xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement

O'Malley could get a boost in South Carolina

I was having breakfast at a pancake house in Chesnee, S.C. and heard that former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley was somewhere in South Carolina, too, but when I asked the folks sitting next to me, they said they didn't know who that was. That's too bad because the people here represent a lot of people in real America, and they are looking for a candidate who can continue the road to greater access to health care and economic opportunities for all Americans ("O'Malley to return to South Carolina," Jan. 29). I drove past long-closed textile mills on my way to breakfast from my grandparents' hometown of Cowpens. BMW has led a major surge in auto manufacturing here, but the state still saw a 1 percent increase in unemployment in the last half of 2014. Folks here are anxious and they are undecided. These are fertile ingredients for a politician like Mr. O'Malley if he really wants to be president of the United States.

The residents of my home state of Maryland have been well represented by Sen. Barbara Mikulski. Years ago when I was a young House staff member, I was winded trying to keep with her in the halls of the Capitol. We were happy when she "integrated" the Senate swimming pool in defiance of a former South Carolina hero, Strom Thurmond. Senator Mikulski was denied access to the Senate pool because the men swam in the nude so no women were allowed. One evening, she notified the pool staff that after changing into a bathing suit in her office she was heading for the pool. It's a shame that in the pre-YouTube era, there was no posting of the octogenarian Senator Thurmond diving into the pool before the 4-foot, 11-inch dynamo from East Baltimore arrived on deck.

Advertisement

Maryland has a deep bench of candidates who can attempt to fill Ms. Mikulski's shoes, and it's good that Mr. O'Malley has decided to leave the contest to others. With the presidential elections less than two years away, no candidate of either party has shown the bold leadership America needs now more than ever. I remember speaking with my mother from Columbia, S.C. on a January night in 2008, following the South Carolina primary victory of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. As a child arriving at the Spartanburg train station in the 1960', I would drink from the better maintained "white" water fountain. My mother, a native South Carolinian would laugh, but cautioned that I could get into trouble. My great-grandfather, a land-owning black man of substance, was never allowed to vote here in the Palmetto State. This state has changed dramatically since I spent summers here as a child. Senator Thurmond was once a staunch segregationist. Today, his seat is occupied by Tim Scott, an African-American. Another African-American, James Clyburn, represents the state's 6th Congressional District. It was his victory in South Carolina that propelled Mr. Obama to the White House.

If I were Mr. O'Malley, I would come on down. The grits are very good here and the road to the White House for an underdog may very well start in South Carolina.

Roland Nicholson Jr., Spartanburg, S.C.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement