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

Supporting and defending our environment

Living here, we are blessed to be surrounded by the natural beauty the area has to offer. From the coniferous forests, just away from the coast, to the maritime forests of our barrier islands, and of course our beautiful sandy shores on the North Atlantic. They are the reason so many are flocking here from around the world to vacation. They are the reason the area is always listed in travel magazines as being a must visit vacation destination. They are the reason many from across the nation relocate to the area. Protecting these natural resources not only makes us good curators of our planet and guardians of their beauty, it is in the best interest of our economy to defend, conserve, and protect this environment.  

From the statehouse, the best ways to achieve the protection our area deserves are as follows:

·         Municipal Autonomy. The fact of the matter is that an assemblyman or assemblywoman in the statehouse from the Midlands or Upstate does not have a full grasp of the challenges and full effect of decisions made in the general assembly, and how they impact our area. The people best equipped to make decisions about our local area are the local governments and elected officials.  The most recent case of this was the “plastic bag ban”. Closely reading this legislation reveals it had nothing to do with plastic bags, but was a bill designed to remove authority and autonomy from local governments and preserve the authority at the statehouse. This is fundamentally flawed, and just doesn’t make good sense. We need to empower our municipal governments, not usurp their autonomy.

·         Investment and encouragement of Green Energy. Not only does this make sense in attracting more jobs, for similar reasons it makes sense from the conservation standpoint. The more we transition state owned buildings, public schools, mass transit systems, and encourage homeowners to convert to the use of renewable energy to meet their electricity and fuel demands, the less we pollute and damage our environment.  It is also the fiscally responsible thing to do. The State, school districts, and regional transportation authorities will spend less taxpayer monies covering their electricity, fuel, heating and air-conditioning needs. This savings can then be either reallocated toward other state or local needs, or can be passed on to the taxpayer in the form of tax savings. For the homeowner, we can provide incentives beyond ones that are currently available, transitioning homes from energy consumers to energy producers.

·         Protection of our coastal waters. There has and will continue to be much debate over whether it is in our local, state, and national interest to begin the process of exploring and extracting any petroleum products from the Atlantic Coastal Shelf. I am opposed to any such exploration or extraction. The risks greatly outweigh the benefits. First, an oil derrick or two which may be visible from our beaches is an eyesore. This takes away from the beauty of the area. Second, should any type of incident involving the spillage of petroleum products occur off our coast, the economic impacts will be devastating. There will be the cost of cleanup, which many will argue will be at the expense of the drilling company, however, there are ancillary impacts as well. The container ships which frequent our ports would be subsequently rerouted to other ports, as they cannot sail through an oil slick. This impacts local businesses supported by the ports, it impacts other state businesses who receive goods through the container ships of the port, and it increases the cost of doing business if it takes longer for items to come in, or shipped items need to be rerouted through other transportation needs. This is just the impact felt on behalf of the port. There will be impact to the tourism industry, fishing industry, and marine wildlife, just to name a few. Third, there is already a better way of generating electricity and fuel that has been identified. Renewables achieve the goal of energy independence and energy choice without the added risks of fossil fuels or petroleum products. Renewables aren’t just the future, they’re the present.

·         Expanding the use of mass transit. If you look at my positions on how we can supplement and expand our current transportation and infrastructure system, it should be clear that this plan will have a net positive effect on the environment and our pocketbook. A higher usage of mass transit and the use of fuel efficient technologies to provide that transportation, cuts down on CO2 and other pollution related emissions that are released into our atmosphere. 

In short, transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy is the fiscally conservative thing to do, while providing protection to the environment, and adding the benefit of individual municipalities retaining their autonomy. It’s really a win-win all the way around. 

 

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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.”