Eleazer R. Carter, 49, has announced plans to run as an independent candidate for the Senate District 36 seat in the November general election.
Carter, who was born and raised in the Ram Bay community, is a graduate of Scott’s Branch High School. He’s also a graduate of South Carolina State University. He attended Georgetown Law School and graduated from the University of South Carolina’s School of Law. While in the Navy, Carter was a member of the Seabees and attended electrician’s school in California. While in law school, Carter joined the Air National Guard and did a tour of duty in Saudi Arabia. After becoming an attorney, Carter opened law practices in Columbia and Manning, simultaneously. His partner in the Manning practice is Brenda Reddix-Smalls.
Carter and Smalls have a general practice including court-appointed criminal cases, personal injury and worker’s compensation cases.
Carter also served on the Clarendon School District 1 Board of Trustees for 13 years. He’s a trustee at Taw Caw Baptist Church and he’s been an active member of the Clarendon County Democratic Party. He was elected the county’s Democratic Party chairman in January and was re-elected its chairman in March.
“I’ve always been interested in the Senate,” Carter said recently. “I remember it was 1978 and Sen. (John) Land and someone he was going fishing with stopped at a service station where I was with a few friends. I saw the tag on his car and I thought ‘now that can’t be a senator.’ I had to learn the difference in a state senator and a U.S. Senator.”
Carter said his interest in the Senate revolves around the fact that the Senate is “responsible for a different set of things” than the House.
“The Senate is a smaller group that gets legislation done,” he added.
While he’s been interested in the Senate, Carter said he would never run against a “cornerstone” like Land.
“When he gave notice that he wasn’t going to run again, it took a few days to get over the shock and I was yes, no, yes no. I was hesitant because there was a short time span to raise the money to get my name out there.”
Carter said before deciding to run, he talked to people about his chances.
“A lot of people thought it was a great idea, but you can’t let that make your decision,” he said. “There are a lot of good candidates running and I decided that I needed to get in on it.”
Carter said in making his decision to run, he didn’t want to split the community or cause any dislike among the citizens.
Carter said he wants to run on his platform and get his ideas out to the people in District 36.
“Education and jobs are a priority,” he said. “We need education financing for our schools. If our students are well educated, crime tends to be less. Well educated students make better citizens.”
Carter also said that District 36 needs more jobs.
“We need more trade job plants,” he said.
Carter also said that healthcare is a major issue in District 36.
“If you don’t have jobs, you don’t have healthcare,” he said. “We need legislation that would allow small groups to partner together for more affordable healthcare.”
Carter said the Senate needs people with negotiating skills.
“You must have great negotiating skills particularly if you’re in the minority party,” he said. “You have to know how to give and take and that’s something that all lawyers know how to do. Lawyers have great negotiating skills.”
Carter also said he believes the higher level of education that lawyers have will also be an asset in the Senate.
“Having a higher skill level, academic level, will benefit your negotiating skills,” he said. “Lawyers are able to understand the complicated laws and while they might disagree, they’ll be open to negotiation and through negotiation get things done.”
More parental involvement in a child’s education is of paramount importance, according to Carter.
“Parents need to be more involved. Every parent needs to visit the school and attend PTA meetings. They need to take their children to church,” he said. “When a person makes the choice to have a child, they need to accept the responsibilities that come along with that choice.”