062217 Politics: Democrat makes early start in 7th District
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Politics: Democrat makes early start in 7th District

By Nikki Best
Coastal Observer

Following the near miss of Democrat Archie Parnell in the 5th Congressional District special election this week, Mal Hyman will file tomorrow for a second run in the 7th District.

He announced his bid Tuesday evening at a meeting held at Hopsewee Plantation. Hyman ran in 2016 against GOP incumbent Rep. Tom Rice. He lost.

“I think it is harder to run a grassroots campaign. You need more time,” Hyman said. “We didn’t get there in 2016. So I’m a little wiser from the process.”

He gave his stump speech to a small crowd. It exudes liberal values tailored for the everyman: health care as a basic human right, a living wage, investment in children, better infrastructure, sustainable energy, affordable college and environmental conservation. “Protecting the earth has very little to do with Democrats, Republicans, liberal or conservatives. I think it cuts across the aisle,” he said. “I think that people when they hear that, they react to it.”

Fair taxation is another issue on his mind. “It is possible to responsibly fund investments for America” he said. He uses European countries as examples of how to properly execute taxes and the levels of liberalism they’ve reached. “The conservatives in Finland are where Bernie Sanders is.”

The 7th District was created following the 2010 census. It was considered a swing sector in 2012 after Thad Viers, former state representative dropped out of the race. Rice was elected in 2012, with 55.5 percent of the votes, and has held the seat since.

He has not officially announced candidacy for 2018 and his regional and Washington, D.C., offices did not have information on the congressman’s plans Wednesday.

Hyman is confident he can win the votes needed in the eight-county district. “How do you establish credibility with the working class or African-Americans,” he said. “You have to show them where you’ve been.”

The son of a California newspaper man, Hyman is the black sheep of the family. He eschewed the family business and went into education. He has taught sociology at Coker College in Hartsville since 1986. Before that he taught at the California Institute for Men, a medium security prison in Chino, Calif. He was arrested for protesting at the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in 1981. When you’ve exhausted all the legal actions possible, that’s when you get arrested, he said.

An academic who studies the development and structure of a functioning human society, he felt drawn to run again after seeing unrest in the population during and following the 2016 election. “Most big changes in the country have come from the bottom up, not the top down,” he said. Americans can’t forget the Bill of Rights was created because of public reaction to the Constitution. Every big movement in American history has come from the people. “It’s the public saying, ‘we’re sick of what’s going on and we’re going to try to bring about some change.’”

The bottom is where Hyman is starting again. His campaign will not accept donations from big businesses because he believes a candidate “cannot serve two masters.”

During the 2016 campaign, which was only nine months long, he asked for opposition research and was essentially told by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi that once he raised $700,000, and showed a poll that indicated he could win, he would be a worthwhile candidate.

He hopes that changes in leadership within the national Democratic Party and at the state level will help his chances. “The national party can be convinced to have a 50-state strategy,” he said. “I think they’re not that far from it.”

His old supporters are still out there and ready to help Hyman in 2018. Canvassers should be in the field by the end of summer. This time around he looks forward to, “talking more with the public and raising issues of importance,” and plans to find new supporters and really get out there this time.

“I think people are listening more closely now,” Hyman said.

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