NEWBERRY — He’s Newberry born and Newberry bred. He’s Carlton Kinard and he’s your Democratic candidate running for SC State House District 40.
Kinard is a product of the Newberry County public school system, graduating from Newberry High School in 2011 and Newberry College in May 2016, receiving a degree in Music Education and a minor in Jazz Studies. His mother, Brenda, is owner of Touch of Class Beauty Salon in Newberry, and his father Larry is an insurance analyst.
He is the third of four children, following behind older siblings Taquala and Jamall, and ahead of younger brother Trey Kinard. Kinard attends New Enoree Baptist Church where he is an active member, serving as a trustee and youth president for the New Enoree Baptist Association, which consists of 22 African-American Baptist churches in Newberry County.
Kinard was involved in many extracurricular activities in his high school and college careers. In high school, he was on the baseball team and participated in marching band, wrestled and was a member of the Student Government Association. Kinard continued to participate in SGA and was a member of the Board of Trustees at Newberry College.
He is a member of two fraternities, Kappa Alpha Psi and Delta Omicron Music Fraternity and The National Association For Music Educators, an Alpha and Orientation Leader and was involved with ministry at Newberry College.
“What really inspired me to become involved in politics was becoming SGA President,” he said. “During my time as president, that was around the time when the governor’s race was happening and also the re-election of Rep. Walt McLeod in 2014. I invited Sen. Vincent Sheheen and Governor Nikki Haley to campus.
“They both came and I liked seeing both sides, how SGA works and how I could help Newberry College,” he added. “We were fortunate to have Michelle Obama to come to my mother’s beauty salon and speak in 2008 during the Presidential Primaries. After that I just continued to be involved and I’ve been doing it ever since.”
Kinard also has experience working on Capitol Hill, alongside Congressmen Jim Clyburn (D) and Joe Wilson (R).
“Seeing how busy the life is up there, getting bills passed on both sides and just seeing how the daily operation goes; It’s a busy life and I just loved it,” Kinard said.
Kinard has also been campaigning with Rep. McLeod. Along the way, McLeod has given Kinard advice that will help him in the future if he is elected for SC State House District 40.
“Know everybody’s name and remember it. That’s one thing, he does know everyone’s name. When someone tells him their name, he remembers it. Also making sure you present yourself well. The first impression is always the important one and making sure you articulate your plan and goals when running for office and to overall be consistent, be yourself and let people know that you are the one who will represent Newberry County to the best of your ability.”
If elected, Kinard’s goals include improving public schools, improving Newberry County roads and bridges and promoting sustainable job creations in Newberry County.
“Improving public school’s is my top goal. We need to ensure that our students are prepared and have the foundation when they start Pre-K and Kindergarten and prepare them to either go to college or go into the workforce in Newberry County.”
In order to run for office, candidates had to be at least 21 years of age. Along with meeting the age requirement, Kinard also had to be a registered voter and have a clean background. Kinard hopes that on Nov. 8, the public will choose him to represent Newberry County.
“In the words of the great Walt McLeod, I can do more for Newberry County. I’ve worked with people from both sides. I believe I can represent Newberry County better. I think it’s important that we get rid of the gridlock in Columbia and in Washington D.C. against democrats and republicans. I am here to help you. I believe I’m the better candidate to do to fill this position.”
Kinard has received nothing but support from his family, the community and Rep. McLeod.
“It means so much when people stop me and tell me good luck or commenting on my Facebook saying ‘If Walt McLeod is for you, then I’m for you.’”
Another issue that Kinard would address if elected is gun violence and keeping guns out of criminals hands. Kinard commended the Newberry County Police Department saying that he feels they are the best law enforcement agency in South Carolina.
“I’m not a person that would pass a law to take your guns away. But I will advocate for a law to keep guns out of criminals hands, from people who mean harm and people that feel the only way to get revenge is by shooting somebody.”
If the public would like to help campaign in the final weeks until election day, Kinard suggests going to his website http://www.kinardforschouse.com/ to find out more.
Reach Kelly Duncan at 803-768-3123 ext. 1868, or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.