SC District 117 in the Lowcountry elects first African-American representative

Krystle Simmons (WCIV)

Election day was only a week ago, but Krystle Simmons has already began fulfilling her new role as the House Representative for District 117 in South Carolina.

"I got a call the next morning and they said just so you know, the swearing in will happen later, but as of today you are the woman."

Simmons says she has already received phone calls from the taxpayers she will represent in Berkeley County.

But being elected to a South Carolina house seat wasn't something Simmons was expecting to do.

"I was reading on Midterm Elections and why they were important, and I was thinking, 'man I’m intelligent and I don’t even know why they are important.' How many other people connected to me don’t understand why they are important?"

Simmons said she put her head down, and worked towards being a force for positive change.

"I started to read and research the people who represent me, and the things that go on in our county. I was frustrated and did not want to be a victim of change, but I wanted to be a catalyst of change.”

Simmons is a single mother of five children, and says one of the first areas she hopes to address is the Berkeley County education system.

"We’re last in education. My kids go to these schools. There is no reason why we should have to endure the same thing year after year. If it were going to get better under the current administration it would have been better, so that is what lead me to say it is time for change.”

Simmons says she's come this far by not letting any obstacles discourage her. "Don’t create any ceilings for yourself, the possibilities are endless.”

Simmons says she didn't grow up in the greatest environment, but says where you grow up doesn't have to define you.

"I come from a small town in Ohio, I had a hard childhood, and I have really worked very hard to get where I’m at. I didn’t have a bunch of money to go to school, or the most ideal home situation, but where you come from does not define you.”

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