UNION — Fighting for the people of South Carolina, not for an ideology, is what Democrat Fran Person says he will do if elected to the US House of Representatives Fifth District seat.
Person brought his campaign for the Fifth District seat to the City of Union Municipal Building where he addressed members of the Union County Democratic Party Monday night.
In his remarks, Person emphasized his commitment to working to address the needs of the people of the Fifth District, especially in the area of economic development. He criticized his Republican opponent, incumbent Rep. Mick Mulvaney, as being too focused on representing his ideology instead of representing the people of the Fifth Congressional District.
“This race isn’t about Republican versus Democrat, it’s about bringing our community together to elect a leader in Washington that fights for the Fifth Congressional District,” Person said. “For far too long, Congressman Mick Mulvaney has been in Washington fighting for a political ideology and not the people of South Carolina.
“Supporting our communities in Congress means fostering economic development right here in Union, making sure everyone has the same opportunity to compete,” he said. “It means making sure our workforce has the skills and tools to stay competitive, because I know if the people of South Carolina get the tools to compete we’re going to win.”
Person also criticized Mulvaney for being so ideologically committed to cutting spending that he has been willing to cut out spending that’s needed for economic development, infrastructure upgrades and maintenance, education, and support for America’s veterans. Of the first three, Person said such spending is needed to enable the Fifth District, the rest of South Carolina, and America to successfully compete with the rest of the world. Of the last, Person said there is not a more sacred national commitment than to help its military men and women who sacrificed in the service and defense of this country.
According to his campaign website (personforcongress.com) Person grew up in a close-knit middle class family with five brothers and one sister. The website states that Person and his siblings were taught by their parents the values of hard work, community and service to others,” instilling in them “the belief that success was built on hard work, commitment and dedication. The one rule in the Person household was no one sat on the sidelines — you had to get in the game.”
Person came to South Carolina on a scholarship to play football at the University of South Carolina. The website states that he was recruited by Coach Lou Holtz and began by playing tight end, seeing action on the defensive line and special teams. By the end of his college career Person was on the offensive line, his senior year being Coach Steve Spurrier’s inaugural season.
During his time at USC, Person met his future wife, Krystal. The couple was married in Columbia and decided to raise their family in South Carolina. They now have two daughters, Bella and Zoe.
Person’s involvement in government and politics began when he met then-US Sen. Joe Biden at a speech he delivered at USC. After Biden’s election as vice president, Person joined his staff, working at the White House and traveling hundreds of thousands of miles all over the world on Air Force Two. Over the course of years with Biden, Person visited a total of 49 countries including Russia, China, India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan as well as Iraq which he visited six times.
After leaving Biden’s staff, Person returned to USC, working as an assistant to President Harris Pastides and Athletic Director Ray Tanner. Person’s focus was on the well-being of student-athletes and he was one of the authors of “The Gamecock Student Athlete Promise” which included a proposal for guaranteeing four year scholarships.
In both his website and in his address to the Union County Democratic Party, Person said he is running for Congress because he feels the institution is broken. Person pointed out that members of Congress spend more time fighting each other and trying to score political points than working for the American people.
Both his website and Person himself said that if elected he will bring the values that have guided his entire life — hard work, team work, and commitment to a common goal — to Congress. Person said that goal “is that we have to give people the tools they need to compete — and win. That means we have to invest in education — not cut it. It means we have to rebuild our crumbling roads, bridges, highways, ports and airports. And it means we need to be giving our men and women in uniform the support they need — not punishing them with a senseless sequester that guts our military spending when we need it the most.”
Person pointed out that the issue of military spending is an especially personal one for him as four of his brothers and two of his sisters-in-law went to the US Naval Academy and served this nation in uniform.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.