I am Joe Preston. I am a 37-year-old husband and father. I live on Isle of Palms with my wonderful wife of 15 years, Katie, and our two sons.

Many will say the 2016 election was a huge motivating factor to get them more civically engaged. My story is not very different, but the motivation is different. When I stepped up to the voting booth to cast my ballot, almost every position at the local and state level ran unopposed. When I went back to research why this was the case, I found the only challenges these incumbents faced had been from primary challengers. I found this to be wholly unacceptable. This is why I have decided to run for office in the South Carolina House of Representatives, to give people options so that the selected candidate represents our voices. 

I’d like to begin by telling you a little about me and my family. My wife Katie and I have been married for 15 years and we are the proud parents of two rambunctious 9-year old boys. Prior to becoming parents, Katie and I served as foster parents for children with complex medical needs. Then in 2007, we adopted our boys after struggling through 5 years of failed infertility treatments. The boys have been in our care since 2 days and 6 days old respectively, and every day I am extremely grateful for them.

As for my education and career, I have a high school education with some college. After high school I worked odd jobs, such as retail, door to door sales, and as a manager of a small business. I found myself working much of my adulthood with adults with disabilities and mental processing delays. I helped them with household management and taught them skills in the vocational arena. At age 19 I filled out an application for my local volunteer fire department. I was voted in and spent the next 13 years juggling the demands of my job, my volunteer work, schooling for the fire service, and my family. While in the fire service, I rose through the ranks becoming a Lieutenant in 2001, and finally a Captain in 2008, which put me in command of a group of 25 firefighters and officers. I also had the responsibility of overseeing and directing resources at various types of emergencies, and I chaired the fire department by-laws committee.

I left the fire service in 2011, and moved my family from CT to SC. When we arrived in SC in 2011, I was working 60-hour weeks managing a national brand. Unsatisfied, I decided to go back to school in 2013, for nursing, and became a full-time student/stay at home dad. My GPA after returning is a 3.7. I have also enjoyed coaching my sons' soccer team here on the island for the Recreation Department.

I may lack direct political experience, however, for too long we have been represented by career politicians, special interest groups, and big money lobbyists in our state capital. The current state of corruption is one that is untenable. There needs to be a culture shift in Columbia. We need to take a stand, and tell them we will no longer accept treatment like this from our elected officials. Our voices can and will be heard. This is not my campaign, it belongs to all of us. United, we can be the change we seek.

This will be a long and tough fight. The deck is fully stacked against us. My main opposition has held public office in one form or another for 25-years. The district boundaries have been drawn in such a way that the politicians are choosing who votes for them, rather than we the people choosing our representation. We, together can overcome this overwhelming opposition, and rise to defend the rights of all South Carolinians, including but not limited to ensuring there are an abundance of good jobs, protection for our environment, quality education for our children, rebuilding our roads and bridges, ensuring affordable access to healthcare for all citizens, fixing our broken criminal justice system, and kicking the corruption out of government, including an end to radical gerrymandering.

As you can see, I am just a normal person who wants to do extraordinary things for our state and our district. I have a similar upbringing as most, I don’t come from wealth, I attended public schools. I am you. The ability to send a normal member of the public to sit in the offices of the state capital is one of the things that makes this country great and unique. Nowhere else in the world is anything like that even possible. We can make anything possible. We just need to do it together. I look forward to your support, and I look forward to being your voice.


Show your support for this campaign by endorsing it and sharing why!

  • endorsed

    “I whole heartedly endorse Joe for representative of South Carolina, not because he's my son, but because he is a no BS kind of person who won't be bought by anyone. Reading about his thoughts on the Charleston area and how to improve the lives of real people who live there, are straight forward and not politically oriented.”

  • endorsed

    “He is one of us. It is time to have a regular common sense citizen in the State House. I am not in his district (wish I was), but I will be donating, because SC needs him.”

  • endorsed

    “I endorse Josef Preston as an elected official not just because of his background, but for three main reasons - he’s not rich, he’s not a lawyer, and he doesn’t work for the Insurance Industry. We have enough of those people serving their special interest now. He has done a great job serving as a leader of the Indivisible Charleston group. It’s time we had some regular “Joes” serving in these offices.”

  • endorsed

    “I endorse Josef Preston because he has worked tirelessly on behalf of preserving our democracy, upholding the Constitution of the United States and for the rights of all people. He will be the voice of the people.”

  • endorsed

    “I support Josef Preston because, as a founder of Indivisible Charleston, he has shown himself to be a successful and intelligent leader. His values mirror my own, and I believe that, if elected, he will do an outstanding job for his constituents and all citizens of SC.”

April 19, 2017

Bringing South Carolina Schools back from the bottom

A quality public education is the cornerstone upon which the foundation for success in life is derived. This is a fundamental right that should be afforded to all students, regardless of background, socioeconomic status, or zip code. At current, our statehouse is failing our children and young adults. South Carolina ranks dead last in education in the United States. We need to prepare our students for success in post-secondary education. This is an issue which I take personally. I have two small children who are currently receiving an education in the South Carolina Public School system. To say I’m invested in education would be an understatement. I am also cognizant of the fact that we cannot solve these problems simply by just throwing more money at them and hoping they’ll fix themselves. There is no magic, silver bullet that will fix our education system. These issues didn’t manifest overnight, and will not be fixed overnight.

Einstein is famously quoted as saying “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, while expecting a different result”. The current state of the education system in South Carolina personifies this definition. To make things better and start our public education system back on the path to prosperity will involve a systemic, multifaceted approach. It will require the federal, state, and local governments working in tandem to provide adequate funding and oversight.

Here are some of my suggestions on how we strengthen our education system:

·         Hire more teachers and pay them a competitive wage to reduce classroom size and ensure the best and brightest are teaching our students. Studies have shown that once a student to teacher ratio drops below 20:1 that students perform better and achieve higher standardized test scores.

·         Supporting STEM-A focused curriculum. Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Arts education provide the best opportunity for our students to transition to post-secondary education and ultimately makes them better citizens once they transition into the workforce.

·         Bring back the trades. Students who struggle academically need to be prepared to transition to the workforce immediately after high school. It is incumbent upon us to provide these students with the necessary tools to ensure their success. Woodworking, metal working, CNC – AutoCAD, Autobody and repair, small engine repair, auto mechanic, and welding trades should be offered to our students to ensure the smoothest of transitions into the workforce.

·         Support municipal autonomy. Most local school districts know best what are items of most concern and ultimately are the best equipped to fix issues once they arise, as they are the folks on the front lines.

·         Make two year colleges and technical schools tuition free. The last thing a student needs once they graduate from one of these institutions is crushing debt. As these students enter the workforce, they immediately begin contributing to the tax base as well. Attending post-secondary education tuition free should come with a couple of prerequisites:

o   First, that the student stay in state for the length of time they attended post-secondary education tuition free, to keep those tax dollars in South Carolina. Should they move, they will be responsible for paying back the state of South Carolina for any remaining tuition payments.

o   Second, if a student does not graduate, they have and additional two years to graduate from the institution, or they will be responsible to pay any tuition funds used at the institution.

As said previously, there is no magic bullet to fix our education system. However, these approaches will start to close the gap in education and get our state and district back on the path to prosperity and progress.

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Show your support for this campaign by endorsing it and sharing why!

  • endorsed

    “I whole heartedly endorse Joe for representative of South Carolina, not because he's my son, but because he is a no BS kind of person who won't be bought by anyone. Reading about his thoughts on the Charleston area and how to improve the lives of real people who live there, are straight forward and not politically oriented.”

  • endorsed

  • endorsed

  • endorsed

  • endorsed

    “He is one of us. It is time to have a regular common sense citizen in the State House. I am not in his district (wish I was), but I will be donating, because SC needs him.”

  • endorsed

    “I endorse Josef Preston as an elected official not just because of his background, but for three main reasons - he’s not rich, he’s not a lawyer, and he doesn’t work for the Insurance Industry. We have enough of those people serving their special interest now. He has done a great job serving as a leader of the Indivisible Charleston group. It’s time we had some regular “Joes” serving in these offices.”

  • endorsed

    “I endorse Josef Preston because he has worked tirelessly on behalf of preserving our democracy, upholding the Constitution of the United States and for the rights of all people. He will be the voice of the people.”

  • endorsed

    “I support Josef Preston because, as a founder of Indivisible Charleston, he has shown himself to be a successful and intelligent leader. His values mirror my own, and I believe that, if elected, he will do an outstanding job for his constituents and all citizens of SC.”