The District 18 state Senate race will pit three challengers — Kara Gormley Meador, , and — against incumbent GOP , of Prosperity.
The district covers Lexington, Newberry, and Saluda counties.
Name: Kara Gormley Meador
Occupation: Marketing & PR Consultant
Prior experience (political/civil/etc): N/A
Family: Married with three boys ages 6, 4 and 2
Education: BA English, Providence College
Campaign website: www.karaforsenate.net
Why are you seeking this office?
I have three tremendous motivating factors in seeing that District 18 and the state of South Carolina succeed. Their names are Dalton (age 6) Evan (age 4) and Cooper (age 2).
I am tremendously motivated in seeing that District 18 and the state of South Carolina succeed for our children. For me, their names are Dalton (age 6) Evan (age 4) and Cooper (age 2).
Like so many of you I am concerned South Carolina is headed in the wrong direction. I shudder to think of how much money and time our state is wasting because our elected leaders are caught up in finding fault in each other, worried about finding themselves in the middle of lawsuits, step down because they were caught breaking the rules. All of this when so many people in our state are fighting for their family’s economic survival and the wellbeing of their children.
Reporting news in South Carolina for over a decade, I witnessed first hand what happens when people galvanize and take a stand and have their voices heard resulting in positive change. There is strength in numbers. We can make a difference.
As a former investigative journalist and television anchor, I learned early on, how to become a good listener. During a time when the actions of many politicians lose sight of what is important I will be a leader who does what she says she is going to do. I offer bold character and strong leadership on behalf of the people of District 18 and our state.
What makes you the best person for the job?
I have the energy, focus and the passion to move our state forward. I am a team player who as a former investigative reporter spent a lot of time at the state house. I know the players and the process, but I do not have the ties that too often lead our elected officials off course. I can honestly say that what truly motivates me to seek public office is my commitment to offer honest and bold leadership to improve our state.
What areas of the office will you seek to focus on and what do you hope to accomplish in your term?
True- true- transparency and true accountability in all avenues of government. Let’s cut the waste that we see in the Welfare System such as in the form of overpayments. Instead, let’s work on giving new life to our state’s pension system.
Today, government employees who’ve worked hard their entire life believing they are going to have good retirement now discover the unimaginable fact that they won’t because our current leaders have left us with a $17 billion dollar gap in state funding, and seem to have no serious desire to address it. This is a problem that didn’t happen over night. Instead of making difficult decisions to fix the problem years ago, South Carolina government continued to run up a massive tab.
Adding insult to injury, while lawmakers continue to debate how to fix the problem, they benefit from a pension system more than double the rate of regular employee pensions: one that taxpayers don’t have the same luxury of enjoying, yet are forced to pay for.
Is this really the message we want to send to taxpaying citizens? I stand with taxpayers who know the system needs to change. I believe that challenges we face are fixable with determined, focused and bold leadership.
So many of the issues we face in our state are connected and cannot be addressed individually in a vacuum. For example, if we work to make sure children in our state have access to a great education system, that will in turn help foster economic development. If we have true transparency and true accountability in government we will save money and return it to the taxpayers while paying down our debt. All of this will lead to a renewed, long overdue, renewed confidence in government.
Have you heard any repeated concerns from residents of District 18?
The people whom I’ve spoken to would like a truly responsive leader. Someone who will always be there to listen to their concerns, take those concerns seriously and come to some resolution. If elected, I will have regular town hall meetings in all of District 18 in order to give people a chance to be heard. At those meetings I will report on what is happening on the legislative side and let people weigh in on where they stand.
What do you think needs to be done to improve South Carolina’s education system?
I’ve meet a lot of teachers along the campaign trail and have listened intently as they discussed the hardships they find themselves in. First, I thought that might be the case in only rural districts, but not Lexington One, considered one of the best school districts in the midlands. But, teachers in all districts are upset by a system that many believe is top heavy with well-paid administrators, while teachers in the trenches are scraping by as they deal with class sizes, of sometimes more than 30 students for every one teacher.
We must be more aggressive about accountability and cutting waste. In turn, I’d like to see the money saved by streamlining the system make its way to the teachers and in turn, the students.
I’ve also heard valid concerns about how expensive standardized tests are and how much they hamper a teachers ability to teach students real concepts. If cutting the number of standardized tests our children take saves money and could in turn free up more learning time, we have an obligation to our children to investigate that avenue, not simply live with the status quo.
I also believe strongly we should take what is working well in some schools and expand those programs and lessons across the rest of the system.
Finally, teachers tell me they feel that legislative leaders haven’t a clue how the school system operates on a day-to-day basis. If elected I will spend time listening to what teachers have to say in order to make meaningful change in such an area of such importance to our state.
What do you think about South Carolina’s job creation strategy and what do you think should be done to bring more jobs to the state and improve our economy?
Small businesses are the backbone of our state so they deserve tax relief by returning excess funds to them. This year, our state discovered a surplus of over a billion dollars after the initial drafting of the budget. The question is whether to spend it, or return it. I believe we should return it.
I also believe we should work to implement a real spending cap in our state and make sure surplus money is returned to SC businesses and taxpayers. In addition, the taxpayers I have spoken with are tired of inaction. They want to see someone with bold leadership make real progress towards creating a dialogue with employers in an effort to inspire more economic development in the district. I think this will be begin with listening to the needs and desires of some of the wonderful companies that already call District 18 home. From to Kraft and Caterpillar, to mom and pop operated businesses.
Who wouldn’t want to live in District 18, which offers Lake Murray, access to major interstates and some of the best schools in the Midlands? An area which has taxes that are lower than what many other areas offer. Let’s scream what our district has to offer from the rooftops, through marketing efforts and by being relentless in our pursuits to bring new business into the area.
Let’s also make sure we let new business know that District 18 has the flexibility to offer them an educated workforce.
Gov. Nikki Haley is fond of giving out grades to lawmakers. How would you assess her job so far in her first term as governor?
I’m not fond of the idea of grading lawmakers or the Governor. Instead, I prefer to look at where our state stands as a whole. As I stated, I am for complete transparency and true accountability in government. I believe that this administration has fallen short on it’s promise to offer complete transparency.
Are there any other comments you'd like to make, or would you like to discuss something not raised in our questions?