CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Within days of announcing his candidacy for the 2020 presidential race, Democratic hopeful Tom Steyer made one of his first stops in Charleston Friday.
Steyer, who announced his candidacy Tuesday, sat down with Charleston County School Board member Kevin Hollinshead to learn about the education crisis that is putting students in jeopardy.
“Here in Charleston County we have nine failing school and all of them in heavy African American areas,” Hollinshead said. “The thing they’re thinking about doing is shutting schools down and moving children around.”
Burke High School is one of the district’s lower performing schools.
“It can be better,” Hollinshead said. “We have a way in Charleston County as pastor Dixon said, starvation by neglect. I’m pushing right now to change the red district of failing schools.”
Hollinshead gave Steyer a tour of the school and Steyer said it would be a challenge to fix the school, but an opportunity.
“We’re seeing a school that’s under the threat of closures and it’s in a state where a republic model of cutting corporate taxes and cutting education is fully in place,” Steyer said. “This school is an example of place where we should be supporting young people of color as they try to make the best lives for themselves and the society they live in.”
Steyer also said he noticed issues outside the school walls in the form of gentrification.
“It’s hard to miss there’s this gigantic construction site across the street from the school where it was a low-income community with low income housing and it’s been razed and now we’re going to have much more expensive housing that’s out of the region of people who live there before,” Steyer said. This is happening across the United States.”
Steyer also discussed the topic of reparations and how it relates to the school.
“Reparations based on centuries of racial discrimination, this is a perfect example,” Steyer said. “Here we have a case where the pain and the burden of this corporate agenda is being born again by the African American community and in addition by the young people in the African American community.”
Steyer also had a meet and greet lunch while he was in town.
SCGOP Chairman Drew McKissick released the following statement:
“Tom Steyer is just another extremist, left-wing Democrat whose only goal is obstructing President Trump. The SCGOP is excited to welcome him to South Carolina so that he can waste even more of his money on another failed venture. We hope he at least enjoys the barbecue while he’s here.”