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 Dr. Thigpen’s responses.
Year of birth: 1978
Political party: Democratic
Please limit your response to each of the following questions to about 100 words.
1. What makes you the most qualified person to hold this position? As a pastor in the district, I have been at ground zero when it comes to the concerns and issues of district 79. As a business owner, physician and parent, I have been engaged in the economic, public health and educational matters that affect the district.
I am uniquely positioned with the skillset and influence to bring about unity, believing we must no longer see unity as an option or alternative but a necessity. I am ready to boldly step into South Carolina’s leadership desideratum to provide the unity that our district and state so desperately needs.
2. What will be your top three priorities if you are elected? “H.O.P.E.” Heal Racial Tensions, Oppose Domestic Abuse & Drug Abuse, Promote Public Safety, Expanding Healthcare and Educational Funding” is the platform on which I am running. Providing adequate Roads and Infrastructure to support the economic development of our district has become my legislative top priority as frequently expressed by the constituents of the district. In my opinion Roads and Infrastructure are a nonpartisan issue and a great opportunity to encourage collaborative work across party lines.
3. For non-incumbents: How would your approach to your job differ from the incumbent’s? My predecessor, Mia McLeod, has vacated the seat in a pursuit to serve on the senate side of the SC legislature. Therefore, without incumbent opposition my goal would be to continue the initiatives and constituent services of my predecessor.
Additionally, I believe that divisive rhetoric and partisan politics only hurts the people of South Carolina. I will be a leader of leaders unifying people and working across party lines. My goal would be to build a stronger South Carolina, one community at a time starting with the communities of District 79.
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. Serving as a pastor which is elected in the Baptist Denomination because it operates under congregational polity, a leader must constantly work as a unifier, mediator, and motivator. A leader cannot operate in a vacuum, but instead must represent the wishes of the people and work to constantly keep the people informed and abreast to the direction and decision that have been entrusted to that leader.
Particularly as a moderator leading other pastors and considering the autonomy of the local church, a unique skillset is developed in brokering agreements with person who are not accustom to having to compromise.
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, I have not. On the contrary, I have served a member of the College’s Ethics Hearing Board while in graduate school.
6. Have you ever filed for bankruptcy or been delinquent on your federal, state or local taxes? If so, please give the details. No, I have not.
7. Are there any personal details about you that voters would be interested in knowing? Executive Committee- National Baptist Convention, U.S.A. Inc., Baptist E & M Convention of South Carolina- Executive Board, Board Member- South Carolina Christian Action Council, Moderator- Fairfield County Missionary Baptist & Educational Association, Board Member- Christ Teens of Columbia, Judicial Member (student) - Palmer College Board of Ethics
Number of years living in the district you seek to represent: 11years
Family (name of spouse, number and ages of children if at home, number of grown children):
(Dr. Martia Thigpen, 4 children- Uriaha 18, Ivana 11, Ivory 10, Ananias 7)
Education: BS Biology Pre-Medical - Jackson State University, Doctor of Chiropractic – Palmer College of Chiropractic, Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician – Palmer College of Chiropractic, Master of Divinity – Morehouse School of Religion at The Interdenominational Theological Center, Certificate in Non-Profit Management – Winthrop University
Current occupation/employer: Rehoboth Baptist Church/ Senior Pastor, Restore Chiropractic Family Wellness Center/ Owner & Physician
Employment, military and volunteer history: Serving over 100 hours Providence Hospital & Providence Northeast Hospital, Volunteer Chaplain- Columbia Police Department, Leaders Read Volunteer, Real Men Read Volunteer, Keep the Midlands Beautiful- Highway Clean-up Volunteer, America Reads Tutor, YMCA & Upward Youth Volunteer Soccer Coach, Humanitarian Clinic Abroad- Volunteer Physician, American Red Cross First Aid and CPR Instructor, Member- NAACP and Member- Kappa Alpha Psi
Please list all public offices to which you’ve been elected, when and where: N/A
Please list year and office of any unsuccessful runs for public office: N/A
Other political and government experience: Legislative Advocate, Legislative Representative (student) of the American Chiropractic Association, Youth Page- Mississippi State Senate
Key endorsements you’ve received: South Carolina Democratic Party, Richland County Democratic Party, NE Democrats