By Gregg Bragg, Senior Staff Writer for The Island Connection
Carol Tempel’s favorite quote from the 2018 Women’s March on Washington (Brittlebank Park – Jan. 20) may have been “Don’t wait for someone to anoint you. Run for office!” She heard the call and announced her candidacy for the SC House of Representatives District 115 on the spot.
Given her opponent is a 3 term incumbent republican, Tempel is the tenacious, determined underdog. She is counting on her strong resumé, long list of accomplishments, and her focus on education to win in her second run at the seat. Tempel spent most of her career in education. Years in the classroom led to a position as the curriculum specialist for math, science and technology in Charleston and she established the Science Resource Center for Lowcountry schools. She leveraged the success into a position as assistant principal at Buist Academy, interim principal at CE Williams, and principal at Academic Magnet High School. The three schools have set a high bar as models for the rest of the state, heralded in the same way as Tempel’s business experience. Tempel had to balance parenting with profession when she first moved to Charleston. She started a business to both study and solve the problem, and was recognized by the Charleston Trident Chamber of Commerce for excellence in small business, and collaboration of school and business partnerships. Tempel somehow made time to volunteer in the midst of all this, holding a range of positions including: member of the City of Charleston Commission for Women, President of the Charleston and State affiliates of the American Association of University Women, officer in the League of Women Voters, President of Charleston County Democratic Women, member of the SC Lowcountry Environmental Education Project (LEAP), Commissioner of the James Island Parks and Recreation, member of the James Island Charter High School Board of Directors, member of the Stiles Point School Improvement Council and Chairperson of the James Island and Folly Beach Constituent School Board. Asked about offshore drilling, Tempel said, “I am all for protecting our environment and natural resources. For the amount of oil geologists think is out there, we don’t need to be drilling. We [already] have enough to ship oil overseas. The infrastructure that would go onto our shores to support what is going on off our shores, would ruin our coast. We need to be moving toward renewable sources.” Asked about the future of education in SC, Tempel said, “Charleston county is already [experiencing] an $18 million shortfall, which they think they can ride out, but in the coming year there’s a shortfall of $40 million [needed] to meet the mandates required by the state, which are not funded by the state.
“The current funding for schools is based on the sales tax. And we know how uneven and unpredictable the sales tax is and then Act 388 removed taxes from owner occupied residences. And so the money comes from sales and property taxes on business and rental properties. Schools need a steady stream of funding and we need to know what they are a couple years in advance to avoid programmatic changes. “The $18 million shortfall resulted in the loss of 170 teachers, so what are we going to do about a $40 million shortfall? School funding is a big issue for me. [Act 388] was an effort to give relief to older homeowners, but we need to look at something more multi-faceted. SC is at the bottom so we need to do something,” she said, agreeing to the possibility of basing school property taxes on time in the home. The Post & Courier newspaper endorsed Temple’s first run for SC-115 based on the strength of her ideas for education in a 2012 article saying, “Ms. Temple, a democrat, makes a solid case that educational improvements are a necessary part of the state’s economic development plan to provide more and better jobs for its citizens. She’s highly motivated, and could be a major resource for the legislature.” “I want to be a full time legislator and provide the ethical leadership our state needs. I’ll work on the issues that really matter and I hope voters will support me. “My focus will be on issues that matter to people on James Island, Folly Beach, Kiawah and Seabrook: quality public education, affordable and accessible healthcare, good paying jobs with fair wages, safe communities, repairing bridges and roads, kicking corruption out of Columbia, protecting our environment, supporting renewable energy and ending gerrymandering,” concluded Tempel.
More information will be available soon at the web address CarolTempel.com.