The fundamental word here is Fairness.
James and Mandy are committed to creating a South Carolina in which everyone is valued, and no one is left behind.
That’s perhaps the greatest difference between them and the incumbent governor. They want to serve everyone in South Carolina, not just people who look or think or live or vote a certain way.
This theme runs through all our other issue areas, such as widening access to healthcare and making sure children have the opportunity to get a good education wherever they live in our state.
Here are some other examples of what that can mean:
Equal pay for equal work. James and Mandy led the way on this by promoting the South Carolina Paycheck Fairness Act earlier this year. It would have helped not only women, but minorities and veterans re-entering the civilian workforce by requiring employers to provide minimum pay information in job announcements, and prohibiting employers from asking about an applicant’s salary history.
Stopping domestic violence. South Carolina consistently ranks among the top five states in the country for number of women killed by men. James and Mandy would create an interagency task force to identify the strategies that will be most successful in preventing violence. They would protect survivors and guarantee that perpetrators are held accountable. A first step would be seeing that all degrees of domestic violence are tried by solicitors in circuit courts. They would protect the confidentiality of domestic violence victims and advocates, as well as improve the storage and processing of rape kits.
Protecting our girls. Currently, a girl can be married at any age in South Carolina so long as she’s pregnant. Often, the father is much older and nothing more than a rapist. SC law allows him to cloak his crime by marrying the child he impregnated. Mandy introduced a bill to change this law, and it didn’t get a hearing. As lieutenant governor, she will continue to push to end this injustice.
Fighting human trafficking. Mandy introduced several bills this past legislative session to address trafficking and exploitation, but none got through a hearing. She will raise the profile of this issue as lieutenant governor, and Gov. Smith will lend his influence as well. Few people go into prostitution of their own volition. Mandy and James will continue to push to protect this extremely vulnerable portion of our population.
A government that looks like our state. James and Mandy would cast a much wider net in appointing people to serve in state government. That means not only more women and minorities in leadership positions, but greater geographic diversity, bringing in more talent from small towns and rural areas. And there would be no ideological tests for those hired – in a Smith administration, all that will matter will be qualifications and a willingness to work with all kinds of people to build a better South Carolina.
Valuing people with disabilities. James has been an advocate for South Carolinians with disabilities in the House, and would continue to be as governor. He has sponsored important bills that have become law, such as the Persons With Disabilities Right to Parent Act. There is much work to be done still to ensure that ours is a state in which everyone has a full opportunity to live an independent life. For instance, an employer can pay a worker with disabilities less than the minimum wage. That is a terrible injustice, and as governor, James would work to change that and eliminate other barriers that face those with disabilities.