Willis throws her hat in the ring for 2018 Governor race

Marguerite Willis stands beside the sign that landed her on the front page of the New York Times after the 2016 Democratic National Convention.


By Melissa Rollins, Editor,editor@newsandpress.net

On February 1, from the front steps of her house in Florence, attorney Marguerite Willis announced that she is running for Governor of South Carolina.

In the June 12 Democratic primary, Willis will face businessman Phil Noble and state representative James Smith.
During her announcement, Willis said that South Carolina is at a point in history where some hard decisions need to be made.

“It seems to me that our state is at a crossroads,” Willis said. “We have a lot of issues that we need to deal with. Some of them are new and some of them are same old, same old. For a long time I’ve been thinking about ‘What can I do about this?’ And more recently, as many people here know, I’ve been thinking ‘What should I do about this?’ That is why we are here today; I’ve made up my mind.”

Willis said that her desire is to do something for the people and the state that helped shape her into who she is today.

“I’m not a politician, I’ve never run for office, but I know this: this is a great state,” Willis said. “This state has given me much and it is time for me to give something back. If I know one thing, I know this: our days are numbered on this earth. But every day that we have, we get to make the choice of how we invest our time. Today, I am here to tell you that I have decided to invest my time in the great state of South Carolina.”

Though some may question entering the race as a relative unknown with numerous, more prominent, candidates having already announced their candidacy on both sides of the aisle, Willis said that her outsider voice is something currently lacking.

“So why now, ” Willis said. “Time’s up. Time is up for sexism and racism and all kinds of hateful conduct. It is time for equal rights and equal pay and not just for women, but for everyone who does the same job. If you’re like me and you’re tired of politicians that lie to you, if you’re tired of politicians that cheat you…I’m your gal.”

As an antitrust lawyer with Nexsen Pruet, Willis said that she understands how to hold people accountable for their promises and their actions.

“I have dealt with the biggest and toughest issues that businesses have to offer,” Willis said. “I know what it takes to run a business and I know what it takes to correct mistakes businesses have made. I bring to this race, I bring to this state, real world experience in solving the biggest, most complex business problems that we have and we have a world of businesses problems to solve.”

One hot button issue that Willis brought up during her announcement was medical marijuana.

“Everyone basically agrees that we should have medical marijuana in this state,” Willis said. “The medical evidence is clear. It is a helpful palliative drug. Many states (have it) but we don’t. I support medical marijuana because it is the right thing to do for the sick people of this state. You know what else? It could raise us as much as $300 or $400 million dollars of extra revenues. Do you think we could fund a teacher pay increase with that money, maybe? So maybe that is a good idea. It is an idea that others are not advancing and that is why I say I am a creative problem solver. I look at different ways to solve the same problem.”

Another issue Willis addressed is the rising costs of healthcare.

“Healthcare is a huge expenditure for this state and a lot of this money comes from the federal government,” Willis said. “We need to have access to more money; we need more Medicaid money because we have folks in this state who need healthcare. They aren’t people sitting around not doing anything. These are people who are working full-time who are just struggling to make ends meet.”

Willis said that President Trump is threatening the programs to help those who need it most.

“President Trump routinely gets on tv…and says that we’re going to cut entitlement programs,” Willis said. “You know what he means by that, don’t you? Food for poor people, healthcare for poor people. Well if you’re listening President Trump, I paid those taxes and I’m entitled to that money, so give it to us.”

Willis is married to Frank Willis, who was the mayor of Florence from 1994 to 2008 and is currently the Executive Director for the Darlington County Economic Development Partnership.


Author: mrollins

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