Ivory Thigpen and Donald Miles are running for the House District 79 seat in Richland County that is being vacated by Rep. Mia McLeod. The State’s editorial board sent questionnaires to both candidates. Here are Mr. Miles’ responses.
Year of birth: 1982
Political party: Republican
1. What makes you the most qualified person to hold this position?
As the son of a single mother and as a father, husband and man of faith and conviction, I share the values and experiences of those who live in House District 79.
My background as an administrator at USC, I have seen firsthand how a quality education is critical for success. I will be able to use this background to improve education policy for our great state.
Our district needs someone at the Statehouse who can be an advocate for us and work with the House majority. I am the only candidate that can fuse together those two necessary goals.
2. What will be your top three priorities if you are elected? (100 words for each issue)
Education: I will be a full-throated advocate for education freedom that puts students, children and educators ahead of political agendas. Whether its quality public and charter schools, parochial schools, homeschooling or vocational education, we need to put students’ needs above all else.
Transportation: Our roads and infrastructure is crumbling and we need a leader who will focus on repairing our transportation grid. For far too long, my district has been neglected by SCDOT and has been a low priority for the state legislature. If I’m elected to the House, we will shift focus back to our district and make sure our roads get the attention they deserve. I know that a strong infrastructure is a critical part of job creation and getting more of District 79 working again.
Job Creation: Too many South Carolinians are unemployed or underemployed. This must change and we need fresh, innovative leadership to make it happen. That’s why I’m running. Job creators need more advocates in the legislature. I’ll stand with entrepreneurs to enact meaningful tax reform and to streamline or reduce burdensome regulations that can be job-killers.
Simply put, I’ll be fighting for quality education for all, improved transportation and infrastructure and the creation of high-quality jobs to get South Carolina working again.
3a. (OPEN SEAT) .For non-incumbents: How would your approach to your job differ from the incumbent’s? The biggest difference between my opponent and I are my ability to work with the legislative majorities and governor and that my background is more similar to the residents of House District 79. I am a proven leader with professional policy experience. Because of my experience and training in public policy I will be able to hit the ground running from day one.
3b. For incumbents: What do you consider your most significant accomplishments in this office?
4. Describe at least one significant political position you hold that demonstrates your willingness to work across party lines even if that’s at odds with your political base.
I don’t focus on party. I focus on policy and principle. I look for common ground on all issues and I think we have too many politicians who are more worried about scoring political points than doing something good for their constituents. Regardless of the issue, I’ll work with everyone and anyone to do what’s best for my district.
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. No
6. Have you ever filed for bankruptcy or been delinquent on your federal, state or local taxes? If so, please give the details. No
7. Are there any personal details about you that voters would be interested in knowing?
My wife (Delia) and I are active members in our church, NewSpring Church Northeast. We live in Lake Carolina with our two children Essence and Emerson, and our dog Logan. I was raised in Aiken, SC and attended South Carolina public schools. After graduating from Aiken High School in 2000, I attended the University of South Carolina Aiken for undergraduate studies. I am a first generation college graduate. I hold a Master of Public Administration Degree from Augusta State University and a BA in Political Science from USC Aiken.
Number of years living in the district you seek to represent: 4 years
Family (name of spouse, number and ages of children if at home, number of grown children): Delia Miles (Spouse), 2 Children at home ages 3 and 5.
Education: (MPA) Master of Public Administration Degree from Augusta State University and a BA in Political Science from USC Aiken
Current occupation/employer: University of South Carolina, Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Accreditation
Employment, military and volunteer history:
Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Accreditation, Office of Institutional Research, Assessment, and Analytics, University of South Carolina. February 2016-present
Executive Director, Office of Institutional Research and Assessment, University of South Carolina. August 2013-February 2016
Director of Institutional Effectiveness, University of South Carolina. January 2012-August 2013
Director of Planning and Research, Aiken Technical College. April 2010-January 2012
Interim Director of Planning and Research, Aiken Technical College. June 2009-March 2010.
Assistant Director of Planning and Research, Aiken Technical College. 2008-June 2009.
Coordinator of Institutional Statistics, Institutional Effectiveness Office, USC Aiken. 2007-2008.
Multimedia Advertising Executive, The Augusta Chronicle, Aiken, SC, 2006-2007.
Augusta State University, Augusta, GA, 2004-2006.
Columbia County Commissioners Office, Evans, GA, 2005-2006.
External Affairs/Public Relations Office, University of South Carolina Aiken, 2003-2004.
Chancellor’s Office, University of South Carolina Aiken, 2001-2004.
Administration and Service:
· Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Accreditation Liaison. USC Columbia. 2013-present.
· South Carolina Association for Institutional Research (SCAIR), President. 2014-2015.
· South Carolina Association for Institutional Research (SCAIR), President-Elect. 2013-2014.
· Carolina Core Committee. 2012-present.
· USC Connect Council. 2012-present.
· Assessment Advisory Committee. 2012-present.
· University of South Carolina Board of Governors, Member. 2011-2013.
· Planning, Assessment and Innovation Council (PAIC). 2012-present.
· Quality Assurance Committee (QCOM) USC College of Education. 2012-present.
· Alumni Council, President. USC Aiken. 2011-2013.
· University of SC Aiken Chancellor Search Committee. 2012.
· South Carolina Association for Institutional Research (SCAIR), Member at large. 2012-2013.
· ATC Enrollment Management and Marketing Team, Co-Chair, 2010-2012.
· SACS Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Implementation and Assessment Team, Co-Chair, 2010-2012.
· NewSpring Church Volunteer. 2009-present.
· SACS QEP Focus and Development Team, 2008-2010.
· Achieving the Dream College Assessment Team, 2008-2012.
· Aiken Technical College Calendar Committee. December 2008-2010.
· SACS Aiken Technical College Assessment Committee. September 2008-2012.
· Achieving the Dream New Student/Family Orientation Team. July 2008-2010.
· Aiken Technical College Data Integrity/Management Team. August 2008-2009.
· Kiwanis Club. Aiken Chapter. 2007-2009.
· Inclusion Advisory Council, Chair. USC Aiken. 2006-2010.
· Alumni Council, Vice President. USC Aiken. 2009-2011.
· Alumni Council, Professional Development and Networking Committee, Chair. USC Aiken. 2008-2009.
· Alumni Council, Membership and Fundraising. USC Aiken. 2006-2008.
· Helping Hands Children’s Shelter, Mentor. 2005-2008.
· Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Accreditation Liaison (Interim). USC Aiken. 2007-2008.
· Enrollment Planning Team. USC Aiken. 2007-2008.
· Circle K International, Service Chair. USC Aiken Chapter. 2003-2004.
· Student Leader Strategic Planning Committee. USC Aiken. 2002-2004.
· University Judicial Board. USC Aiken. 2002-2003.
· Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity. 2001-present
· New Student Advisory Committee. USC Aiken. 2001-2002.
· Aiken Chamber of Commerce, Media Representative. 2006-2007.
· Junior Leadership Aiken, Aiken High School Representative. 1996.
South Carolina Association for Institutional Research (SCAIR), member. (2011-present)
Southern Association for Institutional Research (SAIR), member. (2007-present)
Association for Institutional Research (AIR), member. (2007-present)
American Association of Higher Education (AAHE), member. (2007-2012)
Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), member. (2007-2012)
Consortium for Student Retention Data Exchange (CSRDE), member. (2007-2012)
USC Aiken Alumni Council Member of the Year
Pi Gamma Mu Social Science Honor Society
Lambda Pi Eta Communications Honor Society
Order of Omega Greek Honor Society
Omicron Delta Kappa Student Leadership Honor Society
Who’s Who Among Colleges
New Student Leadership Award
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: Columbia County Commissioners Office, Evans, GA, 2005-2006.
Key endorsements you’ve received:
Central Carolina REALTORS Association (supporting my campaign)
South Carolina Realtors (supporting my campaign)
Building Industry Association of Central South Carolina (supporting my campaign)
The Home Builders Association of South Carolina (supporting my campaign)
Columbia Medical Society (supporting my campaign)
South Carolina Federation of Young Republicans
Midlands Young Republicans
Aiken Young Republicans
South Carolina GOP
University of South Carolina College Republicans
SC Teenage Republicans