Two candidates for governor chatted with Orangeburg County’s Democrats on Saturday.

Sen. Mia McLeod, D-Columbia, and Carlton Boyd were among the candidates who spoke at the local party’s monthly meeting.

“I’m the only candidate in this race who has been very open about the fact that I have been diagnosed with sickle cell anemia,” McLeod said.

“I know when I started my company in 2003, I discovered that as someone who was newly divorced at the time when my sons were much younger, that I could not have afforded health insurance. My health insurance premium, because of my pre-existing condition, was higher than my mortgage. I could not afford health insurance, a mortgage and a student loan payment,” McLeod said.

“I know all too well the struggles that South Carolinians continue to face and, as South Carolina’s governor, I will expand Medicaid on day one,” McLeod said.

“Why? Because I can, because I should, and because it’ll be a tremendous economic boost to our state. It will help reopen some of those rural hospitals. It’ll bring health care professionals back to our state,” McLeod said.

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McLeod then switched to women’s rights.

“Last time I checked, I’m the only candidate in this race who has a uterus. I don’t want our male-dominated legislature in it, and you shouldn’t either. This is ridiculous – every year they come for our reproductive rights and freedoms,” McLeod said.

“There are so many women and girls who have molested and raped, who’ll have to give birth. There’s a reason God didn’t allow men to give birth, so they are telling us what to do, how to and when to do it,” McLeod said.

Candidate Carlton Boyd focused on how health, education and crime have been problems in the state and his plans to help fix some of those issues for the betterment of South Carolinians.

“This is a little untraditional, but as Democrats, we all need to do our part to find out where our niche is in order to do the work which is necessary for the citizens of South Carolina,” Boyd said.

“A few initiatives I want to push, with health care we want to expand Medicaid so that we can have access to affordable medication to keep our populations healthy. How do we keep them healthy? We need to open up the hospitals that are already closed. We need to make sure that everyone has access to health care,” Boyd said.

“Number two, let’s talk about education. For far too long, we’ve been at the bottom, and it’s not because people aren’t doing their jobs. There’s a lot of policies that stand in the way, I can tell you that because my mom was an educator and my dad was an educator,” Boyd said.

“All of us know someone who has been victim of gun violence in some way, some shape, form or fashion. We have to do our jobs. It doesn’t mean you incarcerate everyone and lock them up for the next 25-30 years of life. It’s not as if they’re going in all the time and being rehabilitated. Sometimes when they come back out, they’re colder than ever. If we can actually rehabilitate them before they actually get to that point, we would be doing so much better and doing ourselves a service,” Boyd said.

Some of the other speakers at the meeting were Aisha Graham and Deloris Frazier, who both are running for Orangeburg County Council in District 6. Frazier is the incumbent.

Graham says she wants to serve the people of Orangeburg and their best interests.

“My husband and I, neither of us are from Orangeburg. We made it our business to stay in Orangeburg, so that we can build Orangeburg, and so that it can continue to grow. If you are ready for a change, if you are ready for something new and different, I invite you to support me,” Graham said.

“I will serve Orangeburg County when I’m elected because I have a compassion for people. I’m very committed to people. I have advocated for the HIV and AIDS community when I worked for DHEC. I am always advocating for children and for families,” Graham said.

“One thing that I want to work on is economic development and bringing businesses to Orangeburg. We are in the right location. We should be further than what we are,” Graham said.

Frazier mentioned the different projects that were accomplished during her tenure and the things that are currently in the works.

“One of my earliest projects was the rehabilitation of Edisto Drive. We were given a grant of $500,000 in which we repaired several homes in that area,” she said.

“The second that I was involved with was when we got $5 million for the sewer project. We are now on the fourth phase of the project with the sewer going down to Edisto High School. One of the other things I have advocated for were the streetlights for the Edisto Drive area,” Frazier said.

“We did this because of the fact that there were a lot of people being killed on 301 South,” Frazier said.

“Every Friday, once a month, we give out food on Edisto Drive to the community. I’ve also served on the volunteer firefighter group,” Frazier said.

“We’re working towards many jobs in this area. We have investments and millions of dollars will be spent in the Orangeburg area. We’ll have thousands of jobs that will be awarded to the people here in this area,” Frazier said.

Rep. Jerry Govan, D-Orangeburg, a candidate for state superintendent of education, said education has been politicized.

“I was approached because we have a serious crisis of education in the state pf South Carolina. Most people know me as the lead supporter of public education in the General Assembly, particularly on the House side,” Govan said.

“It is increasingly under assault and what Republicans have attempted to do is to weaponize public education to our detriment and to the detriment of the state. That is why I’m running for the state superintendent of education because I believe very strongly that we need to take the politics out of education. We need to make it about the kids,” Govan said.

While he was in the statehouse, “We kept Denmark Tech from shutting down. The reason I’ve gotten beat up a lot has been over South Carolina State University, ensuring that my alma mater survives.”

The Democratic Party meeting took place at Williams Chapel AME Church in Orangeburg. South Carolina’s party primaries will be held June 14.

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