Mississippi governor calls for technology task force

During his State of the State address, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves called for a new task force to help the state use new technologies.
Tate Reeves
Mississippi incumbent Republican Gov. Tate Reeves speaks to members of the press after an election night watch party at The Refuge Hotel & Conference Center on November 07, 2023 in Flowood, Mississippi. (Brandon Bell / Getty Images)

During his State of the State Address on Monday, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves called for the creation of a task force to improve technology across the state government.

In his address, Reeves said the task force would be a solution to overcoming “bureaucratic measures,” which he said are impeding the state from using new technologies.

“By improving technology and ensuring it’s implemented in a way that matches actual workflow, we can streamline processes at agencies, reduce the time it takes to complete tasks, share information more easily, and provide more efficient, effective services for Mississippians,” Reeves said in his address.

Shelby Wilcher, the governor’s press secretary, told StateScoop the task force needs to be created by the state legislature. It would be comprised of state agencies, including the Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services, and other relevant technology officials, she told StateScoop via email.


David Johnson, who has served as the state’s chief information officer and executive director of ITS since 2020, would be on the new technology task force. He also oversees the ITS board, which is comprised of five members who are appointed to five-year terms by the governor and then confirmed by the state’s Senate.

Governors across the country frequently create technology task forces made up of experts that issue policy recommendations on specific topics. In Maryland, Gov. Wes Moore recently announced the creation of the Maryland Cybersecurity Task Force, which will work with select state agencies to encourage the development of cybersecurity talent. In Oklahoma, a recently created artificial intelligence task force submitted final recommendations in a report to Gov. Kevin Stitt on how the state can use AI to make government more efficient.

Broader initiatives in state governments to improve technology often stem from a desire to replace their many outdated IT systems, which aren’t necessarily compatible with each other, with systems that have more features, take advantage of modern niceties — like cloud hosting and cross-platform integration — and are new enough to be supported by a younger workforce. Such projects can take many years and cost dearly — Former Louisiana CIO Dickie Howze told StateScoop after his retirement last month that he’d spent the past decade cutting down his state’s $1.3 billion backlog of technical debt down to $100 million.

Keely Quinlan

Written by Keely Quinlan

Keely Quinlan reports on privacy and digital government for StateScoop. She was an investigative news reporter with Clarksville Now in Tennessee, where she resides, and her coverage included local crimes, courts, public education and public health. Her work has appeared in Teen Vogue, Stereogum and other outlets. She earned her bachelor’s in journalism and master’s in social and cultural analysis from New York University.

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