Rep. Bakari Sellers addresses multimedia students during a news conference at Claflin. (Panther photo)
By ARIELLE HAYES
S.C. lieutenant governor candidate Bakari Sellers came to Claflin University to address plans for “breathing new life” into South Carolina politics.
The Democratic S.C. House of Representatives member from Bamberg County held a news conference with multimedia reporting students on Feb 6, focusing on his plans for South Carolina in education and access to quality health care.
“Kids don’t have to go to a school where heating and air doesn’t work,” said Sellers, at 30 years old in his eighth year as a lawmaker.
Sellers plans to reform school lunch programs, expand 4-year old kindergarten and push higher pay for teachers.
Acknowledging that young people and students are keys in the success of his campaign for the state’s second highest office, he has strong views on issues affecting them, notably higher education and capping tuition.
“There are students who don’t take the initiative to continue their education because they don’t have the funds to do so,” he said. “It’s getting to the point where schools are pricing students out of school.”
Sellers is a native of Denmark and graduated from Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School. His parents played a huge motivational role in his life.
“My parents told me to be a change agent,” he said.
Feb. 8, 1968, is a very significant date to Sellers and his family. It marks the day his father and Voorhees College president, Cleveland Sellers, was shot during the Orangeburg Massacre. The elder Sellers was jailed and later pardoned in the incident that left three students dead and 28 injured.
The Orangeburg Massacre occurred when nine South Carolina Highway Patrol officers in Orangeburg fired into a crowd of protesters near the campus of then-South Carolina State College. The demonstrations were against segregation at a Russell Street bowling alley.
Now-a-days Sellers doesn’t face the racial setbacks his father encountered.
“Race doesn’t have anything to do to stop me,” he said. “I am running for lieutenant governor because for me, it’s not about what our state was, or what our state is, but what it can be.”