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

Shoring up our Healthcare System and Addressing the Opioid Epidemic

Healthcare is life or death. It comes as no surprise that this issue is hotly debated in various circles, regardless of political ideology. One part of this issue that needs to be addressed at the onset is that the words “insurance” and “care” are not synonymous. The first is a market driven initiative based upon risk from which profit is derived. Care is much more complex and involves provision of what is necessary to maintain wellness and health. Much of what is legislated regarding health insurance and care is done at the federal level. There is an equally important role state governments play concerning health costs and providing access to affordable coverage.  

These are some ways at the state level we can begin to ensure proper coverage and access to all the residents of the 112th district and the State of South Carolina:

·         Incentivize health and wellness. Currently hospitals receive funding in a manner similar to that of the hotel and resort industry. The more people fill up their beds and rooms, the more funding they receive. This methodology of doing business is fundamentally flawed. We keep costs down, reduce the strain on employers, and keep people living better for longer when we can incentivize and promote wellness. If hospitals and healthcare institutions reduce the amount of recidivism into the system, It puts and keeps money in the pocket of the average taxpayer. This only makes sense no matter which side of the aisle one sits.

·         Addressing the opioid epidemic. Whether one wishes to admit it or not, this nation has an opioid problem. This state is not immune from the epidemic. We need to make Naloxone (brand name Narcan) available to every single first responder on the street. We need to revise the laws to make LPNs and RNs able to administer this drug when they suspect an opioid overdose without having a written physicians order in place prior. Community health and addiction services centers should have this drug available to administer on the premises at all times. Naloxone by itself is not an answer. It simply saves the life of an individual who overdoses. It is not a miracle tincture. Addiction services available to people who have experienced an overdose, who are at risk for overdose, and those just wishing to straighten out their lives and remedy their addiction should be afforded this care at a low or no cost. The cost of incarcerating these people is significantly higher than affording them treatment. It is also the moral obligation of a citizenry to help our fellow (wo)man.

·         Expansion of Medicaid. This is a very hotly contested topic, and has its supporters and decorators on both sides of the argument. My position is somewhere in the middle.  At current if an individual earns just less than $15,000 a year, that person earns too much to qualify for Medicaid. That’s a travesty. If this person has a $1,000 per month rent, they have just $3,000 annually left to keep the lights on, pay water and sewer tax, pay for food, etc. At the end, they are left with nothing to pay for health coverage. This just isn’t right. I propose taking a systemic, utilitarian, tiered approach to getting these individuals covered in the Medicaid “gap”. I first propose to raise annual eligibility income to $18,000 for the first year. Then raising income eligibility by $4,000 per year until the gap has been filled in. The reason for this is to see exactly how many individuals who are eligible will obtain coverage, and since the federal government supplements Medicaid at 90% reimbursement, it isn’t one big hit to the federal budget. This also gives us time and ability to make adjustments as necessary depending on what happens at the federal level.

·         Provide affordable access to coverage. This is the starting off from point. Access should never be equated with coverage, because for so many, access by itself is cost prohibitive. Increasing availability increases competition in the marketplace. This drives down cost. This is another win-win for both sides of the equation because the insurance companies have increased competition which in turn benefits the consumer by driving down rates.

A wise man once said to me “it doesn’t matter who is right, what matters is what is right”. This is the approach I take to healthcare. This can and needs to be done on a bipartisan basis. Again, this is a complex issue with many moving parts, and entities entangled within. What we have to do is start seeing the forest for the trees and stop equating coverage with care. Each is mutually exclusive. Many plans currently offered do not have much care built in. Care is not dependent on having coverage. No one side of the debate has the panacea for healthcare. We need to work together on a bipartisan solution that benefits all South Carolinians.

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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.”