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Senator Vincent Sheheen Asks Black Publishers For Support
9/17/2014 5:01:16 PM

Democratic candidate for governor Vincent Sheheen met with The African-American Publishers of South Carolina at the Charleston Chronicle headquarters September 12. (l-r) Nathaniel Abraham, Jr., Publisher of the Carolina Panorama (Columbia, SC), Jabari Moketsi, Publisher of the Gullah Sentinel (Beaufort, SC), Vincent Sheheen, Tolbert Smalls, Jr., Co-Publisher of the Charleston Chronicle (Charleston, SC), Larry Smith of the Community Times (Florence, SC & Greenville, SC).
By Barney Blakeney

Democratic candidate for governor, Camden Sen. Vincent Sheheen, Sept. 12 met with the publishers of South Carolina’s four Black weekly newspapers to ask their support for his election. Sheheen said his campaign offers African Americans across the state the best possibility to elect a governor who is sensitive to the needs of Black people in the state and one who will work to address them.

Jim French of the Charleston Chronicle, Nathaniel Abraham Jr. of the Carolina Panorama Columbia), Larry Smith of the Community Times (Florence, Greenville-Spartanburg) and Jabari Moketsi of the Gullah Sentinel (Beaufort) met with Sheheen at The Chronicle office in Charleston. The four publishers cover Black communities in each of the state’s four regions.

Sheheen said he felt it was important to meet with the publishers because they can carry his message that a South Carolina we know can exist if leaders who care about the state join together in a common vision.

Charleston is ground zero for his campaign in the fight to make such a vision a reality, Sheheen said. Charleston and North Charleston, while an important economic engine in the state, have not flexed their political muscle, he said.

Sheheen won Charleston County in his 2010 campaign against Gov. Nikki Haley. But some 58,000 Democratic voters in the county didn’t vote. Comparatively Democratic voters in Richland County gave Sheheen a win with 70 percent of the vote. Haley won the election by only about 60,000 votes, he said.

Sheheen anticipates another close election. He wants the state’s Black newspapers to help him send the message that unlike Haley, he will accept federal aide to make Medicaid available to thousands more South Carolina citizens, an action also expected to create 44,000 jobs.

That message, which he hopes will resonate among moderate Republicans as well, encourages a return to basics such as making early childhood education available to more students at integrated schools and putting the state’s education dollars to work in classrooms whose teachers’ salaries are competitive with those in our neighboring states.

Making a college education available to more students also is on Sheheen’s agenda. He’s critical of scholarships that are awarded more on the basis of merit than need. And Sheheen promises to focus his attention on issues confronting South Carolina State University.

SCSU is an investment that should educate students and encourage businesses and others to locate in the state, he said. The SCSU community should know it is not standing alone, that it is a part of state government and that the state’s government is responsible for it. South Carolina’s government has to be responsible for SCSU’s success. And that doesn’t include takeover by any other higher education entity, Sheheen said.

Most importantly, Sheheen said he wants to let voters know he will work to lift South Carolina’s business community higher than its current national ranking as the country’s fifth worse. He thinks a focus on small business growth and development works as well as recruiting out of state.

Sheheen said it is the governor’s job to lead and build bridges. It’s the job he’s campaigning for and it’s the job he wants voters to elect him to on Nov. 4.

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