Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Catherine Templeton Holds First Campaign Event

Tonight, I attended a Catherine Templeton Town Hall in Easley, South Carolina. Before the event started, I spoke with Templeton in the parking lot. I was struck by how friendly and excited she is. Her enthusiasm and warmth radiate off of her--Templeton is, as they say, “fired up and ready to go”.

Templeton declared her bid for governor in April and was met with overwhelming support. Only four months after her announcement, Templeton has raised $1.45 million. While her campaign’s war chest is not as large as Governor Henry McMaster’s, Templeton is backed by a passionate network. She is most definitely a viable competitor in this race.

At the town hall tonight, there was a mixture of excitement levels in attendance. There were some staunch Templeton supporters, but at the same time there were skeptics, curious to hear her stance on issues. Among the crowd of mostly older voters, many knew each other, and the room was chatty. Before going to the podium, Templeton took the time to introduce herself to everyone in the room individually. As she was making the rounds, she officiated an arm wrestling competition and genuinely connected with voters.

Templeton was introduced by the chairman of the Pickens county GOP, Rick Tate. He said that he invited Templeton, partially because her team had done such a good job publicizing her on social media. During his brief speech, he gave a definition of conservatism that partially stated “conservatism is based on what men and women have discovered through the generations”.

After Tate's introduction, Templeton stood up to speak. She talked about her adventures in the private sector & the Haley administration, how she just hired a new campaign manager, and her three middle-school kids.

Her speech had an emphasis on her private-sector experience that set her apart from other gubernatorial candidates. In fact, that experience was why Governor Haley asked Templeton to work as the SC Secretary of Labor, and later, head of SC DHEC.

This initial experience in government revealed so much of South Carolina’s dirty politics to Templeton. “I was private-sector​ sector, went to the government, and had a front-row seat to corruption”. Her outsider viewpoint is a card she continually plays when talking about “draining the swamp” of Carolina politics and standing for the voters.. “I haven’t run for anything. I don’t owe anybody anything. But I am South Carolina born and bred, and I am not going to let us continue to fail.”
Templeton frequently spoke about education. It is a topic she is passionate about, she says, because she comes from a family of teachers. She mentioned how South Carolina is the 50th state in the country for education, and emphatically declared, “That is not acceptable!”

A phrase she used to explain her plan to fix not only the education system, but also our roads and several other issues is simply, “We have the money to fix it; we’re just not using it right.”

Templeton’s entire performance was confident and relaxed. She answered questions ranging in topic from the Muslim ban, abortion, trade schools, and Confederate heritage. She had a good grasp of her facts, and was a friendly, yet commanding presence in the room.

Throughout the evening, she repeated that she always tells the truth and frequently shared examples. A standout quote for me was when Templeton was talking about how she personally values integrity. She summed it up: “You may not like everything I say over the next 8-10 years, but you will know one thing--it’s the truth.”

I personally greatly enjoyed the event. Templeton is a woman of excellent character, and her command of information and wide range of experience make her an attractive candidate for governor. I would encourage my South Carolina friends to make a point to go to one of Templeton’s events - it’s a fun, laid-back atmosphere and a great way to make sure your issues are discussed.

You can watch the entirety of Catherine Templeton’s town hall at pickensscgop.com.

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