Carlton will be the first openly LGBTQ state legislator in Mississippi history
Carlton E. Smith is running for election to the Mississippi Senate, District 10.
Carlton is a strong advocate for long-standing issues that are important to the people of Marshall and Tate Counties – providing children with a quality education through rural schools, keeping rural hospitals and emergency rooms open, repairing roads and bridges, lowering taxes and utility bills, and retaining young people who are leaving the state for better employment opportunities. Strategies include funding for a comprehensive plan to keep schools viable, increasing pay for under-compensated teachers, passing legislation that allows out-of-state doctors to provide free medical services, auditing local governments where taxes and utility bills are surprisingly high, and piloting incentive programs that keep recent high school and college graduates in the state and encourages those who have left to return.
Carlton is an ordained minister in the Unitarian Universalist Association and a member of its Southern Region staff. His ministry has a strong social justice focus which has included marriage equality advocacy, immigrant advocacy, HIV/AIDS activism, and countering racism. On August 12, 2017, he was on the front line of clergy counter-protesting the racist Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Later that day, activist Heather Heyer lost her life when a man plowed his car into a group of counter-protesters.
Carlton was born and raised in Holly Springs, Mississippi (the seat of Marshall County) where his father, the late Eddie Lee Smith, Jr., became the city’s first Black mayor in 1989. He returned to his hometown in 2013 to care for his mother in the last years of her life. She died in April 2019, and Carlton’s campaign is dedicated to his parents’ long legacy of public service.