UNION COUNTY — The race for the Republican nomination for the SC House District 42 seat became a contested one this afternoon when Doug Gilliam announced that he will run for the seat as a Republican.
In a statement released this afternoon announcing his candidacy, Gilliam emphasized his background as a combat veteran of the US Army.
“I am Command Sergeant Major (Retired) Doug Gilliam. I am a Combat Veteran and Bronze Star for Valor recipient. I am a graduate of the U. S. Army Sergeants Major Academy,” Gilliam said. “My military career includes deployments to Afghanistan where I received Bronze Star for Valor and the Combat Infantryma’s Badge and to Kosovo where I the Legion of Merit.
“I had the pleasure to serve as the Kosovo Force 16 (KFOR 16) Multi-National Battle Group East Command Sergeant Major. The Battle Group included 10 nations,” he said. “In Afghanistan I was the Senior NCO of a 16 man Embedded Training Team (ETT) for the Afghan National Army where our team trained and fought alongside of the Afghan Army.”
Gilliam said “I ended my career as the 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade Command Sergeant Major. I was inducted into the SC National Guard Enlisted Hall of Fame in February, 2016. I retired from the military 30 June, 2015 with over 26 years of active federal service.”
While he has retired from the active duty military, Gilliam has continued to put his Army training and experience to good use as the JROTC Senior Army Instructor at Union County High School. Gilliam is himself a 1983 graduate of Union High School and received an Associates of Art degree from USC-Union and a Bachelor’s degree from Liberty University.
Gillliam said he will be running as a Republican for the District 42 seat and said that, if elected, he will work to address the issues facing the district which is composed of Union County and part of Laruens County.
“I will be a strong voice for our district and work hard to get things done for Union and Laurens counties and the people of this district,” Gillliam said. “I believe in working together with the other representatives and senators of Union and Laurens to push for what is best for our counties, district and state.“
The issues Gilliam said he hopes to address if elected include infrastructure and economic development.
Concerning infrastructure, Gilliam said “if elected, I hope to address funding for roads. It has come to the point of repair instead of maintaining our road system.”
As for ecomomic growth, Gilliam said “I want to push and sell our counties for economic growth and development. One of the phrases we would be able to say is ‘Lets Grow District 42.’ Union has seen some growth and I want to keep up the push. I want to sit down with the leaders and discuss the issues and address the 5 W’s. Who, What, When, Where and Why we are not growing faster.”
Another issue that Gilliam said he hopes to address as member of the legislature is prayer in schools.
“I want to see an effort by our state legislators to put prayer back in our schools,” Gilliams said. “As an instructor in high school, I see the need and possibility to bring that back. I am an advocate for education and our children.”
Gilliam said that prayer played a major role in his decision to run for the District 42 seat.
“My wife Pam, 16-year-old daughter Hannah and I are active members of Philippi Baptist Church,” Gilliam said. “When this was laid on my heart, I prayed for weeks, seeking the Lord’s will and guidance. I did not want it to be my pride or what I wanted to do that lead my decision making. The Lord gave me peace and I knew I was, all in, for this opportunity.”
His candidacy for the District 42 seat is Gilliam’s first bid for public office and he asked for the people of the district to consider supporting him and give him the opportunity to serve them in Columbia.
“This is my first time running for a political seat and I look forward to the opportunity to make a huge, positive difference in House District 42,” Gilliam said. “I ask the people of House District 42 to consider supporting me for my experience, values, selfless service and leadership in growing District 42. I would appreciate the honor and privilege to serve as the representative for Union County and Laurens County at the State House. “
Gilliam is the second Republican to announce for the District 42 seat. Earlier this week, Tommy Mann, who ran for the seat in 2016, annouced his candidacy.
The District 42 seat is currently held by incumbent Rep. Mike Anthony, a Democrat, who announced in February that he is not running for reelection.
The Democratic and Republican parties will hold their primaries on Tuesday, June 12 to nominate their candidates for a variety of local, state, and federal offices including the SC House District 42.
Filing for the Democratic and Republican primaries for partisan offices opens this Friday, March 16, at noon and closes Friday, March 30 at noon. Persons who want to run for partisan office in either the Democratic or Republican primaries may do so at the Union County Voter Registrar’s Office, 1246 South Duncan Bypass, Union.
For more about the political races in Union County, both partisan and non-partisan, see upcoming editions of The Union Times and our website (www.uniondailytimes.com) and our Facebook page.