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!

  • James Preston 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.”

  • Kathleen Hinson 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.”

  • Thomas J. Starland 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.”

  • Rose McHale 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.”

  • Janice Wald Friedman 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 25, 2017

A New Era of Economic Prosperity in South Carolina

No matter which side of the political aisle you fall on, even if you consider yourself an Independent, the number one issue voters care about, according to a recent Gallop poll, is the economy. To me, this comes as no surprise. The economy is legitimately the glue that holds together and supports the remaining issues. We need to usher in a new era of economic prosperity and participate in the global economy.

There has been a significant economic paradigm shift from the 1950's and 1960's to today. We have transitioned from a manufacturing and agrarian based economy to one based on service. Decent well-paying jobs have been taken away from many good hard working South Carolinians. These jobs have been replaced with robots and microchips. This is generally good for large corporations as they can manufacture on a larger scale for a fraction of the cost. This situation is good for them, and not so good for the average worker.

The same issue occurred on the agricultural side. Farms and farmers were able to cultivate and harvest exponentially more yield at a fraction of the cost. Many farms became more specialized and instead of growing a multitude of crops, they now only grow one or maybe two. This led to smaller farms not making a profit, given the cost of doing business was actually greater than the larger farms. These farmers were ultimately forced to either sell their land or now subcontract to one of the larger corporations and now only grow what they are told they can grow. This has led to the steady decline of our rural communities.  

The transition from a manufacturing/agrarian type economy to the service economy has been abrupt. Individuals, families, and business have struggled to adapt. This is not their fault. Regulations have been slow to change. Other regulations have been implemented without reviewing previous ones. The tax code has not changed fundamentally since 1986. Common sense solutions are required to strengthen our local economy, make government work for the little guy and for us to participate in the global economy of the 21st century.  

Here are a few of my solutions to get South Carolina's and the 112th district economy strong and prosperous:

·         Economic development via green energy. 21st century issues require 21st century solutions. South Carolina has the potential to be an industry leader in the production of green energy infrastructure. We can incentivize these businesses to relocate to our area to manufacture photovoltaic cells and solar panels, turbines for harnessing wind energy, tidal turbines and related infrastructure. These companies can offer good jobs and decent wages to the workers and contribute to the tax base.  We can offer these businesses tax incentives, access to our port for international shipments, and rail access. This creates an atmosphere which allows business and residents to not only make end meet, but allows each to thrive.

·         Encourage the construction of a large indoor farmer’s market. Each of the communities in the district either already has a one day per week farmers market or is considering the development of one. There are also several other one day per week farmer’s markets in the greater Charleston Metro area. The demand is sufficient to support the construction of a larger sized farmers market in the area. This will benefit not only the local growers, it will benefit local bakeries, our fishermen and women, meat producers, artisans, sweetgrass basket-weavers, and any others who wish to participate. This allows them to also tap into the many tourist dollars that currently they are not receiving. Finally, this also has the added benefit of our own children and families having a mostly inexpensive and cost-effective means to meal plan and eat healthier, rather than obtaining their sustenance from the local fast food chain or massive supermarket chain. This reduces the burden on our healthcare industry by attacking the obesity epidemic where it lives, by putting fresher, healthier meals on our kitchen tables.     

·         Support for small business and entrepreneurship. The biggest roadblocks for small business and entrepreneurs has and will always be taxes, regulation, and fees. At the state level, we need to draft and support legislation that strengthens our small businesses, allows them to thrive, and removes stifling regulation and costs that hold them back. This includes providing incentives to the small, family growers to strengthen our rural communities.  Small business and entrepreneurship is the backbone of our economy. The stronger we can make them, the stronger the economy will be. This is the bottom line.

·         Removal of restrictions on casino gaming. Currently, we are excluding a $500 billion dollar per year industry from our state. In states of our population size, where casino gaming is allowed, they are seeing between $300 million and $900 million per year injected back into the state. We can no longer afford to pass up on funds of this size being infused into our state. As a part of this proposal, I suggest we do it carefully and methodically. I do not casinos suddenly popping up everywhere the eye sees. I would propose we allow 3 casinos to be built within the state. One in the upstate, one in the midlands, and one in the Lowcountry. This would boost our already thriving tourist industry and create many good paying jobs.

Everything is cyclical. You cannot talk about the economy without talking about jobs, healthcare, the environment, or education. Every single one of these issues is interlinked. A robust economy that works for everyone, is in the interest of everyone. The changes from the 20th to the 21st century economy were swift, and we need to be able to adapt to these changes in order to make South Carolina a shining example of what can be done on a national scale.

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

  • James Preston 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.”

  • susie smith endorsed

  • Cyn Ava endorsed

  • Cyn Ava endorsed

  • Kathleen Hinson 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.”

  • Christine Drury endorsed

  • Katie Preston endorsed

  • Thomas J. Starland 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.”

  • Wendy K Bassett endorsed

  • Rose McHale 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.”

  • Janice Wald Friedman 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.”