Special elections generally produce low turnouts. But eligible voters in District 42 shouldn’t miss their chance to choose a new state senator Tuesday. We recommend Democrat Marlon Kimpson as a well-qualified successor to Robert Ford, who resigned the seat in May under a cloud of ethics charges.
Mr. Kimpson, who won a primary runoff last month by a large margin, is making his first run for elective office in a district that includes parts of downtown Charleston, North Charleston and West Ashley. But the Columbia native, a graduate of Morehouse College and the University of South Carolina School of Law, has a wide-ranging background, and has long been active in public life.
This son of educators told us he has a deep commitment to improving South Carolina’s public schools as an essential economic mission. He rightly emphasizes the need for a “stable source of funding” for public education: “I’m concerned about public education funding being tied to revenue sources that could be cyclical.”
Mr. Kimpson opposes voucher programs that would put public money in private schools.
But he hailed the “creative” opportunities of charter schools. As he put it: “I’m for parents having that kind of choice.”
Though he strongly advocates increased education funding, he stressed, “We want the money to be used in the classroom.”
And Mr. Kimpson’s experience as a banker and attorney would serve him well in making informed decisions on public policy. For instance, in his ongoing role as an attorney with Motley Rice LLC, he represents the International Longshoremen’s Pension Fund. That should give him insights in the crucial task of legislative oversight of the state retirement fund.
A former law clerk for the late federal Judge Matthew Perry, Mr. Kimpson has since served in many significant community leadership roles. Among them: He was a member of the boards of the University of South Carolina, Carolina Youth Development Center and Charleston Trident Urban League.
The self-described “good listener” wants to take that skill to the S.C. Senate. He told us that though he would be a Democrat in a Republican-run chamber, the “collegial” nature of that body would help him work effectively across party lines.
He added: “People gravitate to a positive message.”
And Marlon Kimpson brings a positive message to District 42 voters.