Ask Local, State Political Candidates These Questions

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Sponsored by: Trident United Way

During election season, it’s easy to get caught up in the contentious headline of the day. But to be a truly informed voter, you have to dig deeper, asking questions about candidates’ core beliefs, proposed plans and positions on key issues for the community.

Locally, Trident United Way has identified three core areas of focus for the Tri-County community and the state – education, financial stability and health. Each of these issues intersects with one area often impacting another one.

Before you head to the polls on Nov. 8, consider how education along with the financial and health of the Tri-County region can be improved to build a stronger community. Then, ask local and state candidates about these issues and their specific plans for improvement.

Here are some key statistics to inform your research from Trident United Way:

Education

South Carolina ranks 42nd in the nation for child wellbeing. More than 4,000 under-resourced 4-year-old children are not served by a publicly-funded early childhood education program. Just 40 percent of children in the Tri-County area are kindergarten ready. And a mere 38 percent of children are proficient in third-grade reading.

Questions to ask candidates:

  • How would you propose increasing access to quality early care in South Carolina?
  • Will you support legislation to fund students' educations before they reach third grade?

Financial Stability

South Carolina ranks 41st in the country in poverty. The state has a poverty rate of 18 percent. Nearly 200,000 people in the Lowcountry have difficulty meeting their basic needs of safe housing, adequate food and adequate health care.

Moving individuals and families from financial crisis to financial stability is the first step in helping them achieve self-sufficiency.

Questions to ask candidates:

  • Do you believe that developing a well-prepared and attainable workforce will increase the accessibility of job opportunities and secure the economic environment?
  • Will you support legislation to invest money in local communities and help lift South Carolinians out of poverty?

Health

South Carolina ranks 42nd in overall health. Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties ranked in the top 10 of South Carolina counties for health outcomes (based on length and quality of life), according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

While the Tri-County area performed better than many other counties in South Carolina, the state still lags far behind others in multiple health areas, including access to care, obesity rates and tobacco use, as well as high school graduation rates, employment and the number of children in poverty – all of which significantly impact health incomes.

Question to ask candidates:

  • How would you propose improving health outcomes in South Carolina?

Assess the information and determine which candidates are poised to move the Lowcountry forward with educated children, fewer people in poverty and better health care for South Carolina residents. Even after the election, it’s imperative to stay engaged and write your representatives about the issues that are most important to you.

Trident United Way is a nonprofit organization committed to making real, long-lasting change through collective impact in the Lowcountry. It mobilizes people to work together to address the issues that matter most in people’s lives – education, financial stability and health.

To learn more about the state of education, financial stability and health in South Carolina, and what you can do to help, visit Trident United Way at tuw.org.