Mary Geren's Profile

Mary Geren
South Carolina 3rd Congressional District

Mary Geren grew up in a family of seven. She and her siblings were often the recipient of reduced-price lunches at school and food stamps at home. Her father worked in the granite industry and instilled in his children the belief that hard work and perseverance were the keys to success.

Mary worked her way through college and graduate school and has been a teacher of one sort or another ever since. She is active in her church, is a member of the Chamber of Commerce, and serves on the board of an advocacy group for victims of sexual assault. Her husband works in the local BMW plant.

People's House Project proudly endorses Mary as a candidate meeting our principles for election to Congress. She:

• Has first-person experience with the economic crisis
• Directly represents America’s diverse working class
• Is more connected to her community than to elites
• Will not make a good villain for the other side to campaign against
• Holds Progressive economic priorities central to her campaign

We believe Mary Geren will provide the House of Representatives with an invaluable influx of energy and good sense, and that she will be a passionate and uncorruptable advocate for the people of South Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District..

I decided to run about a year ago. More than anything, Betsy DeVos prompted me. Even my Republican friends who voted for Trump were outraged by Betsy DeVos. They were very motivated calling their Senators. As educators, regardless of their politics, they’re scared. Public education is suffering in this state, but it can get so much worse.

I really don’t want to make this campaign about Trump. Our focus has been on the incumbent, Jeff Duncan, who represents corporations and not people. He votes just the way they want him to. He won’t meet with constituents or hold town halls.

We have to ask why Congress doesn’t do anything about the problems that have clear solutions. And the answer is, we’ve got a lot of bought-and-paid-for politicians who need to go home so the rest of us can get things done. We need people who aren’t afraid of walking across party lines to get things done.

Duncan isn’t like that. He voted against re-authorizing the Violence Against Women Act. He voted against funding for Hurricane victims. He’s voted against funding for veterans. Each of the times he argued he didn’t want to increase the deficit, but then he votes for the Trump tax cuts, which blew the deficit up. When it’s for poor and working people, he’s concerned about the debt. When it goes to millionaires and billionaires, the debt doesn’t matter.

We Democrats need to own who we are. We need to scream from the rooftops. We’re the party that values the family and children and looking out for the least of us, which is a Christian value. I would not hesitate to debate anyone who wants to claim the Republican Party is the party of family values now.

After my first term, I would like to be able to say we stopped offshore drilling on the beautiful coast of South Carolina. Overwhelmingly, South Carolinians oppose drilling, but my opponent is in favor of it. I would like to be able to say we provided adequate funding for public education, and that we will have made college tuition much easier and more affordable.

We will have not only protected the ACA but will be working toward Medicare for All. We will have passed universal background checks and banned the purchase of bump stocks and assault weapons. We’ll have provided more mental illness funding, because that’s a piece of our gun problem. The President has said that. We should be able to get it done.

I’ve walked in parades and in neighborhoods. I’ve been to hospitals, rehab, local Rotary Clubs. I knew it would take me a while, because for the last 25 years, South Carolina has been a one-party state. But I want to hear from people, and what they’re saying is education, healthcare, jobs. That’s what matters here. In the rural part of the district, people are leaving because of those things.

We have hope. It’s this young generation coming into adulthood. If we’re at a town hall, I’m talking to the three 20-somethings who came out. There are a few who believe they have to be one party or another, but most of them are concerned more about issues. They don’t like labels. They’re more interested in the person who’s running.

All our major movements have come from youth. They’re not worried about losing status. They’re very open about people, whether they’re gay, straight, trans, Christian, non-Christian. They’ve grown up in an integrated society. They’re saying enough is enough. Politics as it’s practiced by my opponent doesn’t work for them.

My daughter will be 12 next month. She’s a middle schooler, and I want her to know when she looks back on this period in our history that I was fighting. That’s who we’re doing this for. I want to be able to tell her I had the opportunity, and I took it.

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