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The Rev. Jackson pushing voter registration, healthcare in SC

AP

The Rev. Jesse Jackson is touring South Carolina on Thursday to encourage voter registration and highlight the healthcare challenges rural communities face.

The Greenville native and civil-rights activist will hold a news conference at the closed, rural Bamberg County Hospital at 10 a.m.

Later, Jackson will hold several student rallies. He will stop at Voorhees College in Denmark at 11 a.m., the University of South Carolina's Aiken campus at 1:30 p.m., and S.C. State University in Orangeburg at 5:30 p.m.

On Friday, Jackson will attend a breakfast in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. in Columbia before heading to Greenville for an event.

Jackson said he picked Bamberg for his first stop because it's the hometown of S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley. Jackson has applauded the Lexington Republican for calling for the removal of the Confederate flag from the S.C. State House grounds after nine African Americans were murdered during a church Bible study in Charleston.

"Now we must pull down the flag agenda," Jackson said, adding that he wished Haley and other S.C. leaders would "see the value in rising above politics" on healthcare and accept federal Medicaid dollars made available to states through the Affordable Care Act.

"The Bamberg hospital is closed. People there have to go to Orangeburg (or) Walterboro for care,” he said.

Jackson said poor whites and blacks need better access to healthcare, education and voting. He called for automatic voter registration at the age of 18.

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