NAME: Tom Ervin
PARTY AFFILIATION: Independent (Listed on the ballot as Petition)
CURRENT HOMETOWN: Greenville, SC
EDUCATION: A.B. Esrkine College; J.D. University of South Carolina
PROFESSION: Radio Station Owner / Licensee
MARITAL STATUS/ CHILDREN: Married and proud father of two children
POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Former house member; circuit judge
HOBBIES: Enjoy high school and college sports
FAVORITE FOOD: Anything my wife cooks, but I love peaches and blueberries
PETS: Miniature Schnauzer named Ace
(Word limit per answer- 400 words)
Q: Why are you running for governor?
A: I'm running for governor because we have a failure of leadership in the governor's office. Governor Haley has ignored the growing crisis at DSS where more than 250 children have died under her administration since 2011.
Q: What separates you from the other candidates?
A: As an independent, I will work with Republicans and Democrats to achieve my common sense solutions. Both Governor Haley and Senator Sheheen are career politicians who have failed to lead on improving our infrastructure, improving public education and passing meaningful ethics reform. My independence will allow me to work for the best interest of South Carolina.
Q: What is the most pressing issue facing South Carolina right now? How will you address it?
A: Infrastructure is the greatest challenge facing our state. I will work with the Legislature to find reliable permanent funding solutions to fix our crumbling roads and bridges so that we can reduce the fatality rates on our state highways and continue to attract new industry.
Q: What has been your greatest personal success in life so far? What would you impart to others wanting to achieve that same success?
A: It is difficult to choose one, but an accomplishment that has meant a great deal to me personally was receiving the God and Country Award as an Eagle Scout. Receiving the award required great dedication and discipline. My advice to others is that it is easy to set goals, but the real challenge is focusing and dedicating yourself to achieving them.
Q: Nobody's perfect, can you tell us about a time where you had to admit you were in the wrong? What did you learn from the experience?
A: When I first started running for office I did not support adjusting the fuel tax to pay for our roads. After digging more into the issue, I know it is right for South Carolina and when paired with elimination of the personal income tax, we can grow our infrastructure and reward working people.
Q: What role does South Carolina play currently on the nationwide stage? What role does it play on the worldwide stage? Where do you want South Carolina to be in the next four years? How will you get the state there?
A: The port of Charleston directly impacts one in five jobs in the state and it is a gateway to the world for commerce. This port elevates our position in the global economy, but for us to realize our potential, we must deepen the port to accommodate the larger international ships that will be passing through an expanded Panama Canal
Q: Traditionally, South Carolina has a very powerful legislative branch. How does this affect the office of the governor? How will it affect you in that office?
A: I am an independent and I will work with both parties to achieve my common sense reforms. The problem now is that Columbia is divisive and doesn't have the leadership needed to move South Carolina forward.
Q: South Carolina has learned about cyber crime and 21st Century threats the hard way. What can the state government do to prevent cyber crimes? How can you as governor meet that goal?
A: We need to implement the recommendations that have already been made to protect our state against cyber crime. If our agencies had the leadership our state deserves, we would not have the problems we have seen under Gov. Haley's administration.
Q: South Carolina has a lot to offer, from history, to mountains, to beaches. What's your favorite aspect of this state?
A: Growing up in Honea Path, near Anderson, the Blue Ridge Mountains have always had a special place in my heart.
Q: What should be done about South Carolina's ethics system? Is it fine as it is? If not, what changes should be made?
A: We need strong ethics reform to make state government honest and accountable. Reforming ethics must include a complete gifts ban for public officials, term limits, an end to secret leadership PACs and an independent body to investigate ethics complaints.
Q: (Viewer submitted) Recently states like Colorado and Washington legalized the sale and possession of marijuana for non-medical uses. Several other states have legalized the use of medical marijuana. Would you support legislation to decriminalize cannabis for medical use? Recreational use?
A: I believe that marijuana should be legalized for medical use only. I have great concern over decriminalization because marijuana can be a powerful gateway drug.
Q: (Viewer submitted) What is your stance on same-sex marriage?
A: I personally believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, but we are a nation of laws. After Judge Henry Floyd's decision striking down Virginia's ban on gay marriage, I called on our attorney general and Gov. Haley to avoid wasting taxpayer money by appealing this decision to the United States Supreme Court. Prior rulings and our Constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law make it clear that an appeal has no merit.
Q: (Viewer submitted) What are your plans for repairing the horrible roads in our state?
A: As industry expands, so does the need for reliable infrastructure to support the business of doing business. To bring our state to the minimum threshold for safety and efficient commerce, we must have a dedicated funding source to fix our roads and bridges. Through a repeal of the personal income tax and marginal increases in the fuel tax, we can bypass Columbia politicians and fund infrastructure projects by priority of need rather than pork.
Q: (Viewer submitted) What will you do to address the homeless situation that's growing due to the lack of affordable housing in safe, non-crime ridden areas?
A: We need to work with private and public partners to address this issue in the short term, but the long term strategy is to grow our economy for all South Carolinians. Study after study shows that raising the minimum wage reduces poverty. It is also an economic catalyst as those additional wages are directly spent in state. But with almost a quarter of South Carolinians living in poverty, I think that it's the fair thing to do – plain and simple common sense.
Q: Where is your favorite place to vacation in the state?
A: I love to visit Charleston.
Q: Tell us something not many people know about you.