With the June 12 primary less than a week away, Patch will be profiling candidates on the ballot for St. Andrews and Irmo voters.
Today, we'll take a look at Richland County Councilman Norman Jackson, one of two Democratic candidates for state Senate District 20. If Jackson wins the primary he'll face Republican incumbent Sen. John Courson in the November general election.
If you want to meet the candidates in person before the primary, head to .
Name: Norman Jackson
Occupation: engineer, transportation planner
Prior political experience: Richland County planning commissioner, member of Richland County Council for six years
Family: married, one son
Education: University of Technology in Jamaica, Development Training Institute in Baltimore , Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, Midlands Technical College
Why are you running?
After my experience with Richland County Council and the changes I’ve brought to the table, I see there’s a need for changes in our state government. We’ve been experiencing a need to change education for years, and it just hasn’t happened. There’s an attack on women - on women’s rights. Number two, there’s an attack on state government employees. The retirement funds have dwindled. They’ve made a statement that they’ll have government employees work until they can’t work anymore or die so that they don’t have to use their retirement funds. That’s unacceptable. That idea or the mindset of how they think show that the people who represent us do not care about the quality of life of the people they represent. I know I can make a difference. I have to try and help and improve the system.
What are you going to do to improve South Carolina’s education system?
First of all, there’s enough money available to improve education. The main way we can improve education is to provide livable paying wages so that people don’t have to work 20 jobs. Then they can be home in the evenings to help their children do homework and to supervise their children. We have enough money for education, but for the past 20 years it has not been working. You have to understand people. You’ve heard about the working class. These parents can’t be home to supervise their kids. They fall into the hands of the wrong influence, and then we’re fighting gangs and drugs.
What do you think about South Carolina’s job creation strategy and what do you think should be done to bring more jobs to the state?
I’m running for District 20 which is in the Midlands - Richland and Lexington counties. The Upstate has BMW. The Lowstate has Boeing and Southwest Airlines. The Midlands really hasn’t got anything. I think that’s a lack of poor planning by our state representatives. I don’t think they understand the process. You need the necessary infrastructure to bring the jobs here. As a former transportation planner, I understand that you have to have the proper infrastructure, meaning proper railways, water system supply, to attract these companies to the Midlands. It’s great to bring jobs to the state, but when you represent a certain district, the constituents expect you to also bring jobs to their area, their community.
Have you heard any repeated concerns from residents in the St. Andrews and Irmo area?
Most of the concerns I’ve heard are about education, bringing jobs to the area and crime.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
The decision I made to run for Senate is a decision I thought of and offered myself to help improve the life of the citizens of District 20 and the state of South Carolina. I was not recruited by anyone. I do not answer to the “good ol’ boy” system. I report and answer to the citizens I represent. That is very critical that I was not recruited by anyone or any group. People who are recruited by a group or a person have to answer to that group or person. They are not truly representing the people.