John Ward- South Carolina – State House District 58
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
I was born and raised in Aynor, SC. My father was a magistrate in Aynor for 32 years and my mother spent many years operating a children’s daycare in her home and worked for the Horry County School District as a special aide to children for several years while she continued to be a foster mother for more than 30 years. Also, she served on the Horry County Foster Parent Advisory Board to be the voice of children in need. I have a sister that is a teacher at Aynor Middle School, another sister that is a nurse and a brother that is a police officer for the Horry County Police Department. I graduated from Aynor High School in 2011. I married my wife Jessica in 2014 and we have 4 children together. I’m a former correctional officer for the Horry County Sheriff’s Office and my wife is currently a correctional officer for the Horry County Sheriff’s Office. Currently I’m a security officer for Prudential Security, where I’m a corporal. I’m currently attending CTU online working on getting my associates degree in business, I graduate in October of this year.
Why are you running?
I’ve been around public service my entire life. I have a passion for public service and want to help others. That’s why I went into law enforcement, I want to positively impact people’s lives. There’s a quote by Woodrow Wilson that can sum up why I’m running for office, “There is no higher religion than human service. To work for the common good is the greatest creed.” and one by Robert Kennedy “Some men see things as they are, and say why. I dream of things that never were, and say why not.” I truly believe we have to work to leave this world a better place than we found it. We owe it to future generations, I want my 4 children to live in a better world.
What are the 3 biggest issues facing your community?
In Horry County there is no shortage of issues. We have a shortage of law enforcement officers from road officers to correctional officers. We have crumbling infrastructure and we need to pay our teachers more. Education is important for being in new businesses and combating poverty. Education is the key to success and ladder out of poverty. We have to do more for the areas impacted by flooding. We need to expand Medicaid.
How do you propose to solve those problems?
We have to do more for law enforcement, these brave men and women put their lives on the line so we can sleep easy. They go to work everyday not knowing if they will go home to their own family. We have a shortage of officers, officers are leaving for other jobs. We need to pay them more money and have their backs the way they have ours. Also, we have to repair our roads and bridges in this county. Our roads are in disarray and no company is going to want to relocate or operate here if the roads are in ruin. We have to properly fund and repair our roads. Our education system needs to reformed, SC ranks at the bottom in the nation. We have to pay our teachers more, they are responsible for shaping and guiding our future. We need to make other important reforms to our education system as well. Flooding in recent years has been impacting Horry County, and improving infrastructure, zoning laws and combating climate change is a step in the right direction. We need to expand Medicaid for everyone. Nobody should have to worry about getting sick and not having insurance, healthcare should be a right.
What is your stance on environmental and climate concerns that are facing your community?
We only have one planet and need to do more for future generations. We have to act now and cannot wait. We have increased flooding in Horry County, SC is impacted every year by hurricanes and floods. We need to do more to combat climate change and invest in renewable energy.
What commonsense gun safety measures would have the most impact on your community?
I live in a area that strongly supports the 2nd amendment. I support the 2nd amendment and the right for law abiding citizens to lawful own and carry fire arms. I don’t believe criminals or mental ill people should have guns but we cannot punish law abiding citizens. Criminals will always find ways to get guns no matter what laws we pass, passing laws and restricting everyone’s rights isn’t the answer. Focusing on mental health is the the real answer. I’ve worked in corrections and know first hand the mental health crisis in this state. I don’t support over bearing government restrictions on guns. People should be properly trained and educated on using guns but nobody should have their rights taking away without due process.
How would criminal justice reforms impact your community?
I support and back the police, law enforcement is the backbone of safety in our communities. They put their lives on the line for us, and we need to have their six. Yea, there are some bad people but most are good honorable men and women. We cannot let the actions of a few shape our view of all, that’s narrow minded. They need more funding and training. We have to increase funding for law enforcement and make sure they have the best training and equipment. The way to combat the crime in the area is making sure we have police out there patrolling. We need to build more trust between law enforcement and the communities most affected by crime.
How would you work to protect a woman’s reproductive health?
I support a woman’s right to choice. This is a deeply personal decision and should be between a woman and her doctor. There should be a time limit on when to get an abortion, there shouldn’t be any late term abortions. We need support women’s reproductive health and make sure there is access to birth control and proper education on the matter.
What measures would you advocate to ensure that your constituents have the right to vote?
Everyone should have the right to vote and we need to do more to make sure everyone has the right to vote. We need to make sure that Republican attacks on voters rights stops. Republicans are attacking people’s right to vote and making their own districts. We need to fight against discriminatory voter ID laws, fight attacks on voter registration, fight unjust voter purges, fight against the attempts to limit access to early and mail in voting.
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