Politics & Government

Richland House seat up for grabs in Tuesday primary

Nine people are active candidates for the S.C. House of Representatives District 70 seat, which became vacant when Rep. Joe Neal of Hopkins passed away Jan. 14.

Eight Democrats will be on the ballot in Tuesday's primary, with a runoff on May 16, if needed. A single Republican candidate will move on to the general election, which will be June 20.


Wendy Brawley: Brawley lives in Hopkins and is a business owner, who publishes "IMARA Woman Magazine" and owns Events Unlimited.

She has a bachelor's degree from University of South Carolina and a master’s from Webster University.

Her campaign materials list transparency, the environment, safe communities, education and jobs as priorities. Brawley also said she supports community-based youth services and job training and attracting clean industry.

She is married and has two grown children.

H. Heath Hill: Hill is a farmer and president of the Tri-County Electric Coop board ofdDirectors. He is married, and farms cotton, corn, wheat and peanuts near Eastover.

Norman Jackson: Norman Jackson said he is a native of Hopkins. He has a bachelor's degree in English from University of South Carolina.

He currently works for the solicitor's office in Richland County, helping clients with expungements.

He said important issues include the state's retirement system, which he does not think has been addressed by recent legislation and infrastructure, including not only the roads system but water, sewer and internet access.

Patrick Morris: Morris is originally from Lawrence, Mass. He came to South Carolina to be stationed at Fort Jackson with the U.S. Army. "I liked the weather and the people, so I came back," he said.

He currently works for the Underground Movement, a contractor at Shaw Air Force Base.

He said his main issues are health care, education, and getting the state's road and infrastructure fixed.

Harry Reese Sr.: Reese is native of South Carolina and a licensed social worker for Palmetto Health who lives in Columbia.

He has two grown children.

He has a bachelor's degree in childhood and family development from Benedict College and a master's degree in social work from University of South Carolina.

He said he considers education, infrastructure, creating good paying jobs and raising the minimum wage as his major issues.

Levola Taylor: Taylor is a retired government worker who lives in Gadsden.

She is a graduate of Benedict College and took advanced studies at USC. She has been a school teacher in Richland County and was on the Richland 1 school district board as well as serving in the S.C. House, filling out an unexpired term.

She is married to Zack Taylor and has three grown children and eight grandchildren.

Taylor said key issues for her are infrastructure, including roads, water and sewer. She said, as an educator, she would fight for more money for public schools.

Jermaine Walker: Walker is a native of Pinewood. He said he is a farmer, a minister for a Baptist Church in Florence County and also works with the Sumter County Utility Department.

He has two children.

Walker said the most important issues are improving infrastructure, including roads and water systems and promoting growth in Sumter and Richland counties. He also said he would like to see more oversight of the Pinewood site landfill, a toxic waste dump in Sumter County near Lake Marion.

George B. Wilson: Wilson said he works with his father in the construction business. He said he has bachelor's degrees in criminal justice and political science from Benedict College and is pursuing an administrative degree. He lives in Hopkins.

Wilson is the son of S. George Wilson, who held the District 70 seat as a Democrat from 1974 to 1978.


Bill Stickland: Strickland has a master's degree in information technology and is retired from the U.S. Air Force. He worked as civilian technical director at Shaw Air Force Base.

Strickland said he is also treasurer for the Sumter County Republican Party and a Clemson Extension Service master gardener. He is married to Sandi Strickland.

He is the only Republican in the race, so a GOP primary is not necessary.