Meet the Candidate: Sean Bennett for Senate
Well-known in economic development for the region, Bennett wants to step from the private sector into the public sector.
Sean Bennett will challenge incumbent Sen. Mike Rose of District 38 in the Republican June 12 primary.
"I have been very engaged in the community for years on a number of different levels, and on a lot of those issues I participated in deals with elected officials," Bennett said. "But you can only take things so far (in the private sector) and then you have to hand it off to policy makers ... I need to be able to handle the policy switch to affect change."
Bennett's resume includes: former chair of Charleston Regional Development Alliance, former chair of Greater Summerville/Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce, CEO of Asset Integration Consultants, and former S.C. Army National Guardsman.
With a foot firm in the private sector, some have criticized Bennett. But to those that call him "big business," he wants to sit down and have a conversation with them.
"We're not big business," Bennett said. He referred to his three employees, and added: "Do we look big business to you?"
"They don't know us very well. I've never had a conversation with any of them (claiming we're big business)."
Bennett also joked that Wal-Mart wasn't donating to his campaign. He said on his campaign finance disclosure there is likely only one out-of-state donor: his mom, who resides in Washington state.
"For the most part, all of our funds are donated right here," Bennett said.
Bennett wants to take his private-sector know-how and economic development strategies to the Statehouse. He has centered his campaign on two issues: economic development and tax reform.
"I'm committed to having those conversations," Bennett said. "We're not just going with soundbites, we want to get things accomplished."
Economic development means jobs, according to Bennett.
"That's something this county needs," he said. He added that education is part of his economic development plan, since they go hand-in-hand.
And tax reform means predictability and fairness, according to Bennett.
"Everything needs to be on the table," he said. "It makes the economic environment better."
To accomplish these tasks, which have both been championed by incumbent Rose, Bennett said he will utilize his current relationships in Columbia.
"It's going to take somebody to work with other individuals," he said.
Bennett said his biggest challenge leading up to the June 12 primary is name recognition.
"There's 100,000 people in this district. I've got a lot of friends, but I don't have 100,000 of them," he said. But he added that "people are responding" to his message.
For more information on Bennett, visit his website.