"Wake up, Everybody" is his campaign slogan, and he means it. He says it's the duty of all citizens to serve their communities, and that's why he's stepping up to seek election to the SC House.
On this special South Carolina edition of the Lean to the Left podcast, Carson talks about the need for a fully-funded public education system, affordable healthcare, political accountability, and more.
In fact, Carson advocates taking advantage of the energy, determination, and imagination of our young people.
"Get it to the kids and let them figure it out," he says. "Coastal Carolina has some great students there. They're smart, energetic, and they got a brain that's wide open. Let's use those people. Let's use those smart people to get the rest of us outta trouble."
Carson says children in early grades should automatically be taught a foreign language. "Why is it that we're the only nation in the world that only speaks one language?" he asks. "Let's try something different."
Blasting Republicans for constantly criticizing, Carson asks "What is their plan?" He challenges his opponent to show up and debate. "I give you my ideas on education and on infrastructure and on the environment," he says. "What is yours?"
Carson is a Vietnam War-era US Army veteran, education, youth corrections officer, and a former union leader. He's lived a life full of service to his community, and he's not done yet.
Lean to the Left-Episode 510-Ernest Carson for SC House 68
[00:00:00] Bob Gatty: Hey, welcome Carson. Thanks so much for joining us today on the special edition of the Lean to the Left podcast for Horry County, South Carolina. Tell us a little bit about yourself a little bit about your background, Carson, and why you decided to run for the district 68 seat in the South Carolina State House of Representative.
[00:00:20] Ernest Carson: I have been recruiting people to run for office for the last 20 years since I've been here in Horry County, South Carolina. I'm always asking people to run for office. I'm always seeking the best person that would represent the Democratic Party. And recently, I would say this spring, I was asking a minister that has a church on 10th Avenue and I asked him who I thought was quite eligible and who was quite knowledgeable and seems to have control of all his factors.
[00:00:58] Bob Gatty: That's
[00:00:58] Ernest Carson: Always a good. [00:01:00] He said, I'll run if you run. So here I am. Here I am. My background is I was in the service for three years during the Vietnam era.
[00:01:10] , up there and started my college for my teaching degree and I didn't quite finish. I had family to take care of, so I went into corrections just for a couple of weeks to get my bills paid. And it, that couple of weeks lasted 25 years. .
[00:01:29] Bob Gatty: You were you were in New Jersey at the time, right?
[00:01:33] That's correct, yeah. And it was the, as I remember, the Burlington, was it the New Jersey Department of Corrections? And the Youth Correctional Institute in Bordentown, New Jersey, which is just south of Trenton, for those who aren't familiar with the state. And what did you do there exactly?
[00:01:52] Ernest Carson: I was a correction officer.
[00:01:54] I, I did several different jobs in correction, Incorrections, just being a [00:02:00] correction officer. I ended up my career there in the training department, which also allowed me a few times to go down to the police academy and teach. So that was always fun.
[00:02:16] Bob Gatty: Carson the work that you did in the in corrections, did that have any, does that have any bearing on any of the stuff, any of the things that you would like to accomplish if you win this election?
[00:02:33] Ernest Carson: Not at all. No, not at One of the things that I learned in correction was you evaluate each person as they are. Okay. And that was the best college I could ever have. People are people. And I believe in this country. I think I got brainwashed when I went into the service. . Yeah. And all the other good things that go along with it.
[00:02:58] The best country in the [00:03:00] world. And you never know how good you have it until overseas. We have it so good in this country. Taking that experience while was working incorrections and in the Army, I believe that this country. Can be more than what it is right now. So that had more ofa bearing.
[00:03:23] Bob Gatty: Understand. Do you feel that things are fair in terms of police reform and. And the way individuals are sentenced in this country
[00:03:35] Ernest Carson: there, That's an awfully big word. That's an awfully big word.
[00:03:40] Bob Gatty: Yeah, I know it is. What I'm thinking about is I've seen statistics about the. Difference between races of people who are incarcerated and not just in South Carolina, but all over this country. And I've interviewed a lot of people on my podcast focused on [00:04:00] that.
[00:04:00] Is that anything that is of specific concern to you or not? If not, it's fine.
[00:04:06] Ernest Carson: No it's a concern. That's a nationwide talking. Yeah, it's, yeah. We could do a lot better. As far as policing goes. Yeah,
[00:04:15] my superintendent and a social worker to DC to get a grant for our institution. . One of the things that they were focused on was how police actually react to situations. , I was the only officer in the crowd of, Okay. It had to be, it had to be two representatives from each state, or three representatives from each state, but there were no officers there.
[00:04:41] Ok. So when it was my turn to speak . I could tell from the ground up and we did get the grant. It's tough being a police officer. Its toughest job in the world, Uhhuh. And you cannot teach any human being how not to be scared, same thing [00:05:00] when you were in the service, Uhhuh , and you put that bullet by your ear and you're just glad that you could hear it and not feel it.
[00:05:06] Oh man. Yeah. People can do better if we are judged by our peers and the laws are equal. , and it's, my whole law professor used to say the law is fair and the law is just, You just gotta be on the right side of justice. Yeah. It's a hard job. So defunding the police or my view on the police, I think there should be an, especially here in Horry County, in District number 68, there should be more and they should fair salary, something they could live by.
[00:05:41] So if they won't be corrupted, the much development as we have going on, as we speak. , my goodness, we're gonna have to have more police, more fire. Sure. And we're gonna have a lot more than we have right now. I do not for moratorium on building. But think there we [00:06:00] should have a plan in which I haven't seen it.
[00:06:03] should. The plan to police more and be more equitable,
[00:06:12] Bob Gatty: and the infrastructure just goes along with that. Since you brought up
[00:06:17] Ernest Carson: The environment is, I'm lucky where I live at. I am lucky. The last major flooding that we had here in Horry County in my section the d used our facilities to help everybody else because we're so much above ground.
[00:06:37] Right down the street at Rosewood. There was totally underwater there, there should be a plan. The plan for me would be, If we were to drudge out the interal waterway every 10 years during the census, we wouldn't have these problems. And if that didn't work, we got some of the best colleges and [00:07:00] universities in the nation.
[00:07:01] Get it to the kids and let them figure it out. And I bet you they give them the opportunity to do be more than a student. Coastal Carolina has some great students there. They're smart, energetic, and they got a brain that's wide open. Let's. Let's use those people. Let's use those smart people to get the rest of us outta trouble.
[00:07:24] Bob Gatty: I like that a lot. That's really great. . Now you brought up Coastal Carolina, and so that brings us to education. Back in New Jersey you worked in education, specifically community education. Your platform. Your platform says everyone should have access to full funded public education. What do you think needs to be improved in public education in South Carolina?
[00:07:48] Ernest Carson: Carson, let's start with E, the above. .
[00:07:52] Bob Gatty: Okay.
[00:07:53] Ernest Carson: All the Above. From what I have read, The only thing that's taught to our [00:08:00] students through the students in school right now,
[00:08:02] use to our children in the top ten of this nation. If we can make it better by working together , how are we gonna make it better in education? My, If I had my way
[00:08:18] I would start by having a test program with people that are in pre-first and we will use the kids from Coastal Carolina. The kids, there's going to be teachers and they would, a part of their curriculum would be actually go to school and get these pre first and first graders, and they would be taught a language from that point on.
[00:08:45] For example, a pre first student walk in, the first person he would see were the person that would speak Spanish or French. Ok. And he would learn that. Okay. From the arm, and then the next person would be math and coding. Okay. He would [00:09:00] learn that and it would continue, and this would be bred embedded in their core.
[00:09:06] Okay. Why is it that and we just discuss how old we were about, Yeah.
[00:09:12] Bob Gatty: You
[00:09:14] Ernest Carson: repeat songs that we learned in the sixties, word for word,
[00:09:21] Bob Gatty: You've got that right .
[00:09:23] Ernest Carson: So those things were embed embedded into us the same that we can. Those children for their tomorrow. Why is it that we're the only nation in the world that only speaks one language? And we do that very poorly also. Yeah. Change. Let's try something different. Yeah.
[00:09:43] Bob Gatty: You're right, Carson.
[00:09:44] I see news reports on, on, on tv from African countries and those people there speaking English. Correct. They have an accent, but they're speaking English. And our reporters go there and they can only [00:10:00] speak English. They can't speak the language of the nation where they are.
[00:10:04] And they That's a wonderful idea that you have. Absolutely
[00:10:10] Ernest Carson: wonderful. We have the right person that's gonna be the superintendent of schools.
[00:10:15] Bob Gatty: Yeah, that's true. Yeah.
[00:10:18] Ernest Carson: Tie her ideas with ours. , I said let's make a let's get a commission, not us old folks, but let her get a commission of a couple of people from coastal, a couple of people from Clemson, a couple of people from, and sit down and say, What tomorrow should be, Because those kids have just got outta school.
[00:10:38] Yeah. They knew. They know now what they miss. And that's make a curriculum outta that, not out of how to pass the test. Yeah.
[00:10:47] Bob Gatty: You know what, Carson, the way I see it is that you might, you might not be a spring chicken here, but you have some very young ideas and yeah, and I think the people need to start paying [00:11:00] attention.
[00:11:00] Ernest Carson: My chicken has been in the oven a long time. ,
[00:11:02] Bob Gatty: One of the things about it is you, while you have. You have great, innovative ideas. They come from wisdom of being what you've been for your whole life. And we need to take advantage of that kind of thing. Now another issue that really bothers me Carson, is the fact.
[00:11:24] In so many ways, it seems like the Republican Party is going after our freedoms. Women face that people of color face that people who just want go after work and vote face that. Our Democratic candidate for Governor Joe Cunningham says, freedom is on the ballot. Do you agree with
[00:11:45] Ernest Carson: that?
[00:11:45] 100 percent. And what we as Democrat, so has never challenged the Republican to their Yeah. What are, what is their plan? So why is it so difficult for [00:12:00] me to vote right? Why it we signed the declaration of we, this Declaration of Independence signed in 1776 and ratified
[00:12:10] From that date . Until 1900 to even ask for the right to vote to even, and then it took 21 years to get that right. Years. So it took me another , 65 years for that to come to pass. Yeah. For me to get the right to vote. The Republican party has never answered for that. So why don't we ask them.
[00:12:36] Why? Yeah. There's still, nobody has never asked them for atrocities
[00:12:43] hundred and 19 Congress only passed bills to get judges to where they wanted. Why? , why isn't that healthcare isn't a priority to Right? Why isn't that education is not a priority
[00:12:56] now? For example, this [00:13:00] discussion with my opponent. , just gimme some answers. , why is it being negative? It's so important to you. I give you my idea on education. I can give you my idea on, I give you one idea on infrastructure and our environment. What is yours?
[00:13:18] A I don't like.
[00:13:20] Bob Gatty: That's all
[00:13:21] Ernest Carson: right. If you're tomorrow, your tomorrow has gotta count. Yeah. And let's be like other countries when old folks like me should be laid back, Shut up, . And the young people should be running this. But if I can't get your ideas, if I can't get your, the reason that you oppose everything down on paper, what good are we? Because all you say is nothing. You always look for my roles and are try to sway what I say in another direction.
[00:13:54] Bob Gatty: And they attempt to impose their own ideological will on everybody else too.
[00:13:59] Ernest Carson: [00:14:00] Yes. So why, Yeah. What is, What are you afraid of? Yeah, good question. You have, you had those guys in 1790 were some special.
[00:14:12] They were special. Yeah. You do you realize how they wrote those words? And they have lasted all this time and they are still right. Are there changes? Yes, they are. And so should those changes, yes, we should. But the rest of the world is looking at us like, Wow, we wish we had it like that. Yeah. And right wingers and the far left wingers, the symbol of our country is the.
[00:14:43] This aerial predator in the world, the bald eagle . Did you ever see them fly without both wings?. That's,
[00:14:52] Bob Gatty: in this in this area it seems to me like the Republican party is sitting back on their [00:15:00] haunches going, We got this under control. We run this show. It doesn't matter what the Democrats do, they don't have any chance. And what happens is, New people move into this area.
[00:15:13] People from people who are traditionally Democrats and they hear this stuff and they hear this stuff about how the Republicans run the show, and so there's no chance, there's no reason to get involved. What are your thoughts
[00:15:26] Ernest Carson: about that? My thoughts about that is, is what has happened during these last two years.
[00:15:33] Yeah. Joe Biden. Joe Biden has passed major legislation for everybody major legislation on keeping us afloat when he gave us that first stimulus check. He's made major strides in on the environment. Yeah. Pete Buttiege has got the Department of Transportation on Key.
[00:15:53] Yeah. So let's ask those people that, Let's ask the people [00:16:00] that vote what's important to them. Yeah. Now, one of the things that always has puzzled me is that they always have their polls. Their polls show this, and their polls show that. , they only call people that have home phones. Ask of college kids, as anybody ever call them on their cell phone. Ask a college kids, whether or not it's important to them to get their education and they wanna have something to say and who has called them to even ask. But when they put out their polls, Yeah. They only get the older people and what they think and they're influenced by the television.
[00:16:37] They sit there and look at. How can the Dems stem this? How can the Dems, how can the, How can we show them what we have done? Our record speaks for itself. And one of the things I think the president is doing is correct. He's taking credit. He's taking [00:17:00] credit for everything he's done. Yeah, he should. And you keep putting commercials on and say, We've done this and we've done that.
[00:17:09] I would just take step
[00:17:12] Iry County District is
[00:17:15] South House or Representative District number 68. What's my job? , what do you want me to do? Because up until this, Nobody could give you an answer to that. There was no job description. There's no set time because right now I thought the Senate and, but they're her back take aways rights special.
[00:17:40] Just take away her rights to lie Just because. Just because they can. Now what are the ramifications? Nobody is making them answer for it. Yeah. If a lady has a tubular. A tubular pregnancy, Yeah. She has to have the child. She [00:18:00] has to die... Yeah. Nobody is asking the Republicans, They're asking the doctors, should a doctor go to jailing up for his Hippocratic oath?
[00:18:09] , somebody has got the answer these questions. Striking down by the Supreme Court v Wade. Everybody is making that a major issue. I don't think that's the issue. The issue is Why hasn't Congress made minorities a part of America. The Constitution says all men are created equal and they define men as white. So if you wanna make an amendment to the Constitution, which I would love, why not make it all people are created equal.
[00:18:41] And if a woman wants to have an abortion and if I wanna vote, you can't do nothing about it. Cause the Constitution says I can.
[00:18:48] Bob Gatty: You got a very good point there, Carson. Now do you think though, that maybe the Republicans are being just a little bit over confident, Don't you think that a [00:19:00] lot of regular, hardworking, honest, caring people who identify themselves as being Republicans really aren't they just
[00:19:13] a little bit more, I guess you could say, bluer than they might think.
[00:19:18] Ernest Carson: I think a lot more of them think fairly. Yeah. I and the reason I say that is that Democrats, as we're people too, Yeah. We're people too. We can mess up. We can mess up. So this country is made on checks and balances. So we need a Republican party. . Yeah. Yeah. We can, We mess up too. So as long as we can find that common ground.
[00:19:47] Yeah, I think that's, it's have the common ground. Let's have the common sense to say, ok, I disagree with that, but how can we work on it? And we were working cause we're working on it [00:20:00] for the. Of our district, of our state, of our country, we're working on it because this is the right thing to do. And if we did that, if we did it and did it together,
[00:20:12] we'll have the rest of the world joining us all over again. We lost the world for five. We lost the world for four years. It's gonna take eight years to get it back. Yeah.
[00:20:23] Bob Gatty: Carson, in your campaign, you stress that the legislative seat you are running for does not belong to the politicians, but it belongs to the people.
[00:20:33] And you tell people to let you know what they want you to do, and that you'll make it happen. Now, how do you plan to do that?
[00:20:42] Ernest Carson: It's going be hard because we were at Bull and Beef, or Beef and Bull last night on 17. Yeah. For a meet and greet. And a lady in the crowd gave me a flyer Uhhuh that is really and truly she's angry with the people over to the [00:21:00] walk zoo.
[00:21:02] Okay. And because of the way they're treating the animals. And I've been with this flyer in front of me all morning, Uhhuh, . Now that zoo is in my district. Ok. I have made notes upon, I wish I'm
[00:21:16] these people have got to sit there to talk to each other. , yeah. Because the people in the zoo have a right. And so there's does she. I am so glad that somebody is thinking about the animals and the way they're treated. , but there's got common ground someplace, right?
[00:21:33] Finding that common ground is gonna be the key for this one subject. And it's gonna, we gotta try to find common ground for a lot of other things that we agree and disagree. And we can do that. And it's probably be real simple. Yeah. It's probably just one or two sessions together and we can make it happen.
[00:21:53] Yeah. But let's do, it's, let's not just be, so we can't even talk, which. [00:22:00] The Republicans do very well. We're not gonna, I'll tell you, we're not gonna talk about it, mainly because they don't have any ideas to set forth. Yeah. But we're gonna talk, and I'm gonna, I think that's the way, resolve this. If the animals are suffering, maybe it is something that we can do to make the animals better, but I I really do.
[00:22:19] . And I don't wanna see no animal treated cruelly. I don't wanna see no animal, being, I was locked up for 25 years.
[00:22:26] Bob Gatty: What do you mean you were locked up for
[00:22:28] Ernest Carson: years? That's how long I stayed in. That's how long I worked in jail.
[00:22:33] Bob Gatty: Oh, that's how long you were.
[00:22:35] Ernest Carson: Okay, but you weren't on the .
[00:22:40] Bob Gatty: Ok. You're still left. Let's just make sure that people understand it.
[00:22:45] you were on the outside looking in. You weren't on, You weren't on the inside of those cells looking out.
[00:22:50] Ernest Carson: There were a lot of days. If it snowed, I was there for three or four days in a row. Oh yeah. they I was still there. I.
[00:22:57] Bob Gatty: Yeah. A little while ago, you a [00:23:00] little while ago you said that you learned a lot when you were working there.
[00:23:04] What are some of the important points that you learned while you were a corrections officer? That have affected how you are today? Listening.
[00:23:19] Ernest Carson: Yeah. Listening. Listening. There is truth in everything people say. Now. All depends on which way is twisted. . . In order to survive in jail, you had to listen and make sure that you made the right.
[00:23:33] And it went both ways with the inmates that were, the people that were locked up and even with the people that were working there, right? Because an environment can get you swooped up into it. That's all. I worked with the union for years while I was there I was vice president and. And it was, corruption is a, is innate in[00:24:00] give for some reason.
[00:24:02] You just won't lose their jobs. They got caught up. . Thank God that we have laws. And these laws has governed us for the last how many years. And look,
[00:24:20] people emulate us around the world and that people that don't like the way we do things always trying to come over and disrupt us. Nine 11, , there is, there aren't rumors, but there is something happening over. Cuba right now with the sound thing they're trying to do to us.
[00:24:37] And the Russians are still and our Iranians are still trying to make our way the wrong way. And I don't understand that , I just don't understand that's the way they, eventually all people are, were made to be free. And that's not propaganda, that just, it says it in the Bible. Yeah. We can do it.
[00:24:58] We can make it happen. And [00:25:00] we will make it happen. It may not be in my lifetime, but we will make it happen. The people, because we, I believe in the people. We the people, and that's why I ask the people of district number 68 to tell me what you want. So when I can go to Columbia, I can voice their opinion because.
[00:25:19] I can sit here and tell you everything that I like and dislike, but it has nothing to do, is if Miss Jane down the street disagree with me. So I gotta find out, I gotta find out what she disagree with and come to common ground with her. So when I go to Columbia, I can speak for not only her, but my other neighbors.
[00:25:37] Miss Sally.
[00:25:38] Bob Gatty: What happens if Ms. Jane tells you that she wants you to do something that you just totally disagree with and that you think is wrong, but you've made this promise. You tell me what you want and I'll go do it. What do you
[00:25:52] Ernest Carson: do? You do it. What you do is try your best, not
[00:25:55] was, or,
[00:25:59] And we can say [00:26:00] that maybe this is the way you Im a I may be Much of a dreamer, but
[00:26:06] Roten had it right? Had the, the Starship Enterprises going through the galaxy and asking questions, just asking. Why aren't y'all like this? Or why aren't y'all like that? One of the best episodes that early episodes was they had picked up these two delegates from this planet and one was white on one side and black on the other, and the other one was just the opposite.
[00:26:35] And they kept looking at each other saying they were wrong, , and people thought the enterprise was saying, What's wrong with it? It's the same to us. Yeah. Like the Republicans are the same to me. We still want the same thing. We still gotta eat low theory hierarchy. We still gotta do those things.
[00:26:53] We have got find a way to come together, Republican and Democrats and Miss Jane and Miss [00:27:00] Sally, we can find common ground. Ok.
[00:27:05] Bob Gatty: All right. I think. Unless you got something else you wanna say, that's a good way to close this one up. That was great to me. That's my
[00:27:13] I love it. Carson, you are something else.
[00:27:16] Ernest Carson: Okay. Bob, thank you very much for all your work. I really appreciate it.
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