Hey hey, South Carolinians! Depending on the district you live in, you either have quite a few candidates to choose from or just a couple. Their views on the environment and sustainability are just as varied. To learn more about Sustainable Politician Project, read our full intro here.
Voting in South Carolina
The primary in South Carolina is open, so you can vote in either party’s primary. It doesn’t matter if you’re registered in one party (i.e. If you’re a registered Republican, you can still vote in the Democratic primary). The winner of the primary is based on who receives the majority votes. If no candidate gets the majority, there will be a runoff election on June 26, 2018.
Things on the ballot: U.S. House, governor, other state executives, local judges, State House, special state legislative, school boards, and ballot measures.
U.S. House of Representatives
Find your district here.
Our pick: Joe Cunningham
- Worked and studied ocean engineering
- Co-owner of a yoga studio, Soul Yoga + Fitness
- Believes in climate change (the minimum requirement here)
Joe Cunningham’s love of nature led him to study ocean engineering in college and working on a number of marina and coastline construction projects, and all this helped form his views on the environment that he plans to turn into laws to help South Carolina. He believes that climate change is the “greatest non-military threat to our nation” and considering in your state is on the coast, protecting the environment is especially important. Because South Carolina will be impacted by the effects of climate change, Cunningham believes in investing in clean energy. He thinks this will also help with job growth and work to eventually eliminate less-clean energy resources (aka drilling off the coast for oil). He states he wants to focus on solar and wind energy to make the economy greener and help keep natural resources for a little while longer.
Other District 1 Candidates:
- Toby Smith (D) – Sees racial inequality in climate change and environmental racism and want to help fix it.
- Mark Sanford (R) – (Campaign Site) – Incumbent – Helped fund the Conservation Land Bank, opposes offshore drilling, and supports renewable energy investments.
- Katie Arrington (R) – Voted yes on HB 3529 to prohibit local governments from regulating the use of plastic bags or other auxiliary containers by retail or food establishments.
- Dimitri Cherny (R) – Believes in climate change and proposes to move everything below or at sea level to higher ground, wants a completely carbon-free economy, and wants to start colonizing other planets (you do you, Dimitri).
Our pick: Annabelle Robertson
- Civil rights attorney
- Supports government funding for the development of renewable energy and federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions
Annabelle believes that Congress has allowed corporations and their interests jeopardize our ability to have clean air, water, and land (just the things we need to survive. No biggie.). She states that “100 corporations are responsible for the extraction, marketing, and burning of 71% of the fossil fuels on our planet,” causing the temperature of our planet to keep rising and cause more natural disasters. Annabelle Robertson has a pretty comprehensive plan for how she is going to help improve the environment. She proposes that the country transition to a low-carbon economy. It will help create jobs and allow our economy to grow on a more sustainable energy source (as well as keep people healthier).
She points out a bunch of specific legislation to make this all happen:
- The Keeping It in the Ground Act of 2015 proposes to keep more than 90% of potential carbon emission underground, This act would also protect public lands/parks from oil and gas extraction.
- The Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act (S. 2204) would eliminate $2.4 billion in tax breaks for the five biggest fossil fuel companies. (Let’s do this, please!)
- The End Polluter Welfare Act (S. 1041) would eliminate $11.4 billion in annual tax breaks for polluters.
- The 100 By 50 Act (S. 987) would create a mandate for having only renewable energy and clean transportation by 2050. This would include a zero emission vehicle standard.
- Restoring and strengthening The Clean Power Plan would fully fund the EPA so they can regulate greenhouse gas emissions and help states create similar plans to do the same
- Tax carbon and methane pollution by at least $35 per ton of carbon (plus annual increases) would provide income to invest in clean energy, clean transportation, and energy efficiency.
Robertson also proposes promoting community-owned energy in low-income communities, helping close the racial wealth gap. Additionally, she wants to encourage rebuilding responsibly after natural disasters as well as increasing funding for disaster preparedness and make the communities most impacted by climate disasters a priority. Robertson also wants to invest in climate risk screening, so we are not building new structures in areas that may be easily destroyed or with non-sustainable materials.
Other District 2 Candidates:
- Phil Black (D) – Believes the country must look outside of carbon-based fuels, and plans to “reduce the country’s dependency on oil, encourage research and development of renewable energy course, and encourage corporations to invest in natural gas and oil exploration” (source).
Sean Carrigan (D) – Wants to work towards incorporating solar and wind energy, high-speed rail, and other green technologies while rebuilding infrastructure.
Joe Wilson (R) – Incumbent – Doesn’t believe that human activity is contributing to climate change and opposes the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. He also voted yes to start rebuilding the facility at Yucca mountain to store radioactive nuclear waste and to exempt power plants that convert coal to energy from EPA regulations.
- Sonny Narang (American Party)
Our pick: Mary Geren
- English instructor at Tri-County Technical County
- Believe in global warming (You go, Mary!)
Mary Geren believes that not working to fight against climate change through clean energy initiatives means putting out civilization in danger. On her website, she states that “the fact that these fundamental rights [clean air to breath and clean water to drink] are even questioned” infuriates her. She would stand up for these rights.
She also believes in protecting the coast of South Carolina from offshore drilling. She states she has not, and will not, take money from the oil and gas industry and that she will fight to protect the coast.
Other District 3 Candidates:
- Hosea Cleveland (D)
- Jeff Duncan (R) – Incumbent – Voted to start rebuilding the facility at Yucca Mountain to store radioactive nuclear waste and voted to exempt power plants that convert coal to energy from EPA regulation. He also supports oil exploration and production in the Gulf Coast, Alaska, the West, and through Canada (through the Keystone XL pipeline). UGH! However, interested in wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal energy as well.
- Dave Moore (American Party)
Our pick: Eric Graben
- Supports America rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement
Eric Graben has a pretty fully fleshed out plan on how he wants the country to become more sustainable and help the environment. Along with acknowledging climate change is real and that it is caused by humans (you go, Eric!), he would support ending tax subsidies for large oil companies and oppose the expansion of offshore drilling. He also states that he would oppose any effort that would try to undermine the EPA (*ahem* Scott Pruitt) and any rollback of the Clean Power Plan.
He believes we need to promote electric cars as well as keep up the strong car emission standards that are already in place. He also wants to make sure all national parks and wildlife are kept secured and free from anyone trying to harm or destroy them. Graben also supports the Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. (The fact that we need all these acts is just sad.)
Other District 4 Candidates:
- Brandon Brown (D)
- J.T. Davis (D) – Supports government funding for the development of renewable resources and continued research on climate change. He believes the United States can lead the world in creating technology and innovations to help battle the consequences.
- Will Morin (D) – Supports 100% clean & renewable energy by 2050 and opposes offshore drilling in South Carolina. He believes in prioritizing environmental justice to ensure the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy is equal.
- Doris Lee Turner (D) – Supports green energy solutions.
- Dan Albert (R) – Wants to “liberate the coal, oil, and natural gas industries.” Aka get rid of the regulations in place to protect us. Says, “It’s time for the gloves to come off, to tell environmentalist liberals to go take a hike, and get back to business…” and, “Generating power by huge windmills that are very expensive, unsightly and rarely seem to be turning makes no sense.” He also wants to discount CO2 as a pollutant because its regulation under the Clean Air Act is bad for the economy. (But unregulated CO2 isn’t bad for public and environmental health?) Believes ending public education will help the environment. (We are not joking, this in on his website!)
- Lee Bright (R)
- Stephen Brown (R)
- Mark Burns (R)
- James Epley (R)
- Dan Hamilton (R)
- Josh Kimbrell (R)
- John Marshall Mosser (R)
- Shannon Pierce (R)
- Justin David Sanders (R)
- Claude Schmid (R)
- William Timmons (R) – Supports government funding for the development of renewable resources
- Guy Furay (American Party)
Our pick: Steve Lough
- Former professional clown
Supports government funding for the development of renewable energy resources
Steve Lough wants to plan a transition from fossil fuels to solar, wind and geothermal energy as soon as possible, stating climate change is a “national security issue” and needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later. He also supports strict regulations on fracking. He wants to give the EPA to set regulation from corporations trying to destroy the environment and to “protect future generations.”
Other District 5 Candidates:
- Mark Ali (D) – Believes South Carolinians should be given a rebate for money they contributed to the failed VC Summer Nuclear Power Plant. He also opposes offshore drilling and wants to expand renewable energy development.
- Sidney Moore (D)
- Archie Parnell (D)
- Ralph Norman (R) – Incumbent – Wants to loosen regulation on logging in federal lands (cut down more trees) and supports increased development of coal, natural gas, and oil energy. However, he does believe in strengthening emission and fuel efficiency standards on all cars, trucks, and SUVs. Unfortunately, he also wants the US to explore for oil in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge and voted for reopening the Yucca Mountain facility to store radioactive nuclear waste.
Our pick: James Clyburn
- Incumbent since 1992
James Clyburn has a long voting record of protecting the environment. He voted no on both the SENSE Act and the BRICK Act, making power plants comply with EPA standards and making the date when brickmakers and residential wood makers have to comply with EPA standards sooner. He did, unfortunately, vote for nuclear waste being stored at the Yucca Mountain facility.
Clyburn also wants to bring good paying jobs in nuclear, biofuels, wind, and other alternative energy to make the country independent to South Carolina. He thinks it would make the US more energy independent as well as create jobs that may not be produced elsewhere. Additionally, Clyburn wants to bring clean water to South Carolina with help from the Lake Marion Regional Water Agency.
Other District 6 Candidates:
- Gerhard Gressmann (R)
- Bryan Pugh (Green Party) – Supports legislation for 100% clean renewable energy for the entire country, increased funding for renewable energy research, and environmental clean-up project to help repair the damage climate change has already done.
Our pick: Mal Hyman
- Professor of Sociology and Political Science
- Supports government funding for the development of renewable energy and the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions
Mal Hyman states that his foremost goal is to prevent offshore drilling and seismic testing off and along America’s coastlines. He believes South Carolina’s “atmosphere, beaches, and tens of thousands of jobs” are at risk due to drilling offshore for oil. He also supports investing in sustainable energy, banning fracking, and studying further the effects of climate change. He believes investing in alternative energy will create millions of jobs. Hyman fully supports clean air and clean water for everyone and believes keeping them that way is imperative especially for future generations.
Other District 7 Candidates:
- Bruce Fischer (D) – Supports government funding for the development of renewable energy and the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. He also opposes offshore drilling.
- Bill Hopkins (D) – Opposes offshore drilling off the coast of South Carolina.
- Robert Williams (D) – Voted to expand solar energy in South Carolina and voted yes to a bill that would prohibit local governments from regulating the use of plastic bag/containers by retail/food establishments.
- Tom Rice (R) – Incumbent – Voted yes to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain
- Larry Guy Hammond (R) – Supports government funding for the development of renewable energy but doesn’t support federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.
- Dick Withington (Libertarian)