Elections

A look at the Democratic candidates for Senate District 45

Submitted mugs

Margie Bright Matthews

Age: Bright Matthews's campaign did not provide her date of birth despite repeated requests.

Political party: Democrat

Office: S.C. Senate District 45

Number of years living in the district you seek to represent: Entire life

Family: Husband, Patrick Matthews; four daughters; two grandsons

Education: University of South Carolina, 1985; University of South Carolina School of Law, 1989

Current occupation/employer: Owner, Bright Matthews Law Firm

Employment, military and volunteer history: Page in the S.C. State Senate, 1982-1985; law clerk to S.C. Senate Medical Affairs Committee, 1986-1987; law clerk to S.C. Office of Appellate Defense, 1988-1989; associate attorney at McLeod, Fraser & Cone, 1989-1992; Walterboro High School permanent substitute teacher, 1985-1986; volunteer for the Rice Festival Committee, Rotary Club volunteer programs, Arts Council adult theater, S.C. Bar Association middle school mock trial sponsor, coach and judge; S.C. Heirs Property Preservation

Public offices held: None

Unsuccessful bids for public office: None

Other prior political and government experience: President, Colleton County Bar Association; Board of Governors, S.C. Association of Justice; State Delegate, American Association for Justice, Advisory Panel, S.C. Commission on Indigent Defense

Key endorsements you've received: John Pinckney, Johnette Pinckney-Martinez, father and sister of the late Sen. Clementa Pinckney; Charleston County Democratic Party; Danny Henderson and John E. Parker of Peters, Murdaugh, Parker & Detrick Law Firm; Alex Murdaugh, former chair of Hampton County Democratic Party; Woody Gooding, Gooding and Gooding law firm; Bertha Middleton, Wadmalaw Community Center; Curtis Inabinett, former member of the S.C. House of Representatives; Walterboro Mayor Bill Young; Franklin Smalls, former Walterboro City Councilman; Charles "Mike" MacCloskie, MacCloskie Law Firm

Campaign contributions: $79,422

Campaign expenditures: $24,527.98

Biggest contributor: Randy Murdaugh, Ashley Twombley, William McLeod, Terry Richardson, Mullins Law Firm and 37 others gave $1,000 each

Why should people vote for you?

As a grandmother, mother, wife, local attorney and former educator, I will be a strong voice for our district and use my outside perspective to deliver real results. I will focus on improving education by increasing teacher pay and reducing classroom sizes, bringing new jobs to the district by partnering with leaders who want to invest in the community and working to reduce the crime rate.

What are the three most important issues you would address if elected?

Creating a district of opportunity will require a plan that invests in our future, while also taking care of the present:

1. Education: In order for us to grow our community, we need to invest in the teachers and students who are building the future of our district. As a former educator, I know that most teachers today are struggling to make ends meet. In order for us to recruit and retain the best teachers, we need to increase teacher pay and reduce class sizes to give our students and teachers the support they need.

2. Jobs: In order to recruit jobs, we need to provide job-training programs throughout the district to prepare our current workforce for the jobs of the 21st century. We also need to address our transportation needs by working to increase public transportation options for our workers and finally implement a real roads plan to get folks to their jobs.

3. Safe Communities: No community will attract good teachers or employers if it is not a safe place to live. As your senator, I will work with local law enforcement and community partners to create after-school opportunities and job training opportunities to take folks off the streets and put them into the classroom and workforce.

South Carolina Democrats plan to renew their efforts to expand Medicaid eligibility in the state to continue the work of the late-Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who championed Medicaid's benefits to the poor. District 45 spans some of the state's poorest areas. Will you support the efforts to expand Medicaid? If so, how?

The residents of District 45 are currently paying federal tax dollars that are going to other states to support their expansion of Medicaid. It is time to bring those tax dollars back home and provide the health care our residents need that they are already paying for. Everyday, vulnerable members of our community are being ignored by our governor, who is choosing politics over people. While I appreciate the effort of some folks already in Columbia, we need a new perspective.

Have you ever been convicted of a felony, been disciplined by a professional licensing board or organization or had an ethics violation filed against you?

No

Have you ever filed for bankruptcy, been delinquent on your federal, state or local taxes? If so, please give the details.

No

Are there any personal details about yourself that voters would be interested in knowing?

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Chauncey Barnwell

Age: 31

Political party: Democrat

Office: S.C. Senate District 45

Number of years living in the district you seek to represent: 1 year

Family: Engaged to be married

Education: Coker College, John Marshall Law School

Current occupation/employer: Attorney and owner at Attorney; Brown Barnwell, P.C.

Employment, military and volunteer history: Tybee MLK Committee

Public offices held: None

Unsuccessful bids for public office: None

Other prior political and government experience: Jasper County Development Services; Jasper County Planning and Zoning

Key endorsements you've received: None

Campaign contributions: $2,340

Campaign expenditures: $1,676.80

Biggest contributor: Sharon Tremble of Savannah, $1,000

Why should people vote for you?

I'm the candidate representing the future. I have the energy and the ideas to propel District 45 into the economy of the 21st century. My focus is on early childhood education, job creation and violence prevention. I'm geared toward educating our citizens on renewable energy, technology and medical engineering and medical product development. I have the educational background to zealously represent District 45 regarding business acquisition along with implementing the laws to protect our families from unscrupulous business practices to environmental issues.

What are the three most important issues you would address if elected?

Education, jobs and violence prevention

South Carolina Democrats plan to renew their efforts to expand Medicaid eligibility in the state to continue the work of the late-Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who championed Medicaid's benefits to the poor. District 45 spans some of the state's poorest areas. Will you support the efforts to expand Medicaid? If so, how?

I support the expansion of Medicaid. When the Supreme Court held that Medicaid was optional, it was a tough pill to swallow. Hospitals which are located in states that haven't expanded Medicaid are at a significant business disadvantage as compared to the hospitals in states that have expanded Medicaid ... At the end of the day, not having Medicaid is costing American taxpayers more money. I will work with all elected officials to explain that Medicaid is a beneficial program both morally and financially.

Have you ever been convicted of a felony, been disciplined by a professional licensing board or organization or had an ethics violation filed against you?

No

Have you ever filed for bankruptcy, been delinquent on your federal, state or local taxes? If so, please give the details.

No

Are there any personal details about yourself that voters would be interested in knowing?

I'm a believer in God. God is the head of my life. God is the reason for me entering this Senate race. I love people and I'm a hard worker. I feel it's a privilege to have the opportunity to serve as an elected official in District 45. I look forward to the future and I believe I have the ideas and zeal to manifest the results that God has intended for District 45.

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William Bowman, Jr.

Age: 43

Political party: Democrat

Office: S.C. Senate District 45

Number of years living in the district you seek to represent: 43 years

Family: Wife, Shelissa G. Bowmann; sons William Perry, 15, and Makel Jamal, 11

Education: high school diploma, 1989; associates degree

Current occupation/employer: Owner of Perfect Image Portrait Studio and WBJ School Board Consulting

Employment, military and volunteer history: U.S. Air Force, 1989-1997; H&D Supermarket, Rite Aid Pharmacy, Colleton Regional Ambulatory Diagnostic Center, Budget Tire

Public offices held: Colleton County School Board, 2008 to present

Unsuccessful bids for public office: None

Other prior political and government experience: None

Key endorsements you've received: None

Campaign contributions: None

Campaign expenditures: None

Biggest contributor: None

Why should people vote for you?

I never waver. I'm transparent. I believe in service before self. I've always been a resource of information for the people I represent. I believe in public education progression, community unity, as well as true collaboration to promote community and economic development. I never defend wrong and I'm always willing to talk to and listen to everyone. All of these qualities have been a part of my current public service career.

What are the three most important issues you would address if elected?

There are many issues that are important to me that I will address as senator. These are just three.

1. Elected officials ethics reform: Examine the ways, and take part in the discussion of ethics investigations within the S.C. Senate as well as the S.C. General Assembly.

2. Proper funding for public education and the Local Government Fund: Examine current budget allocations that may lend themselves to properly fund these essential public entities.

3. True representation for all of Senate District 45: Having true and honest conversations with community groups and leaders about social, education and economic reform.

South Carolina Democrats plan to renew their efforts to expand Medicaid eligibility in the state to continue the work of the late-Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who championed Medicaid's benefits to the poor. District 45 spans some of the state's poorest areas. Will you support the efforts to expand Medicaid? If so, how?

Yes, I will join the efforts to expand Medicaid. Unfortunately this is a mostly partisan issue, so I'm looking forward to making positive contributions to the conversations between Democrats and Republicans that will progress toward making this health care resource available to my constituents.

Have you ever been convicted of a felony, been disciplined by a professional licensing board or organization or had an ethics violation filed against you?

No

Have you ever filed for bankruptcy, been delinquent on your federal, state or local taxes? If so, please give the details.

No

Are there any personal details about yourself that voters would be interested in knowing?

I'm a S.C. High School League basketball official. I've been officiating for 20 years on the high school level and I've also worked two years in the NCAA for the Peachbelt, GACC and Carolina conferences. Most of the residents in the Beaufort, Jasper, Hampton, Allendale and Charleston area say I look like the comedian "Chris Rock" when I'm refereeing. My parents are William and Emma Bowman; they are my church's pastor and co-pastor. One of my talents is sewing; my mom taught me!

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Sheree Darien

Age: 41

Political party: Democrat

Office: S.C. Senate District 45

Number of years living in the district you seek to represent: 41 years

Family: Husband, Edward; son, Delvin Deandre; identical twin daughters, Shanice Yvette and Latrice LaVette; youngest daughter, Destiny Myiesha

Education: Jasper County High School, 1992; CNA graduate, Academy of Career Excellence, 1995; Rapport Leadership Institute, 1999; Purpose Development Institute certification, 2014; business graduate, Liberty University, 2014

Current occupation/employer: President and founder of Darien Coaching & Consulting, LLC, Second Chance Community Outreach, Inc. and Second Chance Community Bank

Employment, military and volunteer history: Assistant vice president, Regions Bank; past President, Paul Harris Fellow and foundation chair, Jasper County Rotary Club; Commissioner, secretary and treasurer, Technical College of the Lowcountry, 2009-present; Director and treasurer, Jasper County Chamber of Commerce, 2012-present; Board member, St. Peters Parish Public Facilities County Financing Committee, 2010-present; Chair, Jasper Community Fund, 2010-present; Founding member, advisory board member and treasurer, Royal Live Oaks Academy Charter School, 2011-present; Notary Public, 2008-present

Public offices held: None

Unsuccessful bids for public office: Ridgeland Town Council, 2011

Other prior political and government experience: None

Key endorsements you've received: Donald E. Jenkins, MPDC, founder and president of the Purpose Development Institute Apostle; Donald Taylor, national president and founder, Gospel Jamboree International Fellowship; Alexandra Gold, author, poet, empowerment mentor; Carolyn Oliver, former 5th grade teacher, mentor and second mother; William Lee, Jr., college and corporate speaker; Eric M. Gamble; Ursula Gray Realty

Campaign contributions: $3,352.33

Campaign expenditures: $2,747.71

Biggest contributor: Facilities Development Co. of Bluffton, Short Stop of Ridgeland, Theo Drayton of Ridgeland and John Murphy of Wilbraham, Mass., $250 each

Why should people vote for you?

With my background in banking, business management and consulting, I'm confident that I have what it takes to bring a renewed vision, notoriety and bridge the gap which currently exists between the Senate and the people. I am the only candidate with a plethora of public, private, civic and philanthropic sector relationships as well as the solution oriented global business partners who are eager to assist South Carolina in stimulating sustainable economic relief and growth.

What are the three most important issues you would address if elected?

In my campaign, South Carolina (S.C.) stands for Second Chance. Issues include but are not limited to eliminating the stigma of the Lowcountry being known as the Corridor of Shame, rebranding "The Real Lowcountry" and navigating through the current red tape that prevents funding from helping those who need it most, such as our health/educational systems.

South Carolina Democrats plan to renew their efforts to expand Medicaid eligibility in the state to continue the work of the late-Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who championed Medicaid's benefits to the poor. District 45 spans some of the state's poorest areas. Will you support the efforts to expand Medicaid? If so, how?

Absolutely! The cost of health care has increased at an alarming rate while life expectancy has steadily declined. Currently I am a nominee to the South Carolina Consumer Choice Health Plan Board. By working in concert with Medicaid expansion, legislation can enable multiple options vs. relying on a single source. While advocating for Medicaid eligibility, increased community outreach (i.e. town hall meetings) is planned to dispel the myths associated with the Affordable Health Care Act. Health care should be both preventative and economical.

Have you ever been convicted of a felony, been disciplined by a professional licensing board or organization or had an ethics violation filed against you?

No

Have you ever filed for bankruptcy, been delinquent on your federal, state or local taxes? If so, please give the details.

No

Are there any personal details about yourself that voters would be interested in knowing?

Most interesting of all is my level of passion for making a significant difference within my community. So much so, I resigned from my former vice president's position with Regions Bank to establish a Community Development Financial Institution. This emerging CDFI will provide access to capital to those currently unbanked in District 45. This alone creates a portal of opportunity for those Sen. Clementa Pinckney championed on behalf of. Like him, I am an ordained minister.

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Kent Fletcher

Age: 40

Political party: Democrat

Office: S.C. Senate District 45

Number of years living in the district you seek to represent: 5 years

Family: Wife, Amanda

Education: Master of Business Administration, Boston University; Master in Behavioral Psychology, Kaplan University; Bachelor in Sociology, University of Kentucky

Current occupation/employer: Business consultant, Iugo Asset Managment; adjunct faculty, University of Phoenix Savannah Campus

Employment, military and volunteer history: Combat veteran and Spanish language interpreter, U.S. Marine Corps; small business development consultant, La Isla Magazine; recruiter, University of Phoenix Savannah Campus; partner, Fletcher & Sons Specialty Contractors; personal banker, Wells Fargo

Public offices held: None

Unsuccessful bids for public office: S.C. Senate District 46, 2008

Other prior political and government experience: S.C. State Delegate for Barack Obama for President, 2008; volunteer for Obama for America, 2007-2008; fellowship with Obama for America, 2011-2012; operations specialist for Theater Transportation Mission for Coalition Forces, Department of Defense, Iraq, 2006

Key endorsements you've received: More than 40, including the Independence Fund of Ridgeland, Bluffton Town Councilmen Fred Hamilton and Ted Huffman, La Isla Magazine, Lowcountry Immigration Coalition, Metropolitan Savannah Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Campaign contributions: None

Campaign expenditures: None

Biggest contributor: None

Why should people vote for you?

I know what needs to be accomplished. I will lead to modernize our economy, properly fund our schools and protect our agriculture. It takes a leader -- I am that leader.

Personally, I can't take the status quo in politics anymore -- and I'm ready with the time and energy needed to invoke real change across District 45, including furthering our influence in Columbia.

I've worked with all types of people, I'm fully bilingual -- I bring people together regardless if they're black, white, Hispanic, or Asian. Republican, Democratic or Independent.

What are the three most important issues you would address if elected?

I believe education, the economy, and interstate cooperation are the three most important issues I will address if elected. I think we need to expand school choices for parents, provide a favorable tax-friendly environment to do business, and continue to find common ground with our neighbors in Georgia.

I hope to be placed on committees where I can champion legislation specifically addressing school funding and academic success benchmarks at a district and state level. I will plan to work closely with the Southern Alliance to help implement the Lowcountry Promise Zone and champion businesses who hire veterans through programs including Joining Forces.

Finally, I think people and businesses who travel across the state line need further opportunities to work freely through fair competition.

South Carolina Democrats plan to renew their efforts to expand Medicaid eligibility in the state to continue the work of the late-Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who championed Medicaid's benefits to the poor. District 45 spans some of the state's poorest areas. Will you support the efforts to expand Medicaid? If so, how?

Gov. Nikki Haley took the option to provide coverage to the state's poorest through Section 1332 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that requires health care coverage to be at least as comprehensive as direct Medicaid expansion under the ACA law. Therefore, despite the legal complexity and public rhetoric, folks living in poverty are receiving the same access to quality health care but at a fraction of the costs set forth in the mandates for a state exchange and its related costs.

Have you ever been convicted of a felony, been disciplined by a professional licensing board or organization or had an ethics violation filed against you?

No

Have you ever filed for bankruptcy, been delinquent on your federal, state or local taxes? If so, please give the details.

No

Are there any personal details about yourself that voters would be interested in knowing?

Change is not going to happen overnight. Personally, I cannot take it anymore -- and I'm ready with the time and energy needed to invoke real change across District 45.

I earned the title United States Marine 21 years ago this Aug. 19; I learned to fight right her, at Parris Island. I am a family man who serves my community through my church, Lowcountry Community Church in Bluffton.

I know how to get results. I will bring these skills to the Senate as I work to help further build the new South Carolina.

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Libbie Henry Green

Age: 35

Political party: Democrat

Office: S.C. Senate District 45

Number of years living in the district you seek to represent: 45 years

Family: Widowed; 11-year-old son, Christian

Education: The Citadel

Current occupation/employer: n/a

Employment, military and volunteer history: n/a

Public offices held: n/a

Unsuccessful bids for public office: Hampton County Council, 2014; S.C. House of Representatives District 122, 2008

Other prior political and government experience: n/a

Key endorsements you've received: None

Campaign contributions: $1,550

Campaign expenditures: $1,411.65

Biggest contributor: Allen Funeral Home of Ridgeland, $50

Why should people vote for you?

People should vote for me because I will improve the quality of life for all residents of District 45. I am uniquely qualified because I have overcome obstacles to accomplish goals in my life and I will do the same for residents of District 45. Additionally, I will be able to devote time and attention to the concerns and issues of the residents of District 45.

What are the three most important issues you would address if elected?

Education, infrastructure, and economic development are the three most important issues to me.

I will introduce legislation to increase funding for public schools so teachers can have a pay increase, to reduce class sizes, especially in the early grades, to focus on children with special needs and to ensure that our children are prepared to be successful in science, technology, engineering and math.

I will sponsor legislation that addresses infrastructure improvements for roads, bridges, water and sewer.

I will also champion initiatives that seek to enhance economic development.

South Carolina Democrats plan to renew their efforts to expand Medicaid eligibility in the state to continue the work of the late-Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who championed Medicaid's benefits to the poor. District 45 spans some of the state's poorest areas. Will you support the efforts to expand Medicaid? If so, how?

I most definitely support expanding Medicaid. It is the right thing to do for the rural hospitals; more importantly, it is the right thing to do for the people of South Carolina. I also support fully implementing the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare. We need to create a state exchange, because it will make health care more affordable for the people who will not qualify for Medicaid even after it has been expanded.

Have you ever been convicted of a felony, been disciplined by a professional licensing board or organization or had an ethics violation filed against you?

No

Have you ever filed for bankruptcy, been delinquent on your federal, state or local taxes? If so, please give the details.

No

Are there any personal details about yourself that voters would be interested in knowing?

I want the voters to know that I will also support programs that assist our senior citizens and disabled residents. No one will work harder for Senate District 45.

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Kenneth Hodges

Age: 65

Political party: Democrat

Office: S.C. Senate District 45

Number of years living in the district you seek to represent: 38 years

Family: Wife, Patricia Few; three daughters

Education: Walterboro High School; Bachelor of Arts, Clark College, 1977; Master of Divinity, Morehouse School of Religion of the Interdenominational Theological Center, 1986

Current occupation/employer: S.C. House of Representatives District 121; pastor, Tabernacle Baptist Church; owner, Lybensons Gallery and Studio

Employment, military and volunteer history: Self-employed for 38 years, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church for nine years; pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church for 20 years

Public offices held: Bennettsville City Council, Bennettsville, S.C., 1989-1995; S.C. House of Representatives District 121, 2005-present

Unsuccessful bids for public office: None

Other prior political and government experience: Chairman of Bennettsville Hosing Authority; Beaufort County Economic Development Board member; Municipal Association School for Elected Officials graduate

Key endorsements you've received: Conservation Voters of South Carolina and more than 25 members of the S.C. General Assembly

Campaign contributions: None

Campaign expenditures: None

Biggest contributor: None

Why should people vote for you?

People should vote for me because I have been an effective legislator who has been serving a part of Senate District 45 for 10 years. My experience as an elected official and as a state legislator with 10 years of developing relationships in the S.C. House and S.C. Senate separates me from my opponents.

What are the three most important issues you would address if elected?

Education, health care, transportation and infrastructure funding.

I will support legislation that addresses inadequate educational funding in South Carolina, specifically in rural counties.

I will also support legislation that addresses the unintended consequences of Act 388 on educational funding.

I have and will continue to support legislation that addresses health care and Medicaid expansion in South Carolina.

I will continue to support legislation that addresses South Carolina's crumbling roads and bridges.

South Carolina Democrats plan to renew their efforts to expand Medicaid eligibility in the state to continue the work of the late-Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who championed Medicaid's benefits to the poor. District 45 spans some of the state's poorest areas. Will you support the efforts to expand Medicaid? If so, how?

In South Carolina over 200,000 adults, many living in poverty, would benefit if Medicaid was expanded. Many living in poverty in District 45 would benefit from preventive care and financial security from having health insurance. Like Sen. (Clementa) Pinckney, I have and will continue to fight for Medicaid expansion to address the health care needs of the citizens of Senate District 45 and South Carolina.

Have you ever been convicted of a felony, been disciplined by a professional licensing board or organization or had an ethics violation filed against you?

No

Have you ever filed for bankruptcy, been delinquent on your federal, state or local taxes? If so, please give the details.

No bankruptcy, but as a small business owner and one who paid his own way through college and grad school, I have been occasionally late in filing various taxes.

Are there any personal details about yourself that voters would be interested in knowing?

People are often interested in the fact that I was born in a small remote community where the population was fewer than 75 people when I grew up. People are awed at the fact that my mother and father died before I left Bennetts Point the year I graduated from high school, and yet I serve in the S.C. House of Representatives.

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R. Keith Horton

Age: 46

Political party: Democrat

Office: S.C. Senate District 45

Number of years living in the district you seek to represent: 45 years

Family: Wife, Rita Dean; three sons, Michael, Phillip and Nicholas

Education: Thomas Heyward Academy

Current occupation/employer: Broker and owner, Coldwell Banker-1ST Choice Realty

Employment, military and volunteer history: Town of Hilton Head fire district, 1988-2005; owner, Home Cinema, 1990-2006; Coldwell Banker-1ST Choice Realty, LLC 2006-present; Jasper County Chamber of Commerce, 2007-present

Public offices held: None

Unsuccessful bids for public office: Jasper County Council, 2000

Other prior political and government experience: None

Key endorsements you've received: None

Campaign contributions: None

Campaign expenditures: None

Biggest contributor: None

Why should people vote for you?

My business experience gives me an advantage. I have no ties to special interest groups. I am running to make this district and state a better place to live. I feel that we need someone that is not afraid to cross party lines in order to do what is best for our citizens and not what is best politically.

What are the three most important issues you would address if elected?

1. Education: We must start being accountable and allocating the money to the children and teachers. Student to teacher ratio needs to maintained and put the emphasis back on the basics, reading and mathematics. Improving education will bring opportunity for much needed jobs in this district. I would introduce a bill that mandates the minimum percentage of tax dollars that must go to the classroom and teachers'' pay the balance would go to the administration.

2. Jobs: District 45 needs to have good paying jobs for our residents that will help them from the long commute to work. It time for someone to go to the State House and fight to bring the jobs to this district. My work experience will be an asset. I have worked with commercial businesses and developers to bring in industries and jobs to Jasper County. I am the most qualified person to work to bring the new Jasper Port and other opportunities to this district.

3. Roads: We need to get the roads repaired, I will not vote to increase the gas tax. We need to look at the Department of transportation and make sure they are properly funded and that the money is being spent wisely.

South Carolina Democrats plan to renew their efforts to expand Medicaid eligibility in the state to continue the work of the late-Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who championed Medicaid's benefits to the poor. District 45 spans some of the state's poorest areas. Will you support the efforts to expand Medicaid? If so, how?

I will support this issue. Our citizens are already paying for this and not receiving the benefits. This affects nearly 300,000 citizens of our state that are live under the poverty level. District 45 leads the state in poverty and we need to help the citizen until we can bridge the gap by improving education and bringing in jobs. The Affordable Care Act is law and unless it is changed we need to support it and take advantage of any benefits it offers our citizens.

Have you ever been convicted of a felony, been disciplined by a professional licensing board or organization or had an ethics violation filed against you?

No

Have you ever filed for bankruptcy, been delinquent on your federal, state or local taxes? If so, please give the details.

No bankruptcy, but I have paid my taxes late.

Are there any personal details about yourself that voters would be interested in knowing?

I was born and raised in the Lowcountry. This is the place I decided to raise my family. I deeply care about the people and my community. My parents taught me to stand up for what I believe in and never give up. I believe this will be my strongest strength when elected to the Senate. As your senator, I will work to represent your desires to make our district even better place to live.

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John Edward Washington

Age: 68

Political party: Democrat

Office: S.C. Senate District 45

Number of years living in the district you seek to represent: 68 years

Family: Wife, Sarah; three sons; seven grandchildren

Education: Colleton High School; S.C. Criminal Justice Academy; Bachelor of Arts, Amridge University, Montgomery, Ala., 1999; Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy, Amridge University, 2001; Master of Divinity in Marriage and Family Therapy, Amridge University, 2002; Doctor of Ministry, Amridge University, 2005

Current occupation/employer: Pastor at St. Matthew AME Church, Ravenel; professor, Southern Wesleyan University, North Charleston; professor, Limestone College, Yemassee

Employment, military and volunteer history: Pastor for The African Methodist Episcopal Church - Seventh Episcopal District; correctional officer, Ridgeville, 2009; chaplain and volunteer coordinator, United Hospice, Beaufort, 2007-2009; counselor, Berkeley Community Mental Health, 2007; chaplain, Hospice Care of Tri County, Orangeburg, 2006; member, Edisto Health Coalition, 2001-2005; volunteer chaplain, Santee Police Department, 2001-2003; substitute teacher, Colleton County School District, 1998-2002; deputy, Charleston County Sheriff's Office, 1986-1993; police officer, North Charleston Police Department, 1985-1986; agent, Department of Juvenile Justice, 1982-1984; police officer, Walterboro Police Department, 1976-1982; school bus driver, Jonesville Elementary School, 1966-1971; member, The American Association of Christian Counselors

Public offices held: None

Unsuccessful bids for public office: Colleton County Sheriff, 2012 and 2000

Other prior political and government experience: None

Key endorsements you've received: None

Campaign contributions: $2,523.36

Campaign expenditures: $2,523.36

Biggest contributor: John Edward Washington, $2,523.36

Why should people vote for you?

The voters should vote for me because of my previous experiences -- personal and professional -- that has given me a close-up look and first-hand knowledge of the issues from the trenches of the front line.

I will have a concrete beneficial effect by simply being the echo of the voices of the citizens of District 45 by listening to them and setting my legislative agenda in accordance with their concerns.

What are the three most important issues you would address if elected?

I do not have a personal agenda. My agenda will be that or those as relayed to me by the people of the district I am elected to serve.

Truly, jobs, gun control and a safe environment is always on my mind.

South Carolina Democrats plan to renew their efforts to expand Medicaid eligibility in the state to continue the work of the late-Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who championed Medicaid's benefits to the poor. District 45 spans some of the state's poorest areas. Will you support the efforts to expand Medicaid? If so, how?

I am running for District 45 because I have a strong desire to continue the legacy of Sen. (Clementa) Pinckney's policies with positive changes as echoed from the voices of the people.

All that I do will be done through the proper channels and in accordance with the law.

Have you ever been convicted of a felony, been disciplined by a professional licensing board or organization or had an ethics violation filed against you?

No

Have you ever filed for bankruptcy, been delinquent on your federal, state or local taxes? If so, please give the details.

No

Are there any personal details about yourself that voters would be interested in knowing?

I have served the AME church as a pastor in five of the six counties that make Senate District 45.

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