Boy oh boy this has been quite a week for the campaign, from speaking to the Democratic women in Greenville, listening to school children in Florence and then speaking at the famous Galivants Ferry Stump.
On Tuesday, I met with the Spartanburg Democratic party at one my favorites, the Golden Coral. Then we headed over to speak at the Greenville County Democratic Women’s Luncheon. At both stops I doubled down on my comments about Donald Trump. And let me just say it again: he’s a racist and a sexist and we shouldn’t tolerate it any longer. The editorial board of my hometown newspaper The Greenville News accused me of participating in a WWE smackdown. Well I’m prepared and ready and my first political cartoon proves I’m scared of no one.
I then headed over and did a very cool Facebook Live chat with Jane Robelot. It surely was great reconnecting with the folks running WYFF Channel Four, which I grew up watching every night with my parents and sister.
On Thursday I participated in a forum sponsored by the South Carolina School Boards Association. Working with our dedicated teachers and school administrators, these good folks are elected across the State of South Carolina to manage our school districts. These are the folks on the front lines, facing the very real challenges our public schools are up against every day of the school year.
When I was driving to meet with the SCSBA, I thought back on my time in Greenville public schools. I loved studying, going to school (most days), meeting new friends and catching up everyday with old friends. Times were simpler then. There was no texting, no Snapchat, no Instagram and certainly no Facebook. So each school day was my chance not just to learn, but to catch up and see what was happening in my friends’ lives.
I was thinking about that Friday when I woke up and drove a few blocks to Briggs Elementary School’s Career Day. Jeff Murrie, my fabulous teacher friend and the “farmer” at Briggs, invited me to come and speak to a few classes about what I do, both as a lawyer and as a candidate for governor. And let me tell you, these children know their stuff. They came ready with tough questions and they loved getting campaign stickers. One of the children, when I asked what he thought the governor does, said “I think he cleans up the litter.” I thought to myself, that’s exactly what a governor should be doing in our state: cleaning this state up.
Later on Friday, I sat down with students from three high schools in the Pee Dee: Wilson, South Florence, and West Florence High Schools. Young men and women came together from these three impressive schools and organized a “town hall” focused on ways to deal with gun and school safety. The kids organized this, not their teachers or principals. They invited members of the community to attend and participate. Florence School District One Interim Superintendent Dand Strickland was there as well as school board member Porter Stewart, and Wilson Principal Eric Robinson. But the entire effort was thought up by, organized by, and put on by these public school students.
As we sat there discussing gun violence and school safety, I couldn’t help but think: times were simpler when I was in public school. The challenges these children face everyday are real and they know it and doing to do something about it. Their efforts to make their own schools safe isn’t going to stop with just one “town hall.” They publicly called on their teachers, administrators, and others to come together to address their safety concerns and I walked away knowing this: these Florence students, this next generation of leaders, won’t stop until they get the schools they deserve.
I woke up Saturday morning energized by these school kids, hopped in the car and headed down to the Galivants Ferry Stump, the longest running campaign stump in the country. Candidates running for office across the state were invited by the Holliday family to participate and I was excited to tell a die hard crowd of Pee Dee Democrats about how my running mate Senator John Scott and I are going to make history and affect the change South Carolina so badly needs. Voters were wearing “Willis” stickers, ringing cowbells, and our dedicated volunteers worked every single person in the crowd.
It was a great event for our campaign and a great way to kick start the week leading into our Democratic convention in Columbia.
Until next time,