By Matt Kisner
Chairman, Richland County Democratic Party
The Charleston County Democratic Party, Greenville County Democratic Party, and Richland County Democratic Party invite you to the Statehouse in January 2020 to make your voice heard.
The three county parties are partnering to host a Lobbying Day on January 28.
Lobbying Day has two objectives: To develop productive relationships with elected officials and to advocate for our legislative priorities.
We will assemble at 10 a.m. in the Blatt Building, Rm. 321. Attendees will get a briefing on how to contact their elected officials, how to communicate most effectively, and specifically on the legislative priorities that are being targeted.
Lobbying will conclude around 1 p.m. with a group photo on the State House grounds. A reception will be held in the evening from 6 to 8 pm at 701 Whaley, an event space in a historic building near downtown Columbia.
Democrats assemble on the Statehouse grounds before meeting in groups with their representatives and senators. It wraps up with an cocktail reception in the evening, when participants will have an opportunity to mix and mingle with Democratic legislators over appetizers and drinks.
Lobbying Days are a common practice among advocacy groups in South Carolina, such as Moms Demand Action, Conservation Voters South Carolina, and the Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network. These events provide advocates with an opportunity to build relationships with legislators.
As chairman of the Richland County Democratic Party, I explain how important these kinds of relationships are to the party this way: “I get frustrated when people say that the point of the party is electing Democrats. Electing Democrats is only the first step in realizing our goal: To advance the Democratic agenda and Democratic priorities. For that we need to partner with our legislators and support their work.” Register here.
For the coming legislative session, lobbying efforts will be directed at three legislative priorities.
The first is to fully fund education, as required by the Education Finance Act. This follows up on the historic lobbying efforts of educators last year. Now that we have a budget surplus in South Carolina, we cannot forget the engine that drives our workforce, our schools, which have been neglected for so long.
The second is to end gerrymandering by supporting House Bill 3054 and its companion
Senate Bill 230. These bills would ensure that legislators cannot draw district lines with the aim
of protecting incumbents or making districts safe for one party. This bill aligns with the core
Democratic value of empowering and protecting voters. This year is the last chance for such
legislation before district lines are drawn again following the 2020 Census.
The third is to create state legal penalties for hate crimes. This is particularly important as
there has been a rise in hate crimes against our communities of color and Jewish neighbors. Lobbying Day is your opportunity to tell legislators about the importance of these priorities.