In 2004, incumbent state Sen. Robert Ford beat independent challenger Maurice Washington by a 7-3 ratio. Almost 10 years later, Washington got a call from Ford, who said he was resigning and wanted Washington to seek the seat again.
Family: Wife, Violet; four children; four grandchildren.
Education: South Carolina State University, B.S. in Psychology.
Occupation: President of Trust Management, LLC (insurance and consultant services)
Previous Elective Office: Charleston City Council, (1991-99).
Why I’m running: “To help make Senate District 42 a better place to live, work, and raise a family.”
More than anything, Senate District 42 needs: “Jobs for residents of the district and a grassroots partnership identifying public and private resources and collaborative opportunities among business and community leaders, faith-based community, and early education professionals.”
Contact information: 749-2876; votemaurice.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
“Senator Ford is a pretty convincing guy,” Washington said. After a week of talking with others, the former Charleston City Councilman and S.C. State University trustee joined the race.
He is one of six Democrats on the Aug. 13 primary ballot in state Senate District 42. The others are Emmanuel Ferguson, Herbert Fielding, Marlon Kimpson, Margaret Rush and Bob Thompson.
Washington has faced an unusual headwind. Charleston County Democratic Chairman Richard Hricik let Washington on the primary ballot, but publicly spoke out against him for his past Republican Party ties.
Hricik “said he was going to do everything in his power to discourage Democrats from voting for me. He has lived up to his threat,” Washington said. “It has developed some challenges for me out in the field, but that’s OK. I’m proud of my association and experiences with Republicans who have partnered with me to help me help my constituents.”
Washington said one example of how his bipartisan approach paid off was when he chaired the S.C. State board and convinced the Republican-led State Budget and Control Board to approve $45 million in borrowing for new dorms at the university.
Washington said what sets him apart is his public service on City Council and at S.C. State. He cited his work to get sidewalks and a community center in Rosemont and to establish a loan program to help women- and minority-owned businesses. “I think experience matters, and I think at the end of the day voters will remember my good work and send me to Columbia,” he said.
If elected, he said he would push for more educational support, including statewide reading initiatives in all schools, public-private partnerships, and steps to keep higher-education tuition in check.
One of his biggest backers is Ford, who stepped down because of questionable use of campaign funds. Washington said Ford has done a lot for Charleston and the state.
“I didn’t always agree with (Ford’s) approach, but I always agreed with his intent and his purpose,” Washington said. “I am honored to have his support. Right now there are simply allegations, and the process is ongoing and the result will either clear him or find him guilty of mishandling his campaign funds. Now, having said that, I don’t think that should be the only thing we remember him by.”
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