Judd Larkins – South Carolina US House 2nd District
Tell us a little bit about your yourself and your background.
I am a South Carolina native who holds an undergrad degree in Language and International Trade from Clemson University and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Cambridge. I have over a decade of experience in project negation and supply chain management for a family Electrical Subcontracting firm. I have started over 4 businesses that include a donut shop and grocery stores that focused on providing quality and affordable groceries to underserved communities. I have been married for almost 10 years to my wife, Leslie, and we currently live in Columbia, SC with our 2 Fur babies.
Why are you running for Office?
I am running to be the change that I have long waited for. I was sick and tired of waiting on the incumbent of 20 years or for someone new to be elected to be the Representative that we deserve in this district. I wanted a Representative that showed leadership at home and in Congress and one who always worked to better the lives of those who sent him to serve. I possess these traits and decided that it was time that I become the change that so many wanted rather than waiting on someone else to fill the void. I’ve shown leadership in the community when tragedy strikes, I’ve been that calm and guiding hand during the chaos of opening a business. I know how to be a leader and I wanted to bring that leadership to serve my neighbors. Why wait on others to help provide a better life for my district when I know I have that heart and the fight to make it happen.
What are the 3 biggest issues facing your community?
Economic Development in Rural areas, access to education, and equitable housing access.
How do you propose to solve those problems?
Economic development and access to education start with a renewed focus on listening to the concerns of those communities and then guiding the needed resources to those areas. My district lacks access to broadband in rural areas. You cannot attract businesses without it. Children cannot attend school without it. So, ensuring the funds are in place is one of the first steps. Also, ensuring other infrastructure funds are available, such as for water and sewer extensions and roads capable of handling sufficient traffic. My community is not unique in these needs and while the Bi-partisan Infrastructure plan is a start, it is not the final bill needed to lift these communities. Removing barriers to economic participation is also a must. That includes signing into law bills that offer paid time off, childcare and family leave. Equitable housing access in rural areas is often forgotten. We must ensure Housing Trust Funds in Rural areas exist and are well funded. We must increase funds to maintain existing housing stock and ease supply chain woes so that new housing can come to market sooner. No one should be paying over 30% of their income for housing and no one should be denied housing based on their past.
What is your stance on environmental and climate concerns that are facing your community?
Climate change is already having a negative impact on my community. Farms are struggling with temperature variations and unseasonable frosts. We must set out a road map to wean off fossil fuels within 2 decades. That can only be possible with funding for Clean Energy research and development. We cannot wait on the private sector to fill this need. My community has also been plagued with toxic runoff from the Savannah River Site. Full transparency, and an actionable plan to right this wrong must be in place. Those most affected are often the ones most vulnerable and without resources.
What common sense gun safety measures would have the most impact on your community?
We must rid the streets of Ghost Guns. They are becoming more prevalent by the day. We are losing young men and women to gun violence at alarming rates. Also, closing the “Boyfriend” loophole would help protect those most vulnerable. South Carolina has a history of above average levels of Domestic Violence, and we must ensure that lives are not unnecessarily lost due to inaction in Congress. Enhanced background checks are a must and could have prevented the tragedy at Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston.
How would criminal justice reforms impact your community?
Criminal Justice reforms would help right the wrongs of the past. Too many in my community are disenfranchised due to non-violent drug offenses or the misuse of mandatory minimums. We must decriminalize Marijuana at the Federal level and expunge nonviolent offenses. Too many lives have been ruined at a young age due to overenforcement in Black and Brown areas of town.
How would you work to protect a woman’s reproductive health?
I would work to codify Roe V Wade. We must ensure access to safe abortions for those who choose to obtain one. I believe we also must work to make contraceptives and menstrual products more readily available and affordable.
What measures would you advocate for to ensure that your constituents have the right to vote?
We must pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and form an independent redistricting commission so that outcomes of races are not predetermined by politicians seeking personal benefit from maps.
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