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Senator Katrina Shealy battling 2 candidates to retain her seat in SC District 23

Lexington, SC 06/03/2024 (Paul Kirby) – SC incumbent Senator Katrina Shealy is in a nasty fight to retain the seat she wrestled away from the legendary political scrapper Jake Knotts in 2012. I mention that fight to point out that Shealy has never been one to shy away from a good old fashioned political knock down drag out, and it seems as if this year she is really slugging it out with 2 candidates. One is a Lexington based trial lawyer. The other is a proclaimed missionary, pastor, documentary filmmaker, and activist.


In a recent article written for the Charleston based Post and Courier, Shealy said, “I’d rather run against two Jake Knotts than the elections I’ve seen run this year. People are mean. They are nasty. I have seen things said about me that are not humanly possible for me to have done. People say that I want to kill babies,” she said in that interview.


At the heart of the Senate District 23 election is the question that has been placed in the mind of some voters by Shealy’s opponents. That question is whether Shealy is a true Conservative that votes as a Conservative consistently or whether she is a Republican in Name Only (RINO).


RINOs sometimes vote with the few Democrats of the South Carolina legislature. More often, they vote as they are told by leadership of the House or Senate, often referred to as the “Old Guard” of the Republican party. That group is a very small bunch of older leaders that have gained power over their decades of service. These are the men that really run the state with an iron grip. When an issue finally comes up for a vote, they simply tell their appropriate subordinates which way to vote and then expect them to do that.


For those who don’t follow SC politics closely, they might think that Governor Henry McMaster is the most powerful politician in the state. That in fact is not true. A handful of the Old Guard in both the House and the Senate run the state and decide what legislation will be brought to a vote and who will be assigned to what committees. If you vote against the Old Guard, you can quickly find yourself on an insignificant committee and even have primary opponents run against you that have been hand selected by Political Action Committees (PACS) and Special Interest Groups. These groups not only hand pick and then pay for most of the cost of a challengers campaign, but they also blanket the incumbent’s area with negative, nasty, often half-truths or outright lies by mailers, ads, and text that the incumbent then must defend themselves against.


Look at some of the political mail you’ve received over the last week. If you can read the small print at the bottom, it tells you who sent that mailer to you. Often, it’s not the candidate at all, and the candidates may not even be aware that a PAC or special interest group is either helping or trying to hurt them. During this election cycle, many candidates have no idea who a group is that’s saying nasty things about their opponents or themselves. Some of what’s being distributed is full of half-truths, and some are just outright lies.


Shealy is very quick to say she is no RINO. To defend against that charge, she points to her entire Conservative record, not just pieces and parts of an edited voting history.


Some of the Conservative issues that she says she has led the charge on include the fight against legalized abortions. “I am 100% pro-life,” Shealy said during a sit-down interview with The Lexington Ledger. “In fact, I have the reputation as being one of if not the state’s biggest advocates for children both born and unborn. “I was a sponsor of the Fetal Heartbeat Bill and supported it until it became so different than the original bill we had sponsored and first voted on. It changed to the point that it was stripped of protections that ensured that girls had no option but to carry a baby to term even if they were raped, victims of incest, or their lives were endangered by the pregnancy. It placed the abortion threshold at 6 weeks. For many young girls, this simply isn’t long enough. Many young teens and women have menstrual cycles that are naturally irregular. They may have no signs or symptoms they are pregnant until after that first 6 weeks. How many parents can honestly say they would make their young teen daughter carry a baby to term who was raped by a stranger or a family member, especially if they missed the 6-week cutoff by a week or two. I’m not talking about late term abortions; I’m talking about the difference of several weeks. There were even some members of the legislature that wanted to have the option of charging mothers and doctors with murder and then making them eligible for the death penalty if they had an abortion past 6-weeks! Thank the Lord we stopped that before it ever gained any real traction,” Shealy said. “I support and have voted for a more reasonable ban after a heartbeat is detected with exceptions for rape, incest, and pregnancies that are endangering the mother’s life.”   


Shealy does admit that she voted for state funding to go to Planned Parenthood, but as part of a larger section of the state’s health budget. “We don’t get to vote on a single line item like that. It’s part of the larger state Health and Human Services Budget that includes funding for things like a new Family Health Center in Batesburg-Leesville, support for the Dickerson Children’s Advocacy Center in Lexington, and the Children’s Trust Home Visiting Program, all three of which I sponsored and pushed for.”


Shealy also pointed out that over the past 12 years, she has fought to help reorganize and make the Department of Social Services (DSS) more effective and better at their mission. “When I started working on that issue, the management and work of that agency was abhorrent,” she stated. “Now, we’ve been able to make a difference by increasing the number of foster families available. We’ve also increased the number of adoptions in our state, provided more support for working mothers, and worked hard to curtail domestic violence against both women and men. We’ve also had to change the attitude that all children that have been taken out of a terrible living environment with their biological parents are at some point better off being returned to those adults again. In many cases, their home’s environment may have included both physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. Sometimes, the tough decision to terminate a parent’s rights is necessary because a child simply isn’t safe being with mom or dad again. I believe in second chances but when we start letting a child bounce back and forth between DSS and their parents 6, 7, or 8 times, we’re simply hurting the child at that point.”

Another agency she has been a redeemer for has been the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). At points earlier in her career, she spent so much time working on improving that agency that she practically had an office on DJJ’s campus off Broad River Road. “I fought to see fundamental changes made through that agency to steer it away from just punishment to rehabilitating the kids incarcerated there that were not so far gone they were already lost to a future that included long term incarcerations for the majority of their lives,” she stated.


Shealy even started and runs a foundation called Katrina’s Kids. This foundation helps children in the community that are disadvantaged for some reason. As an example, with drugs ruining our communities, more and more grandparents are raising their grandchildren because their parents are in the grip of addiction or incarcerated. In these instances, a grandparent living on a fixed income may not be able to buy football cleats or other equipment to participate in youth sports. Other examples might include dance lessons, scouting uniforms, or even basic clothes for a child who had to be removed from a home in the middle of the night by DSS. In these instances, Katrina’s Kids would step in and help handle those expenses. “Sometimes children come into the system with just the clothes they have on,” Shealy said. “In a case like that, we may be buying underwear, jeans, a winter coat, and other basics until DSS can place the child and provide necessities.” It’s important to know that Katrina’s Kids is a charity and not supported by taxpayers through the state budget process.


Not just children receive Shealy’s attention. She pointed out during her interview that there’s a new veteran’s nursing home being built in Lexington County. “Veterans have served in the military to protect our freedom. We now owe them the right to a dignified place to live out their days,” she said. Although she is not taking credit for bringing that nursing home here, she has worked on many cases that help veterans be more comfortable and better cared for after their military service.


Other issues she has supported include additional funds for paving in the SC Department of Transportation’s budget. She’s also been a key supporter of election integrity and reform, economic support for families hurt by the worsening economy, and has been a solid NO vote on illegal immigration issues and funneling taxpayer dollars to these illegals. “We really need to continue to work on bringing more high paying jobs to SC next year,” Shealy said. “Currently, because of what’s going on in Washington DC, people’s salaries aren’t keeping up with expenses. Higher paying jobs will help with that to a point.”  


Throughout our interview, you could quickly tell how important women in public service means to her, having served as a past chair of the National Foundation for Women Legislators. She is one of a small number of women who serve in the SC Senate. She is also the only woman in the Senate to head a standing committee, in her case that’s the Family & Veterans’ Services Committee. She is proud of her service, and she’s been recognized for it many times. Shealy was recognized with the 2019 Public Servant Award from the SC Baptist Convention, SC National Guard Association Senator of the year in 2021, and the SC Champion of Children Award from Fostering the Family in 2023, and the National Association of Social Workers in 2024.


One of the most recent Conservative causes that she’s championed is the Second Amendment bill that gave South Carolinians the right to Constitutionally Carry. “I was endorsed by the National Rifle Association after working hard to defeat the Democrats attempts to weaken our gun rights.”


In closing Shealy said, “I have always been and will continue to be a strong Conservative with strong Conservative values. I listen to the people of District 23 and vote the way they say I should. After all, I am not sent to Columbia to do what Katrina Shealy thinks is right, I am there to govern for the majority in this district. With your support on June 11th, I’ll be able to return to the fight next year pulling no punches to fight for your values.”


You can contact Katrina Shealy in several different ways if you’d like to speak to her or ask questions. First, you can call her on the phone at (803)530-8787. Next, you can contact her by email at or She would be grateful to have your support at the polls next Tuesday, June 11, 2024.  









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