Year of birth: 1950
Number of years living in the district you seek to represent: 41 years
Family: Divorced, mother of two grown children, two grandchildren
Education: BA from the University of South Carolina
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Current occupation/employer: President of Lewis Walton, LLC, providing consulting services in the areas of non-profit management, fundraising, and marketing. Co-founder of Project XX SC, a non-profit advocacy organization encouraging women to run for elected and appointed office.
Employment, military and volunteer history: Awarded The Order of the Palmetto, the state’s highest civilian honor, in recognition of lifetime achievement and community service.
Founder of WINGS for Kids, an education program teaching social and emotional skills through after-school programs. WINGS has been recognized as one of the best-managed non-profits in South Carolina, and it has received national attention for its effectiveness based upon rigorous research.
Fund-raising leadership positions at the College of William and Mary, the Medical University of South Carolina, and the Coastal Community Foundation. Vice-president of Rawle Murdy, a full-service marketing firm working with a variety of for-profit and non-profit clients.
Please list all public offices to which you’ve been elected, when and where: None.
Please list year and office of any unsuccessful runs for public office: None.
Other political and government experience: Four decades of leadership in political and advocacy activity, primarily focused on education, in the election process (in the recruitment and campaigns of school board candidates) and on the policy side as an appointee of former Governor Mark Sanford to the SC Education Reform Committee.
Key endorsements you’ve received: ’ The South Carolina Club for Growth, a network of fiscal conservatives, made history by endorsing me as its first statewide Democratic candidate. SC's Libertarian party- this is the first time since the Party’s formation in 1971 that it has endorsed a candidate from another political party. However, she has also been publicly endorsed by Harry Kibler, Founder and President of the RINO Hunt (Republicans in Name Only) and a number of Tea Party activists. Individuals from across the political spectrum throughout the state.
1. What makes you the most qualified person to hold this position? (Be specific.)
1. Having worked with the Secretary of State’s office as a small business owner, leader of non-profits, professional fundraiser, and researcher, I have experienced first-hand its waste and inefficiencies. I can eliminate them.
2. The Secretary of State’s office does not communicate effectively. As a result, confused customers call with more questions, unnecessarily wasting staff time and taxpayers’ money. With my experience in marketing and communications, I can fix that.
3. A growing number of rules and regulations coming out of the Secretary of State’s office relate to the non-profit sector. Having held leadership roles in several non-profits, including creating WINGS for Kids, recognized as one of the best-managed non-profits in the state, I can identify unnecessary and cumbersome regulations and get rid of them.
2. What will be your top three priorities if you are elected?
Cut the budget: The Secretary of State’s office is fundamentally about gathering, organizing, and disseminating information. If ever there were a governmental office in which the digital revolution could dramatically reduce the budget, this is it. But the digital revolution hasn’t reached this office yet.
For example, only four of the 139 forms and fees managed by the office can currently be filed and/or paid for online. As a result, the office is over-run with paper, and spends $104,000/year just to store it. Another example of waste is the taxpayers paying for the current Secretary of State’s 184-mile commute to work.
Cut fees: Part of the reason the Secretary of State’s office charges a fee to provide almost any piece of information is that the system still relies upon paper and ‘snail mail.’ Transitioning to digital communications can reduce costs, and eliminate unnecessary fees.
Cut regulations: Many regulations currently imposed by the Secretary of State’s office are unnecessary or redundant. For example, non-profits are required to file with the state the same IRS form 990 that they already file with the IRS. That’s a waste.
3a. For non-incumbents: How would your approach to your job differ from the incumbent’s?
Make the Secretary of State’s office the most business and non-profit friendly in the country. Create a culture of excellence. Ask two questions of every service and activity: (1) Is it an appropriate function of the Secretary of State? (2) If so, how can it be rendered most efficiently and effectively?
4. Describe at least one significant political position you hold that would clash with your political base.
If elected Secretary of State, I will come to the job with an independent mind, without concern for the ideology of a political party. I’ll do what I believe is best. I believe the Secretary of State should be appointed, not elected. Many members of my political party disagree.
5. Have you ever been convicted of a crime, been disciplined by a professional licensing board or organization or had an ethics complaint filed against you? If so, please give the details.
I have never been convicted of a crime or disciplined by a professional licensing board or organization.
In 2002, an unfounded complaint was brought against me when I served as a leader of a volunteer group to recruit and elect candidates for the Charleston County School Board. In a complaint to the S.C. Ethics Commission, a school board member who wanted to be board chair charged that the newly recruited candidates accepted financial support in exchange for endorsing someone else for the chairmanship. The Ethics Commission dismissed the complaint.
6. Have you ever filed for bankruptcy or been delinquent on your federal, state or local taxes? If so, please give the details.
7. Are there any personal details about you that voters would be interested in knowing?
While I have been passionate about the work I am doing or the causes in which I am involved, I have always been firmly committed to living a balanced life – spending time with my children and grandchildren, staying close to my friends, cooking, painting, paddle boarding, or simply reading a good book. At WINGS for Kids, we teach kids to live joyfully, powerfully, and responsibly. As an adult, I try to live that way too!