The race for the District 100 House seat in Berkeley County features a rematch of last fall’s contest — with a twist.
Party: DemocraticAge: 48Family: Husband, Jerome; three daughters.Occupation: Assistant pastor and educational directorEducation: Charleston Southern University, Jacksonville Theological Seminary and Truth Bible College Previous elected office: Moncks Corner Town Council (2010-present)Why are you running?: “My focus is ‘Building Together District 100.’ I am running because I believe I have the leadership qualities that strengthens and builds our district through faith, family, and a strong future focus.”What is the biggest issue facing District 100?: “Public Education! I believe the children are the future, teach them well … show them all the beauty they possess inside.”Contact info: 843-499-4446
Republican incumbent Eddie Southard again is running against Democrat Tonia Aiken-Taylor, as they did in a September 2011 race to fill the unexpired term created by the death of Rep. David Umphlett.
Party: Republican Age: 66 Family: Wife, Patricia; two sons.Occupation: Business-constructionEducation: High school in AndersonPrevious elected office: (S.C. House, 2011-present)Why are you running?: “To represent the people of District 100 and Berkeley County with an independent, conservative voice based on prior business experience. To ensure that my constituents’ concerns about taxes and government spending are addressed.” What is the biggest issue facing District 100?: “The creation of jobs!”Contact info: 843-761-4366; eddysouthard @schouse.gov
The district is not the same because of reapportionment. Gone are sections of Goose Creek, and the district now runs roughly from Lake Moultrie at Bonneau Beach northwest to Macedonia, from Macedonia south to Moncks Corner, east of U.S. 52.
Aiken-Taylor, an educator and Moncks Corner councilwoman, said she doesn’t consider herself a politician but rather a community leader. She said she is campaigning on her pledge to bring new industries and jobs to the district and to ensure residents have a fair opportunity to get them as well as to get a great education.
“I think we all know education is our way out. It’s kind of our deliverer,” she said. “Somebody made it good for me, and now it’s my responsibility, my church’s responsibility, my family’s responsibility to continue to take this thing to the next level.”
Aiken-Taylor noted she lost last year by 700 votes, which she said “wasn’t a landslide. That’s another reason I’m back.”
Southard, a contractor, said he supports reforming the state’s ethics laws, wants a tax break for those sending their children to private schools and also wants the state to do more to tackle fraud and waste in Medicaid.
During the last legislative session, he did not vote for the state budget “because of 11th-hour pork barrel individual projects that people stuck in there that I just felt like was wrong.”
He said he tries to represent his district and is not in lockstep with the GOP. “I’ve met some very nice people who are Democrats, and I look at each thing individually as far as how it affects people here in Moncks Corner and Berkeley County.”