This Fight Isn’t Over. Here’s How We Can Finally Beat COVID-19 in South Carolina.

Here in South Carolina and across this country, we are facing down a health crisis. One which affects all of us. Last weekend, I personally lost my grandaunt, Gladys, to the coronavirus.

We’ve seen too much tragedy. We’ve hit the grim milestone of over 1,000 COVID related deaths in our state alone. Just one death is too many.

We’re breaking case records here on a near-daily basis. We’ve gone from 13 percent positive a month ago to 21 percent positive today. Some county hospitals say they’re already using 80 or 90 percent of their beds.

Black communities have been particularly hard hit, revealing the inequities in our healthcare system. African Americans are 27 percent of South Carolina’s population, but account for 41 percent of coronavirus deaths.

This virus might have been slow to take off in South Carolina, but it’s here to stay — unless we do something about it now.

South Carolinians have to rise to the occasion and accept the enormous obligation we have to each other during this pandemic. We didn’t ask for this responsibility. Nor did we seek it out. This fight came to us. It’s on all of us to do the right thing. That’s how we keep everyone’s friends and loved ones safe.

As everyday South Carolinians do their part, this state needs leadership that steps up to the plate too. Bold, courageous, and empathetic leadership. Leadership that puts people first.

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We need leadership that will step up to the plate.

Instead, we have an unreliable, weak, feckless, and out of touch leader in Lindsey Graham has changed — and as a result, South Carolina is paying the price.

South Carolina needs a Senator who cares about South Carolina, who fights for you, who understands and feels your pain, and works to address it.

That’s the kind of Senator I’ll be. I’ll fight for you as hard as I would for my family. Because that’s what we are, a South Carolina family.

To face this challenge, we must create and save jobs, mandate masks statewide, and get our children back to school safely.

Firstly, we need to rush more aid to small businesses. The barber shops, restaurants and hardware stores that dot our city centers employ 45% of our state’s workforce. They are the backbone of our economy.

This is why it was so important for Congress to provide them with enough funding to keep people employed in April. But too much of that money got into the wrong hands, like hedge funds, who already had access to capital.

This hung mom-and-pop shops here out to dry. South Carolina came in last, 50th out of 50 states, in receiving PPP funds per worker. We have the highest unemployment rate in our state’s history and small businesses are closing their doors for good.

As for Lindsey Graham, since the beginning of this crisis, he has led a crusade to cut unemployment relief from the CARES Act. He said only “over our dead bodies” would Congress extend this relief — relief which has been helping South Carolina families keep their heads above water.

We deserve a Senator who helps us keep our jobs.

Secondly, wearing a mask is easy, and one of the most cost-effective ways to cut down on transmission. Everyone, from Vice President Biden to President Trump, agrees that masks are a vital way to combat this virus.

I’m calling on Governor McMaster to follow in the footsteps of Republican and Democratic governors across the nation and make masks mandatory in public spaces.

Wearing a mask is a sign you care about your neighbors and it’s the first step in reopening our economy and our schools.

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Protecting our kids is a sacred obligation. The only way to re-open schools is to do so in a way that keeps our kids, teachers and families safe.

That’s why I believe every single school in South Carolina should only reopen under guidelines health professionals recommend. That must be our North Star.

We also need the funding necessary to keep our students safe. Public schools are in desperate need of the federal resources promised in the CARES act.

Social distancing, smaller classrooms, masks, online learning — are all good ideas, but they mean nothing without the funding that turns ideas into action. Action today, saves lives tomorrow.

We deserve a Senator who cares about our children’s safety.

We all have a role to play here. On the Fourth of July, there were too many large crowds on our beaches. We need to be more responsible. We can only defeat the coronavirus together.

The moves I’m recommending will help businesses reopen long-term and make workers feel safe. There’s no healthy economy without a healthy population.

Even in a time as dark as this, there is so much to be hopeful about. There are countless stories of friends helping friends, neighbors helping neighbors, people giving to food banks, and donating plasma.

My campaign is partnering with community organizations across South Carolina to feed our first responders, provide hygiene kits and food to the needy, while supporting COVID relief efforts by providing grants to community organizations across the state.

We don’t see that type of leadership from Lindsey Graham.

It’s time for change. That’s why I am running for Senate. When times get tough, South Carolinians band together, and we come out the other side stronger than ever before

Written by

Former South Carolina US Senate candidate. Still fighting for working people.

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