Matt Vilardebo- South Carolina State House 26th District
Tell us a little bit about your yourself and your background.
I’m a husband and father of 2. I am an engineering program manager by trade and a lifelong Democrat of nearly 30 years. I do have experience running for public office as I made an unsuccessful attempt at Fort Mill Town Council last year. I have recently made a name for myself as an advocate for Parkinson’s Disease awareness for which I have received significant national and local media attention.
Why are you running for Office?
In my role as an engineer and program manager I’ve built a reputation as being the guy multi-billion dollar companies (Kraft Foods, Mosaic Co, Duke Energy, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, & US Department of Defense) call to come fix things to improve productivity. I’m going to take that expertise and that drive to fix things and make things better with me to Columbia and fix our broken government!
What are the 3 biggest issues facing your community?
The New Indy Paper Mill, public education, and infrastructure improvements.
How do you propose to solve those problems?
The New Indy Paper Mill impacts so many aspects of our lives in Fort Mill. The pollutants being released into the air have negatively impacted home sales, our quality of life, and our health. As a former employee at that facility I have intimate knowledge of the inner workings of that plant, intimate knowledge that no other candidate regardless of party affiliation has in this state. It is a foregone conclusion that that plant is going to be a super fund site once it is shuttered. I would work with the local Department of Health and environmental protection to pressure New Indy into shuttering that plant that is only running at a quarter capacity. Then we can begin the super fund cleanup process.
As far as education goes the solution seems simpler than actually getting there and that is voting out the incumbents. My wife has been a public school teacher for approximately two decades, we are a public school family and as such I will ardently defend public education and seek to undo all the legislation that was passed this year attacking public schools and our educators.
Lastly in my role as a member of the House I would actively bring tax dollars back to Fort Mill in the form of improvements to our roads sidewalks and the addition of needed school crossing signals and bike lanes.
What is your stance on environmental and climate concerns that are facing your community?
I just answered this one previously. But just to revisit, our community is being negatively impacted by pollutants being released into the air from the New Indy Paper Mill.
What common sense gun safety measures would have the most impact on your community?
We’ve heard a lot of talk recently about ghost guns and clearly that is something that needs to be addressed and taken off the streets. I also feel that we need to ensure our background checks are sufficient and thorough.
How would criminal justice reforms impact your community?
Crime is not much of a problem here in Fort Mill. But at a statewide level I am disgusted to see that we are about to bring back the firing squad in this state.
How would you work to protect a woman’s reproductive health?
I am currently working to secure the endorsement of Planned Parenthood. I am 100% in support of a woman’s right to choose and keeping the government from interfering with a woman’s relationship with her doctor.
What measures would you advocate for to ensure that your constituents have the right to vote?
We must ensure that the John Lewis Voting Rights Act is passed! South Carolina is taking steps to restrict voters rights so passing this important piece of federal legislation should be a paramount concern for everyone looking to protect the person’s right to vote.
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