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Bakari Sellers launches nonprofit. Is a campaign run on the horizon?

Denmark, SC residents with “rusty water” receive free bottles of water

The residents of Denmark, SC have been complaining about unsafe water for years, but the issue is now getting national fame. Walmart supplied the town with truckloads of free bottled water for residents with contaminated drinking water November 23.
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The residents of Denmark, SC have been complaining about unsafe water for years, but the issue is now getting national fame. Walmart supplied the town with truckloads of free bottled water for residents with contaminated drinking water November 23.

Former state Rep. Bakari Sellers never has dodged speculation he may run for higher political office one day. And a new venture announced Thursday by the Democrat and Denmark native appears, in part, to lay groundwork for when that inevitable happens.

Sellers launched the Opportunity Project on Thursday. He said the nonprofit will help fill gaps in resources in some of the Palmetto State’s low-income, struggling communities, providing support in education, health care and technology.

The 34-year-old Sellers will head the group, supported by four S.C.-based board members.

Sellers, a CNN contributor and attorney at Columbia’s Strom Law Firm, said he already has put about $20,000 of his own money into the group.

“With my platform and the opportunity I have to speak to a national and global audience, I wanted to do something where I could bring resources into areas, like the ‘Corridor of Shame,’ ” which have been ignored by the federal and state governments, said Sellers. “This is something I needed to do for a long time.”

In recent weeks, Sellers also has made noise out of his home county, filing suit challenging Denmark’s water quality.

(Sellers said Thursday his legal residence is in Denmark, but he is looking at moving to Columbia.)

Sellers said Thursday it is a fair assessment that his new organization is a sign of things to come in the next election cycle.

Sellers has been mentioned as a potential Democratic candidate for governor in 2022. He ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 2014.

Last year, Sellers also told The State he will be ready to run for office when U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn retires from his 6th District congressional seat.

That could be far off — at least until Republicans regain a majority in the U.S. House. Clyburn, a Columbia Democrat, last month was elected House majority whip, the third-ranking post in that body. That position becomes effective in January when Democrats take control of the U.S. House.

“Doing good work and making sure you have a footprint in your home — I don’t see anything wrong (with) that,” Sellers said Thursday. “I want to be an example and show that you don’t have to be confined to your zip code. You can dream big and be from Denmark.”

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Maayan Schechter (My-yawn Schek-ter) covers the S.C. State House and politics for The State, focusing primarily on the state budget and the lawmakers who decide how your tax dollars get spent. She grew up in Atlanta, Ga. and graduated from the University of North Carolina-Asheville. She has previously worked at the Aiken Standard and the Greenville News.


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