By Stacy M. Brown
Sen. Marlon Kimpson has represented the 42nd District in South Carolina since 2013.
Like so many others, he has never seen anything like COVID-19.
The Morehouse and University of South Carolina Law School graduate has remained busy fighting to help local African American businesses survive the pandemic.
“I’ve been listening to business owners, particularly with respect to African American businesses because, out of the $1.9 billion South Carolina has received, I think it would do a disservice not to have a carve-out for African American businesses in light of the COVID numbers that play a major role in our communities,” Kimpson said.
The senator continues to collect data and work with Diane Sumpter of the Business Development Agency Business Center to figure out appropriate allocations for African American businesses.
“I intend to offer up carve-outs for African American businesses,” Kimpson declared. “We know that over 95 percent of Black businesses were denied federal Paycheck Protection Program loans.”
Kimpson noted that the only way to make it through the current crisis is with “strong crisis management.”
“We are in a pandemic,” he reflected.
“The reopening of businesses was a poorly implemented plan that would have lasting implications because it was not well thought out. For businesses to rebound, we must first attack the issue of public health. Not until then will we be able to open our businesses permanently, and businesses will have the opportunity to have some consistency.”
Kimpson offered his understanding of businesses’ desire to reopen.
“I understood their predicament. However, we need a longer-term approach, and my fear is by reopening we were going to be where we are today, which is a level of uncertainty not consistent with sales for businesses,” Kimpson said.
“We will have to bite the bullet and do the hard work. We’ve had a failure of leadership at the top in Gov. McMaster, who would rather placate political interest than the vital interest of public health. That’s where I am.”
Kimpson added that he’d spoken regularly with top infectious disease doctors, keeping abreast of the virus and its spread.
“The doctors are on the front line, and they share first-hand experiences dealing with people hospitalized,” Kimpson stated.
“Our hospitalization rates are the highest ever which is causing a strain not only on employees in the health care system but also a strain of resources at our emergency care facilities, intensive care units and other places where intensive care is required,” he said.
“As a result, people suffering from other emergencies cannot get proper treatment or the appropriate amount of time because of our staff having to put out COVID fires. This has been a colossal failure by the state not handling this crisis, and as a result, we all suffer.”