NAACP holds forum for District 42 senate candidates

By Nikki

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- The local NAACP asked the District 42 senate candidates question after question inside Burke High's auditorium on Thursday.

Six of the nine candidates seeking Robert Ford's longtime seat took part in the forum. Candidates Herbert Fielding, Rodney Travis, Marlon Kimpson, Emmanuel Ferguson, Margaret Rush and Bob Thompson attended the forum. Maurice Washington, Billy Shuman and Alex Thornton did not attend.

Rev. Joe Darby moderated the event.

The first question of the evening involved the candidates expressing their views on Stand Your Ground laws, following the recent verdict in the Trayvon Martin case.

"What it's done is created a situation where untrained persons can make a life and death situation," said Herbert Fielding.

"I'm not going to infringe on anybody's Second Amendment right to bear firearms," said Rodney Travis.

If elected, the candidates were also asked how they would work to end racial profiling and improve the justice system.

"I think we have to get African American judges on the bench," said Marlon Kimpson. "We have 46 judges in this state and only five are African American."

Another topic discussed included bringing diversity to MUSC's board.

"It's ridiculous that we don't have any minorities or females on MUSC's board, and it's also ridiculous that we're not doing much about it," said Emmanuel Ferguson.

The issue of improving public education and funding charter and private schools also came up.

"I believe in equal funding for education. I think that's the direction we need to move in," said Margaret Rush.

The final topic of the night was the economy. Each candidate vowed to focus on job creation and bring opportunities to District 42 and to the state.

"I think that developing industrial parks would create a lot of jobs in Charleston (and) North Charleston," said Bob Thompson.

The Democratic primary for District 42 will be August 13, and the election is set for October 1.