Name: Matthew Richardson
Political party: Democrat
Years living in area: Born and raised in South Carolina, and lived here all my life
Family: Beth, wife; three children, ages 4, 2, and 1.
Education: Barnwell County public schools; Duke University, B.A. in economics; University of South Carolina School of Law, editor in chief of Law Review
Current occupation/employer: Partner, Wyche Burgess Freeman & Parham, P.A.
Previous employment and volunteer history: Law clerk for the Honorable Kaye Hearn on the S.C. Court of Appeals and the Honorable Michael Duffy on the U.S. District Court; partner in Wyche Burgess Freeman & Parham, P.A.; past president of Federal Bar Association in South Carolina (2004-05); vice president of S.C. Association for Justice (1,300 attorneys in Beaufort County and all over the state)
Military history: None listed
Public elected offices: None
Any unsuccessful political campaigns: None
Other political and government experience: None
Endorsements received: Numerous prosecutors and law enforcement; Conservation Voters of S.C.
S.C. Ethics Commission statement of economic interests: None listed as of March 30
Campaign money raised: $362,200 raised this election cycle as of July 10
1. Why should people vote for you?
The attorney general must run the state's law firm, handle all the state's legal issues and all criminal appeals, and stand up to the career politicians looking out for themselves first. I am independent of the career politicians, and politics is not my family business. I grew up in the law with my grandfather, Bubba Ness, who was one of our toughest judges and my father and uncle and brother who is federal prosecutor; and I have great respect for protecting the rule of law from politics.
I have owned and managed businesses in the private sector. I worked my way up to become a partner in one of South Carolina's top law firms -- successfully practicing in all courts and at all levels to protect law-abiding citizens across South Carolina. I have also been elected to lead two of the largest attorney organizations in the state.
2. What are the three most important issues you would address if elected and how would you address them?
As attorney general, I'll focus on public safety to protect all South Carolinians; I'll prosecute fraud and political corruption; and I'll preserve our natural resources.
3. What other issues do you see as important?
Respect for the rule of law, return to common sense and having the backbone to stand up to anyone breaking the law -- whether they live under the bridge or in the governor's mansion.
4. What specific steps will you take to make government more open and accessible to the public?
I believe the attorney general has the responsibility within government of enforcing the Freedom of Information Act and open public meetings laws; and I will.
5. Have you ever been convicted of a crime (felony), been disciplined by a professional licensing board or organization or had an ethics violation filed against you? If so, please give details.
6. Have you ever filed for bankruptcy, been delinquent on your federal, state or local taxes? If so, please give the details.
7. Are there any personal details about yourself that voters would be interested in knowing?
One evening 15 years ago, I was standing with a friend down by the water in a park, when three masked gunmen came around the corner with their guns leveled at us. They forced us to the ground, and with a gun to the back of my head, stole everything we had. We were fortunate that's all they wanted, and neither of us was hurt. I stayed involved throughout the entire process and witnessed first-hand the criminal justice system work -- the police caught the ringleader, and the assistant solicitors took him to trial. I testified, and he was ultimately sentenced to 21 years in prison. I will never forget the victims of crime, or to look behind me when I step outside of my office late at night.