Two and a half years ago, Marlon Kimpson was elected by a landslide to fill the Senate seat for District 42, which was left empty when Robert Ford resigned. But Mr. Kimpson hasn’t acted like a freshman senator.
His impressive performance merits voters’ support in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. And because no Republican is seeking this seat in November, the primary victor is virtually assured of winning the seat in the general election.
Sen. Kimpson demonstrated quickly that he is a strong voice on issues that deal with affordable housing, gun reform and protection for workers. He has supported incentives for businesses to hire people who have been released from prison to encourage their rehabilitation.
As a Democrat in a largely Republican body, he hasn’t been able to get many of his initiatives passed into law. But he has been positive and persistent and has had some success in pushing for causes that are important to the state.
Mr. Kimpson graduated from Morehouse College in 1991 and the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1999. As a lawyer, he represents victims of corporate malfeasance, from investors in securities fraud cases to people injured in catastrophic incidents, work that informs his legislative efforts to empower people economically.
Sen. Kimpson has voted consistently for ethics reform and supports disclosure of “dark money” used generally for political attack ads. As a member of the Senate Transportation Committee, he supported a gas tax increase to tackle the extensive deterioration of the state’s roads and bridges.
He also supported a bill to eliminate the “Charleston Loophole” in South Carolina’s gun laws. It would mean that no commercial gun sale could be made until a background check on the purchaser is complete.
And he fought to stop a bill by Upstate Sen. Lee Bright that will let anyone with a license to carry a concealed weapon in Georgia carry in South Carolina as well. Mr. Kimpson correctly noted that Georgia’s standards for granting licenses to carry guns are even more lax than South Carolina’s, but he was unable to kill the bill.
Sen. Kimpson has been endorsed by a wide array of local citizens and officials, including Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg.
During his brief Senate tenure, Mr. Kimpson has been faced with two devastating events in his district, and has worked to mitigate the tragedies. After Walter Scott’s shooting by a police officer in North Charleston, he spoke strongly for the bill requiring law enforcement officers to wear body cameras.
And after nine people, including his friend and colleague Sen. Clementa Pinckney, were killed during a Bible study at Mother Emanuel AME Church a year ago, he pushed successfully for the removal of the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds.
Marlon Kimpson’s insights, experience and dedication to the people of his district and the Lowcountry commend him for re-election so that he can continue his good work in Columbia.