Bill de Blasio visits Charleston on first leg of campaign tour

Updated: May. 20, 2019 at 12:41 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) -The latest Democratic candidate to announce his campaign spoke with people at a downtown Charleston church on Sunday morning.

This stop is part of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s four-day campaign kickoff.

On Thursday, de Blasio announced his 2020 Campaign for the presidency.

He is the 24th Democrat to throw his hat into the ring for the nomination. Some of his competitors have been officially campaigning for months already. De Blasio says he knows he is beginning his journey later than some of the others, but he says that doesn’t bother him and it shouldn’t bother anyone else.

“I never worry about where I begin. It’s where you end. It’s only May. People don’t vote until February. We have so much time,” de Blasio says.

Ebenezer A.M.E. Church in downtown Charleston got a small-setting campaign speech from the NYC mayor. The crowd of about 100 people responded to his message of “hope for hardworking people” positively with frequent clapping and “amen’s” from the congregation.

He says his vision for South Carolinians sets him apart from him competitors because he said he has a track record of getting things done and can see what people really need.

“I have a simple message, we need to put hard working people first, not the wealthy and the one percent. Working people first,” de Blasio says.

De Blasio focused in heavily on repairing the palmetto state’s education system. The mayor says education is an issue that is close to his heart because the whole country is suffering from a broken system. In New York City, de Blasio has made Pre-K free and mandatory for all four-year-olds so they can begin their education early and on track with their peers.

He says he has been watching South Carolina teachers beg for change in the state’s system for years and not get what they deserve.

De Blasio says if he is president, he would tackle the system first by making sure each South Carolina child has access to full-time/high quality kindergarten since it’s not currently mandatory for children before attending first grade. He says once that is done, then a free Pre-K program can be established.

“In the end what we need is a government devoted to children unlike it is now. Every child should benefit from Pre-K,” de Blasio says.

In just a matter of a few minutes, the Big Apple mayor ran through several topics. He took time to touch on the Lowcountry’s affordable housing crisis saying that it’s not fair “for people to have to leave such a beautiful city or not be able to raise their children simply because they’re being pushed out by a high cost of living.”

De Blasio also said he wants to mend the climate change issue that’s bringing flooding to the Holy City’s streets.

“Global warming threatens Charleston and New York too, so many parts of the country are being impacted by this problem,” de Blasio says. “I was in Iowa a few days ago and the flooding is devastating in parts of that state.”

He says the country is rapidly running out of time to recover; he says he believes in a new Green Deal that may be the way of the climate’s future.

De Blasio says he plans to make frequent future stops in South Carolina during campaign season to help land him in the Oval Office on good terms.

“Finding new friends and supporters to build momentum consistently is the plan. I’ve done it before. I believe it works,” de Blasio says.

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