Like many of you, I love our country. There's nowhere like it on Earth. Commonly referred to as "The Great Experiment," the United States of America is far from perfect. However, we have the unique privilege to control our own destiny in the land of the free.
In our form of government, a constitutional republic, we elect officials to do our bidding. We do this periodically so they can become experts in subject matter, render opinions, ponder how best to move forward, execute the order and enforce the laws passed.
Our government is hinged to the idea these elected officials will be citizen statesmen. A collective of individuals who take a brief hiatus from their profession of choice to serve, ideally improve the lives of the community, and then they return home to live by those very policies they argued for or against.
In South Carolina's Sixth U.S. Congressional District, that hasn't been the case. This district that spans from Charleston to Columbia, Hardeeville to Sumter, Orangeburg to Kingstree, Yemassee to Hemingway and Walterboro and Hampton has long been neglected. Ignored. The "Corridor of Shame "
I think it's time to breathe new life into this area of opportunity. Better yet, a Zone of Opportunity! South Carolina is a wonderful place to live, work, learn, worship and raise a family. We just need an advocate who believes this area is worth the investment.
My principal focus if elected will be to recruit employers to the district and take advantage of the Opportunity Zone legislation passed in 2018 instead of focusing on how to criticize it.
This is a sales job. To approach as many prospective employers as possible and sell them on the idea it's in their best interest to move to one of our towns. Wouldn't a 30-man operation in Orangeburg have a significant impact? What about 20 new jobs in Kingstree? I think that would be a big deal. More opportunity, more money, which means better access to services, which leads to better health care, education, infrastructure and quality of life.
Who will I target? Specifically, the dozens if not hundreds of suppliers to our major manufacturers in S.C.: Boeing, Volvo, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Bosch, Ingevity, WestRock, Nucor and others.
Thriving communities don't manifest out of thin air, and they certainly aren't vibrant if dependent on the government. Active investment from the private sector yielding productive output from a community gives it life, wealth and purpose. I believe the Sixth District is a powder keg of opportunity, and I want to facilitate lighting the fuse.
I think Mr. Jim Clyburn is a good man who I respect. I think he is a significant historic figure whose legacy will stand through the ages. I do, however, think the U.S. House of Representatives is not a place for tenured statesmanship. That is what the U.S. Senate is for. It's why their term is six years and not two like the House.
The founders intended for great turnover in the House to keep the ideas fresh and send those same officials back home to live by the rules they passed. It holds them accountable to their work.
I know this is a historically Democratic district that has voted for the incumbent for 28 years. I'm appealing to those of you who fit this description. Give me a chance. I'm a low-risk investment. If I fail, there is another election in two short years. If I do well, we will have gained so much. Opportunity.
A vote for me will also set the district free so the people can choose a longtime statesman's successor. "Congressman" is not a hereditary title to be passed on to one's children, nor should they name their own replacement.
It will free up the Democratic side of the ticket for the many qualified individuals waiting in the wings: Bakari Sellers, Marlon Kimpson, Marvin Pendarvis, JA Moore, Wendell Gilliard and several others. If any of these good men were running against the incumbent, I wouldn't feel so compelled to run!
Finally, what pushed me over the edge in deciding to run for this seat was the reference to a "king maker" earlier this spring. This is the United States of America. We do not have kings here, nor should we have king makers. I trust you believe this as well.
My name is John McCollum, and I humbly ask for your vote in November. Let's improve the Sixth District with new ideas, bring opportunity to our people, bind up the nation's wounds, love our neighbors, work hard, pick up litter, say a kind word to a stranger, go to school, get good grades, go to church, love our children and shock the world - together.
Thanks for your time, and take care.
District 6 covers central and eastern South Carolina, including parts of Sumter County and all of Clarendon County.
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