March 19: Republican and Democratic primariesApril 2: Primary runoff (if needed)May 7: Special election
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Post and Courier is profiling all 18 Republican and Democratic 1st Congressional District candidates before the March 19 primaries. This is the 17th installment.
Birth date: June 26, 1978Education: Strayer University, bachelor’s degree; Webster University, master’s degree.Occupation: Cybersecurity engineer.Previous offices held: None.Family: Single.Why I’m running: “To give the people of the 1st District a candidate to rally around so we’ll have somebody we’ll be proud of.”Proudest accomplishment: “I’m really proud and excited that everybody has been supportive when I told them I’d do this (run for Congress), that I’d stand up for the people and not let the establishment choose our representative.”Contact: www.larkinforcongress.com; email@example.com
BY ROBERT BEHRE
For more coverage, go to postandcourier.com/first-district.Read more
Tim Larkin said he had never had much interest in the political realm until news broke that U.S. Rep. Tim Scott would resign his seat to start serving in the U.S. Senate.
Larkin, a 34-year-old cybersecurity engineer, said he has long admired Scott. When some familiar names emerged as candidates for Scott’s former 1st Congressional District seat, Larkin said he grew frustrated.
“I’m really proud and excited that I’d do this — stand up to the establishment,” he said of his decision to run. “I’m not going to let the establishment pick our candidate.”
Larkin, a Republican, has served in the Army in Afghanistan and Kosovo, and he currently serves in the Army National Guard and works for a defense contractor in North Charleston. As such, he said he is potentially vulnerable to losing his job because of the current sequester and its cutbacks.
“We do need to make cuts. We need to make huge cuts, but we need to do it properly,” he said. “Everybody is concerned about the economy and jobs.”
Larkin said he favors a federal balanced budget amendment and tax reform, preferably the Fair Tax — a plan to end the nation’s income tax and replace it with a national sales tax, including rebates to ease its effect on the poorest citizens.
While Larkin said he is a big fan of Scott, they don’t agree on all the issues, such as Scott’s recent no vote on the Violence Against Women Act.
“I would have voted for it,” Larkin said. “We have a serious problem in this state with violence against women.”
Larkin’s awareness has stemmed in part from his work at My Sister’s House, a Charleston-area shelter for battered women. He has volunteered there for a few years, mostly working on the nonprofit’s computers.
My Sister’s House Executive Director Elmire Raven said Larkin has been named the volunteer of the year because he has been reliable and flexible.
“The staff here, we just think he is such a pleasant, great guy,” she said. “He has a great attitude — really positive.”
Larkin said the most overlooked issue in the campaign has been Veterans Affairs. He said he gets his health care at the VA Hospital in Charleston, and while it has come a long way, improvements are needed.
“It still tells a sad tale walking the halls of that place and seeing some of our vets in the condition they’re in,” he said.
Undaunted about being a long shot, Larkin said he is proud that he is waging his campaign with no paid staff and with less than a $10,000 budget.
“I feel as though I’m in the lifeblood of American democracy. It’s educational. It’s been great,” he said. “I feel like I’m doing what my grade school teachers always said we could do.”
Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.
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