COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A special primary election in Lexington County will decide who will fill the state house seat in District 69, a seat vacated when Rick Quinn was indicted on corruption charges. Five candidates appear on the ballot in the Republican Primary, Feb. 27.
WIS spoke to each candidate, all of them Republicans, and asked each of them what prompted their candidacy, and what makes them the best choice to represent Lexington in the State House.
Michael Weaver is a husband, a father of two boys, and a financial restructuring attorney. He is running for office for the first time.
"I think just the frustration with the state of politics today in South Carolina and all the corruption that we've had... I want to restore integrity to the State House. One of the things I feel very passionate about is term limits. If we have term limits, it would limit the ability of career politicians that go back to Columbia year after year after year, to get embedded with special interest groups. And that is what seems to be getting everyone in trouble."
He went on to explain how South Carolina faces "very difficult & challenging legal and financial issues and I am the candidate that has the experience of working on those issues."
Chris Wooten is also running for office for the first time. He owns Bodyshop Athletics- a personal training business in Lexington, and he is an assistant football coach at River Bluff High School.
"First, we need to bring back Christian values. We need to restore integrity and trust in District 69 by rooting out some corruption", said Wooten.
"I'm an old Marine, a former state trooper, a high school coach. I'm a small business owner in the town of Lexington. I've had my own small business for about 16 years now. I'm a Dad. In all these things, I've been in service since I was 19 in the Marine Corps. I'm at my best when I'm serving and the people of Lexington are a great group of people. They need good representation."
Alan Ray is running on a platform of lower taxes, safer roads, and safer school buses for South Carolina school kids.
"I'm much like average citizens fed up with paying these taxes. Every time you turn around, whether it's Democrat or Republican there's either a fee increase or a tax increase. I have a small business that does online education in four states. This is the only state where it costs me money to do business, and this is my home state."
Ray also said, "The reason I got into this race is I've been a community activist for 30 years, involved in freedom of religion, standing for the unborn, and also minority affairs. I will be the first Cuban-American elected to the South Carolina general assembly and also the first cosmetologist."
Joel Deason is an attorney with experience inside state government as Assistant Attorney General, and as Research Director in the South Carolina Senate.
"Institutions are nothing without the people who support it. I'm a former fraud prosecutor. My family's been in this community since 1980. My wife and her family have been from the community through generations. I plan to work hard to earn the trust of people in District 69."
He went on to say, "I want to make our state government more accountable. I want to make it open, and receptive to the average citizen. And of course we want to make it more business friendly."
Anne Marie Eckstorm Green is a Lexington One school board member, and a mother of three teenagers.
"I love being on the school board, but as I got more involved I really became frustrated because we have so little autonomy. I mean, we are locally elected representatives of our community, and we can't even set our own school start date"
When asked what sets her apart, she said, "Honestly I think one of the things that sets me apart is that I'm a female. We've got some great candidates in this race. We're all not too far off on our views on conservative issues. But we need stronger representation from women. Honestly, I've told folks if there is a candidate that represents their values, that understands the issues and can articulate them, someone you trust, who is hard-working, and has proven they can get things done, and they're a woman? I think that's the icing on the cake."
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