By Stacy M. Brown
Jennifer Clyburn-Reed might someday consider a run for office, but right now, she said she’s on a fact-finding mission to determine her next steps.
However, what’s most important to the daughter of legendary South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn is that voters select someone who demonstrates the will of the people.
“My dad is a strong influence in my life, but if you take a look at my social media, it’s bigger than politics,” said Clyburn-Reed, the middle daughter of the Democratic congressman.
“I’m on a fact-finding mission. One of my pages is ‘People over Politics, Service over Self,’ because if you are not taking care of the people who go into that voting booth and push that button for you, then what’s your purpose.”
Clyburn-Reed noted many today are vocal about not continuing their support of those who aren’t going to represent their interests.
“Now people are not going to put individuals into office who are not going to be true representatives. At this juncture in our country’s culture, we are at a different space, and to me, it’s a great space because those who are in it for the right reasons and going into it for the right reasons will have longevity and success,” Clyburn-Reed said.
“In my mind, motive matters.”
While she’s currently not committed to running for office, Clyburn-Reed said she’s processing how best to utilize her skills.
“There’s a lot of things I see and things I’m working on right now, because the people need it,” Clyburn-Reed stated. “Look, if you’re hungry now, do you really want to wait until I’m running to solve your problems or learn right now where the avenues are and where the connections are so you and your family can eat right now?”
An educator for 28 years, Clyburn-Reed said she’s dismayed that non-educators are attempting to force schools to reopen despite a rise in coronavirus cases.
Clyburn-Reed has taught and coordinated the Advancement Via Individual Determination – or AVID – program at a Richland County middle school.
The program counts as a college preparatory system designed for students with academic potential who may be first-generation college attendees in their families.
Clyburn-Reed also served as an Education Specialist at the South Carolina State Department of Education, a school district literacy coach with S.C. Reading Initiative, English language arts department chair, and mentored novice and second-career teachers.
She said U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos isn’t an educator by trade and certainly should seek counsel from qualified professionals.
“Another tragedy coming out of COVID-19 is that our children have been out of school since March. The elected officials in charge right now are not educators, which is problematic for me as an educator,” Clyburn-Reed submitted.
“The decisions and mandates attempting to be made that are coming out of the mouths of business people and not out of the mouths of experienced and trained educators is a problem if you want to expedite children going back to school.”
“It is disheartening that the Washington bureaucrats in charge, particularly in charge of education at the national level, have not consulted an educator at all to talk about how to best role out returning to school.”
Clyburn-Reed pushes agriculture to solve many of the problems facing people of color and America as a whole.
“The root of the problem is how we grow the seeds and bear the fruit,” Clyburn-Reed said. “Agriculture is so important. Even our animals we grow and slaughter for food. As long as we do that more healthily, we can grow healthy, eat healthy, and be healthy.”
Additionally, healthy eating could eliminate the need for most medicines. “The obesity problems we have in our state are astronomical right now. Look at the underlying conditions. If we can rethink how we grow and produce foods, we don’t have those underlying conditions.”