"I will sing for joy when my heart is heavy, Yes I will. We are working things out, Yes we will." I heard these words sung at my church the other day, and my heavy heart lifted a bit.
Over the last few years, many of us have come together under different banners. Movements, campaigns, and organizations have come and gone in my life for a wide variety of reasons, but one thing has remained constant for me.
My constant is my heart's desire to help others, to lift up the voices of those who have not been heard, to speak for those who need to be spoken for, and to stand with all who share my desire to make a better world. As an advocate, I've helped people make empowered choices regarding their health care challenges for over a decade. As an activist, I have fought for the expansion of Medicaid and I've stood for the rights of immigrants all across our state.
Yet I find a calling to do more placed on my heart by a much higher power. This has opened the door for me to move forward into the next part of my life's story. The book of my life is far from over. This promises to be the best chapter yet, and I'm inviting all of you to help write it.
As of today, I am announcing my candidacy for Governor of South Carolina. The election is in 2022, and the road to victory is a long one — but this is a journey worth taking. I've chosen a slogan for this campaign that I think represents my belief why I can be a good leader for this state...
"I see you. I am you."
I know I am not a politician, I've not held public office before. Yet I don't think that's a problem. I've lived a full life, I've known great love and even greater sorrow. I've helped save lives, and I watched people that I love as they die. I have a heart capable of empathy and an endless supply of compassion for others.
I believe that what we need the most in our elected leaders are people with a lifetime of experiences that connects them with those they seek to represent. I believe it is the lack of this connection in our current political arena that has caused many of the problems our country and our state now faces.
Join with me. You'll get to know more about me, my background and my qualifications along the way. More importantly, I'll get to know what's on your hearts as we move forward together. That's what will shape this campaign's platform.
I'm inviting you to join me in my effort to make South Carolina a state where people are known by their willingness to care for each other, not by their desire to elevate themselves.
Together we can make this a state where people are known for their ability to find common ground, not by the distance others create among us using fear and greed as their weapons.
And when we are done, people all across the country will know our state as the place where people are known for the size of their hearts, a state where people care for the least among them.
Together, we will sing for joy when our hearts are heavy.
Together, we will find a way to work things out. Together, for I can not do this alone, nor should I even try.
My name is Gary Votour, and I approve this message.