Sen. Ronnie Sabb, serving as State Senator for District 32 since 2014, has three Democratic party challengers in this June’s primary. The winner of the June 9, race will then face the only Republican challenger, David Ellison of Georgetown County, for the seat in the general election on Nov. 3. District 32 serves parts of Berkeley, Florence, Georgetown, Horry and Williamsburg counties.
Sabb’s legislative highlights include the passage of the Roads Bill, the largest infrastructure investment in the state’s history. He was also successful in crafting four-year-old kindergarten and free technical college to qualifying students with the first pilot program launching at Williamsburg Technical College. The program has since expanded to 16 counties. Even with that behind him, Sabb is not finished. “There’s still work left undone,” said Sabb. He said he’s challenged the senate to follow Tennessee who offers Technical College for everyone. “South Carolina is capable of doing the same thing.” He cited the continued growth in the state which will ultimately lead to the need of qualified workers to fill the positions. “If our technical colleges are able to provide that workforce, why in the world would we allow a financial impediment to prevent us from being able to fill that workforce?” Sabb said the program is a win for students who otherwise would not have gone to technical college. He also said the program is a stop-gap measure, siting most of kids qualify for grants and tuition and industry’s financial participation.
Sabb continues to focus on other generational opportunities such as the new state-of-the-art hospital that he fought hard to see complete. He worked with both Lake City and Williamsburg Regional hospital boards and representatives to make it work. “I hope people will give me an opportunity to see that through.”
Democratic candidates facing Sabb the second Tuesday in June are Manley Collins of Berkeley County, and Kelly Spann and Ted Brown of Georgetown County.
Manley Collins, reached by e-mail, said he is seeking election “to provide a public service to the community,” and that his platform is jobs, education, and poverty alleviation.
This is Collins first run for public office. The University of Phoenix graduate holds a Doctor of Management Degree and works as a substitute teacher. “I bring leadership, management, courage, and consideration to the table to represent my community,” Collins said. “I will focus on service, gratefulness, and vocalization of most issues from the community. I will request information on gun policies and rights, women and underserved community rights and services, updating property rights, Medicare/Medicaid payments to providers, and how Williamsburg schools are performing.”
Collins said he attended and graduated from Berkeley County schools and South Carolina State University. “As your candidate for office, I will continue to ride around on a blue scooter throughout the neighborhood to poll and talk to all voters regarding concerns, comments, and problems to be addressed,” he said.
Kelly Spann said the Senate is a position of service, and he considers himself a servant.
“I want to serve others, to help them. When you look around in our communities, there are so many issues that must be addressed, and I want to bring changes where they are needed, such as uplifting our economy with more jobs, making sure our students are not left behind by ensuring our communities have better Internet access. We must improve our infrastructure; so many of our roadways need to be repaired.”
Rev. Spann said he has held several public offices. He was elected as a board member of Berkeley County School Board in 1992 and served one and a half years. In 2016 he was once again elected and served three years. He was elected as a trustee of Berkeley Community Federal Credit Union in Moncks Corner in 2011 and served several years, he said.
Spann was a mathematics teacher in Berkeley and Orangeburg Counties for 33 years. As a retired educator and coach, he now pastors St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in the Sampit community. He said he is proud of his marriage of 39 years to his wife, Senovia, and their four children. “They represent my first place of service,” he added. “Secondly, (I’m proud of) pastoring in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church for 38 years. This has allowed me to really see the needs of people—not only spiritually—but also other needs that touch so many different aspects of life. When I see this, it makes me ask, ‘Lord, what other ways can I serve your people?’ This is what brings me to this Senate race.”
Spann said he is proud of the opportunity he had to impact students’ lives through education and athletics. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Cummins Memorial Theological Seminary; established the Reverend Kelly Spann, II, Child Development Center of Greater Mt. Zion AMEC in Goose Creek; and was the first in his family to receive a master’s degree and a Master of Divinity degree. “When I am elected, I will bring my experience of teamwork, collaboration, and the readiness to serve mankind in all parts of Senate District 32 … It’s time for a change. Resources need to come back to District 32. The quality of living is decreasing immensely. I know we can do better.”
Teb Brown did not respond to an email request for an interview that contained questions. Ellison declined to answer questions contained in an email request for an interview but wrote that his platform in his bid for the Senate seat follows the Republican Party platform as found online and includes school choice for parents. He provided links to Information about him on Facebook at Ellison for SC Senate and on LinkedIn at davidellisoniv. Additionally, he wrote, the platform of the GOP is at www.sc.gop and information about school choice is at www.edchoice.org.