Florence woman announces run for governor

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - On Thursday afternoon, Florence resident Marguerite Willis announced at her home she was running for governor.

Although Willis is from Greenville, her ties to the Pee Dee run deep. Aside from living in Florence for nearly two decades, her husband is former Florence Mayor Frank Willis.

As a business attorney in Columbia for many years, Willis said she brings a fresh mind to South Carolina's toughest issues.

"On my website it says, 'If it's easy you don't need me,' because I am a tough problem solver," Willis said. "We got tough problems to solve and I think my real world experience in the courtroom and working for business will really help me run this state more effectively and more efficiently and more fairly."

Education, job creation and healthcare, including supporting medical marijuana, were some of those problems she mentioned in her speech.

Willis said a teachers' shortage is one of main issues on her agenda.

"Our teachers are struggling. We have a teacher deficient and no teacher should have to buy their own Crayons and paper for their classroom," Willis said. "We're better than that in this state and we can find the money."

Finding the money starts with figuring out where that money is going. Willis said tackling financial issues is another top priority if elected.

"I'm going to find out where the money is being spent. I'm going to find out, is there waste? Can we eliminate waste? I want to lower taxes," Willis said.

While figuring out how to better the state, Willis said she will not forget about the Pee Dee.

"It's hard to bring good jobs and new industry there, but it's not impossible and so as I said I'm going to focus like a laser on this part of the state because there are people here who need and want better jobs," Willis said..

She also talked about women's empowerment, showing off her 'girl power' sign from the 2016 Democratic National Convention, which landed her on the front page of The New York Times. She believes it represents the foundation of her leadership.

"I've got to assume this role and I've got to be an equal leader, so a leader for equal rights and equal pay, particularly for women, is very close to my heart," Willis said.

This will be her first campaign for an elected office. Filing for the South Carolina Governor's race opens next month.

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