First Transgender Woman Running For State Senator

COLUMBIA, S.C (WOLO)– For the first time in State history a transgender woman is running to be a state senator. The historical special election will fill former senator John Courson’s seat. Courson resigned a few weeks ago after he pleaded guilty to misconduct in office charges.

Dayna Smith is a transgender activist and now she wants to put on another hat — state senator. Smith filed on Saturday to run against Dick Harpootlian and Kyle Lacio for the democratic nomination.

“I think some people just think they can just run and win an office or just by saying certain buzzwords that makes them a popular candidate. You have to show up, be there, say what you believe,” Smith said. Being the first member of the transgender community to run for a senate seat, she is excited to be someone others in the LGBT community can look up to. Smith believes South Carolina is ready for its first transgender senator but does expect some pushback.

“There’s times when I’ve seen it, but I’m there for it and I’m ready for it,’ Smith said.

Some of Smith’s key issues include holding SCE&G accountable and standing up for women’s rights, since South Carolina has been ranked one of the worst states for domestic violence.

“The republicans have had control of the statehouse and the governors mansion for over a decade, and we haven’t seen improvement. Roads haven’t significantly improved, schools haven’t significantly improved, and that’s what they said they were going to do and it hasn’t happened. So now it’s time for other people to step up,” Smith said.

Lacio is also dissatisfied with SCE&G and says he will fight for a full refund from the failed nuclear project. Lacio is a delivery driver full time, and an executive committee member of the Democratic Party. He says he is sick of all the talk, but no action at the statehouse.

“The legislators are kind of out of touch. We need regular people up there representing regular people,” Lacio said.

Dick Harpootlian says it is the culture of corruption at the statehouse that needs to change because right now, the government is failing the people who pay for it. Harpootlian is experienced with public service, he has been on Richland County Council and solicitor before.

“This isn’t a career for me. This is get in, get it done, and come home,” Harpootlian said 

All of the candidates say that having the diversity for voters to choose from is a great thing for Richland County.  

“This speaks volumes about where the average citizen is, where we’re going as a state, and I’m proud of it,” Harpootlian said. 

The special election to choose the candidate for both parties will be August 14.  Voters will then decide who fills Courson’s seat in the general election November 6.

Categories: Local News, News, Politics, Richland, State