By Elias ‘Eli’ Valentin
The South Carolina Democratic Party held the 2021 Convention between May 19 and May 22. During the biannual meeting of the Party, we added planks to our platform, amended Rules to our State Bylaws, and elected the Leadership of our State Party. This crucial gathering of Democrats from all across the Palmetto State is usually in-person, however, due to concerns related to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Convention took place virtually. Dr. Jermaine Johnson served as the Convention Chair. Dr. Johnson is an effective, visionary leader serving his community and building confidence in others to pursue their dreams. He was an excellent choice to lead us through the business of Convention and is an inspiring name we should all become familiar with.
Here are some of the biggest takeaways from the weekend.
Platform and Resolutions Committee: Minimum Wage
Whereas, the state of South Carolina does not have a state minimum wage and is one of a few states that does not, and the Democratic National Platform is calling for a minimum wage of $15.00 an hour, South Carolina should now adopt a state minimum wage.
Therefore, be it resolved that the state of South Carolina needs a state minimum wage of $15.00 an hour to be enacted quickly to help hourly workers in the state survive better economically.
South Carolina Democrats believe the state should establish a minimum wage of $15.00 statewide to support economic mobility increase capital for workers in the state.
Trav Robertson was re-elected for a third term as the chairman of the SCDP in a convincing win over challenger Johnnie Cordero. Trav will continue to lead the Party, being our liaison to the DNC. He selects the Executive Director of the SCDP, who manages the staff and operations of the SCDP. As chair, he must raise funds, recruit candidates, build infrastructure, and establish effective messaging, all with the end goal of electing more Democrats.
All of the vice-chairs ran unopposed and Lessie Price was re-elected for a third term as the 1st vice chair of the SCDP. Lessie is involved with the DNC as a SCDP representative, takes lead on major events and fundraising, and mangages political connections and relationships throughout the State.
This position must be between a different gender than the Chair.
Dr. Anthony Thompson was re-elected for a third term as the 2nd vice chair of the SCDP. Dr. Thompson is the Caucus Director, overseeing and shepherding 16 organizations, and is vital in the planning and execution of the Clyburn Fellowship. This position must be of a different race than the Chair.
Jalen Elrod was elected for his first term as the 3rd vice chair of the SCDP. An Upstate native and 2018 graduate of the Clyburn Fellowship, Jalen served as 1st vice chair of the GCDP from 2018-2020 and led the Young Democrats before that. This position must be between the ages of 18 – 35.
Two rules were proposed and accepted at the convention that change our current party bylaws. In addition, traditional business such as naming the convention chair, format of the convention (remotely), date of state party elections, and the time frame available for delegates to cast their votes were also approved at the meeting.
Caucus reorganization meetings were a significant part of Convention Week. The SCDP has active groups working to bring coalitions together across the state to further interests and issues as well as steer policy that will bring Democratic change to our state. Stay tuned over the next couple weeks as we roll out some of the amazing leaders and Caucuses we have, but also the crop of new leaders who are stepping up to make sure we go blue in ‘22.