We recently move our headquarters to Mauldin, South Carolina, and the first thing we saw in the lawns around town were signs encouraging me to vote for Jane Kizer. I’m always happy to learn about people who want to step up the limelight and feel a calling to represent their fellow citizens at the state level.
South Carlina has a history of being a state that produces uncontested conservative Republican candidates for most of its offices. In the city where I live now, the incumbent is State Senator Ralph Anderson (D-Greenville), who is not running for reelection this season. So it’s up South Carolina’s seventh district to choose between Karl Allen, a current State Representative and lawyer, and Jane Kizer, a former cable company employee and active participant in her church.
Karl Allen is banking off of his political experience and (for the most part) party-line Democratic voting record.
Jane Kizer, on the other hand, doesn’t have a lot of political experience and is using her homegrown history as a resident of her district and faith in her religion to run for State Senate.
Taking a vested interest in the local politics around our headquarters, my wife Sami wrote to Mrs. Kizer because she was curious about all the lawn signs. Explaining our situation as newly residing progressive citizens, Sami was hoping to get a response to her concerns; Kizer’s current campaign website doesn’t really address her stance on issues other than abortion, gay marriage, and gun laws (she openly proclaims that she enjoys shooting on the range and has a concealed carry permit).
Instead, we got this:
She said, “I will share with you why I have taken these stances. I base my decisions on the Bible and the Constitution.”
I’m sorry, but what? Last I checked, that’s the mantra of the Constitution Party, not the Republican Party (although with the recent candidates for GOP frontrunner, I’m not entirely sure that’s correct anymore). I understand the importance of conservative values in public debate, but come on: I base my decisions on the Bible and the Constitution?
Before I jumped in I wanted to make sure Jane Kizer wasn’t already pushing an evangelical agenda anywhere – especially in the state I just moved to – so I looked up her campaign website janekizer.com and found this gem from her About Me page:
Let’s look at some immediate red lights that are flashing:
- “She believes God comes first in all things.” ALL things. Does this mean her god comes before the gods of other religions? Of course it does; what I’m really concerned with is how her faith to something that comes first in all things will affect her ability to objectively vote for or against legislation.
- “She also stands for life, from conception. Only God has the right to decide when a baby lives and when they die.” Obviously a proponent of forced pregnancies, she goes further to state that only her god can decide the life and death of a child. Which is funny, in a debate about abortion: never does she mention a fetus. I assume she means that as soon as a man injects his holy seed into the blossoming sacred womb of a virgin woman that the microscopic byproduct of fusing cells is a child, complete with report cards, temper tantrums, and a pseudosocialist necessity for parental handouts, like shelter, clothing, and food.
- “Our ‘representatives’ keep voting for more taxes, more government, and less freedom.” Here’s where she gets interesting. South Carolina recently passed laws to prevent overnight protests on school campuses, mandate a 24-hour waiting period for abortions, enforce harder immigration laws, and enforce strict Voter ID requirements. She is correct in her previous statements about SC’s failing educational institution (but somehow SC has Clemson and USC – I don’t get it), too, but her insinuating that her election will result in less government, less taxes, and more freedom is somewhat bogus because she’s running on the same ticket as Nikki Haley and everyone else who votes for legislation that causes more government and more tax dollars spent in enforcement.
What worries me the most is that Jane’s reply to my wife’s concerns was so ambiguous. If you say it’s time for me to take back my government because my “representatives” don’t listen to me, what does it tell the public when you don’t answer basic questions about issues that are affecting your constituents? Is that the kind of “representative” you want to be? One who doesn’t answer questions about real issues?
This is a chief concern of any and all people who support social equality because just one state away North Carolina amended their constitution to ban same-sex marriage. If elected, Jane Kizer will also use the Bible in her decision-making. What does this spell for gay people in South Carolina? What does this spell for everyone who comes after her god?
I wasn’t going to waste time debating with myself, so I took to the quill and drafted an open letter to Jane Kizer yesterday. Much to my surprise – and thanks to the proliferation of social media – she responded very quickly, although not quite in a way that she said she would according to her Principles:
Not exactly the reply I requested, nor is it in keeping with anything she said about wanting her constituents to know what her position is on the issues. It’s almost disrespectful for her to beat around the bush like that, but I’ll give her the benefit of a doubt and assume that some volunteer is running her Facebook and that he or she has been ordered to not engage in debate with those crazy liberals.
I’m hoping that by bringing attention to the open letter (which you can read here) and publishing her replies we can consolidate some of our efforts in pushing Jane Kizer to tell us exactly the way she feels about the issues that we have presented, because when it comes time to vote, we need to look at her name and know exactly what she stands for. It’s apparent from her recent photos from Facebook that a lot of her supporters are seniors and older residents of SC, but this isn’t 2000 and the progressive, liberal, prosocial citizens of America living in the southern states have more than enough tools to remedy our silenced public positions.
Which brings me to the second part of this article: What makes a qualified candidate for office?
In the end I’m afraid that Jane Kizer just might rock the SC vote because – and let’s just face it already – SC is a predominantly Christian, conservative state. Just like the support that was garnered for Rick Perry and Rick Santorum because of their religious evangelism (which allowed them to say whatever they wanted about any other political issue because the only thing that mattered is that they talked about religion a lot), Jane Kizer is riding the Jesus Bus with a first-class ticket to Columbia.
For the deeply religious south it would seem that the only qualifying factor to run for office is that you have to love god and believe in Jesus (but you don’t actually have to do anything he said). Kizer definitely seems to meet those two requirements. And if elected, she will most likely work tirelessly hand-in-hand with Governor Haley to promote smaller government for businesses and guns, while implementing bigger government for women’s health and the gay community. (We have yet to see her position on science and whether or not that will be allowed in SC classrooms, but if she wants to please the heart of the bible belt, I doubt she supports teaching evolution and I’m more than confident that she would readily sign the bill for teaching creationism in classrooms).
While it may work for senior citizens and anyone who only cares that you love your god, you can’t sell me on hope and open-ended promises.
All I’m asking, Jane Kizer, is for you to tell me exactly what’s going to happen if you are elected.
In the mean time, let’s see if her fedora can get more likes on Facebook than her campaign page.
If I get any responses or feedback I’ll keep this article updated and push it out to our Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.
Are you a resident of South Carolina? What do you think about Jane Kizer and her responses to both my wife’s concerns and my open letter?
Update 31-Jul: According to a bio of Jane Kizer on Palladian View, she is involved with a crisis pregnancy center in Greenville. This is not good for her female constituents because people who agree with these kinds of organizations are generally against all types of female choice when it comes to sex and reproduction.