sanctuary city policies. In 2017, he backed the legislation which authorizes additional methods of execution in Mississippi and another measure to declare as a hate crime the targeting of law-enforcement officers by the lawless element. He was paired in favor of retaining a private contractor to audit Medicaid.[6]

See also

Other Mississippi Republican state senators (incomplete listing):


  1. Michael Watson. Billstatus.ls.state.ms.us. Retrieved on October 18, 2017.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Michael Watson's Biography. Retrieved on October 18, 2017.
  3. Mississippi State Senate elections, 2007. Ballotpedia.org. Retrieved on October 18, 2017.
  4. Margaret Baker (June 27, 2016). Former State Senator Tommy Robertson gets 10 years for embezzling from construction loan. The Sun Herald. Retrieved on October 18, 2017.
  5. Michael Watson (Mississippi). Ballotpedia.org. Retrieved on October 18, 2017.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Michael Watson's Voting Records. Project Vote Smart. Retrieved on October 18, 2017.