In 2008, I ran unsuccessfully against Robert Ford in the Democratic primary for State Senate District 42. This year when Ford resigned his seat in the midst of an ethics investigation, I chose not to run for the open seat due to obligations with my law practice. Despite not running, I have watched with interest as the list of filed candidates grew to include several candidates whom I know personally, admire, and respect.
While the easy thing to do would have been to sit on the sidelines and not endorse any candidate, I strongly believe that this election represents an excellent opportunity to move the district forward in a positive way. For that reason and the reasons below, I am supporting Marlon Kimpson for State District 42.
I am fortunate to say that I have a personal connection with almost every candidate in the field. I attended the same church as Herbert Fielding Jr. and served on a board with him. I worked for Maurice Washington during his tenure as chairman of the board for S.C. State University. Emmanuel Ferguson shadowed me as a teenager when he first became interested in the practice of law. Each of these men are fine gentlemen and would make excellent state senators. (I do not know Margaret Rush, have never met her, and cannot say anything positive or negative about her qualifications or experience to be a legislator.)
Although I respect and have confidence in the ability of the individuals whom I know to do the job, I have a personal connection and respect for Marlon Kimpson's ability that leads me to believe he would be an outstanding state senator and representative for the citizens of District 42.
Marlon and I worked together representing Stratford High students whose rights were violated in a school drug raid several years back. His tenacity and compassion during that federal case helped lead to a substantial settlement out of court for those victims. Additionally, our firms worked together on behalf of the widows and families of the Charleston Nine firefighters who lost their lives in the tragic Sofa Super Store fire. Again, I witnessed his hard work and diligence as it resulted in the resolution of several wrongful death claims for the families' benefit.
Aside from his professionalism and abilities as a lawyer, I have seen Marlon dedicate time and effort to charitable causes such as the Carolina Youth Development Center (CYDC) and the NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet. In each instance, his generosity was only exceeded by his genuine concern for the noteworthy cause involved. I also consider Marlon a close personal friend and colleague, whom I have known for several years. When he asked me for my support and insight as a former candidate, a humble gesture which I greatly appreciated, I gave it without hesitation or qualification.
My endorsement of Marlon is not a slight against the candidacy or impressive family legacy of Mr. Fielding whom I admire and respect. Nor is it a criticism of Mr. Washington who, like me, has shown the ability to work with Republicans and Democrats alike. I will continue to hold both men in high regard, regardless of how this election unfolds. But my conscience requires me to actively speak out in favor of a leader whom I believe is in the mold of Steve Benjamin (the mayor of Columbia) and Todd Rutherford (minority leader of the S.C. House). The people of Charleston deserve such a dynamic representative, and I am honored to support his candidacy for Senate District 42.
A primary for the Senate District seat 42 will take place on Aug. 13, 2013, with a special election on Oct. 1, 2013.
Correction: The original story misstated Emmanuel Ferguson's name.