We recently had the opportunity to talk to one of those progressive women candidates you always hear us talking about. Her name is Carrie Counton, and she is a candidate for South Carolina's State House in District 19. Carrie is running in a district where her republican adversary has been in office since 1996 and hasn't done anything to bring progress to the district. His constituents face lack of affordable housing, access to healthcare, lack of public transportation, and poor job creation in the area. To top it all off he is also pro gun, pro life and anti women. Carrie has stepped up and stepped in. She has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood, Moms Demand Action Gun Sense, Women for Justice and Vote Pro Choice. We caught up with her and had a little chat.
What has inspired you to run for office?
I've always wanted to do this, to serve the people and be the "voice". When November 8th, 2016 happened, I felt for my Country in a way that I hadn't felt since my elementary history classes. On January 21st 2017 I discovered I was not alone and needed to do more. Last summer, when my husband and I moved to a wonderful part of Greenville, South Carolina (District 19) and discovered that our local Representative (a privileged, white male, career politician) did nothing and was out of touch, I knew I had to act. So I filed my candidacy.. This was my "more". I could not just sit there and let this man write laws and vote on laws that were not in my neighbors best interest.
What issues are at the forefront of your campaign?
My main issues are Education (I believe that ALL students deserve more then what is just "minimally adequate" and that starts with raising teachers pay) Healthcare (its a right not a privilege and we ALL should have access to affordable, quality care) Raising the minimum wage (we ALL work too hard to not have the minimum wage be $15)
What adversity have you faced as a woman running for office?
So far my campaign has been very positive. However, there have been meetings, forums and debates where I was the only female candidate in attendance and I was told to speak first because a male said "ladies first" . I haven't experienced too much adversity yet. But that also could be because I've being fighting against the white privileged male status quo my entire life and I like it.
Why do you think it is so important for women to be better represented in government?
Women are vital to government, our experiences and our representation matters. Women are more then 50% of the population, shouldn't all branches of our government be more than 50% women?
What part of this journey has surprised you the most?
I've been surprised by the amount support I've received. I'm still surprised of how many people are genuinely proud of me.
Tell us about the district you are running in.
My district is amazing. Its a beautiful array of individuals that care for one another and probably the hardest working District that I've ever seen. The majority are working women and moms. They truly are my "reason why" and I could not be happier to represent them.
What advice would you give to other women wanting to get more involved in politics?
My advice to other women is to just do it. If the recent administration or any of your elected officials puts a spark in you (in anger or happiness) say something, speak up, Don't hold back, Run for office, any office. If staying behind the scenes is more your thing, then offer your skills or quiet passion to a candidate before the November elections.
Learn more about Carrier at https://www.votecarriecounton.com/