Meet Michelle Brandt, running for House of Representatives in South Carolina’s 114th district
Michelle is running against another first time candidate for an open seat, so she is hopeful about her campaign! Her goal in running for this position is to increase the Democratic presence in the House and protect the rights of the people in her state.
Michelle has a background in environmental science working as an environmental health and safety specialist. When she decided to have a family, she then dedicated all of her time to taking care of her children. There were a few things that sparked Michelle’s journey towards running for office. After the unjust murder of George Floyd in 2020, Michelle felt the urge to run for office to make sure that these tragedies do not happen to any more people. She became motivated to make changes and act on her desire to create something better for the people of South Carolina. Around this time was when she began volunteering in downtown Charleston at a food distribution center. It was here where she met a man who needed food but did not have a fridge in his public housing to keep anything perishable. This didn’t sit right with Michelle, and she decided she would be the one to create change instead of standing by while injustices continue to happen. After this incident, Michelle began attending city council meetings. At these meetings, she saw that there were not many women or people of color representing her and her community members. This got her thinking that many people’s needs were not being represented nearly enough—and she felt as if she could be the one to change that. Michelle is ready to be the representation that the people in her community need.
We learned that around and within Charleston, traffic is a huge issue. Michelle pointed out to us that issues like education and affordable housing are all connected to the traffic issue. Here’s why: There isn’t enough affordable housing around Charleston, so many people commute into the city to work. On top of that, public education lacks funding so many parents will go out of their way to bring their children to better schools, which adds to the congestion. We also learned that there aren’t nearly enough school buses which would greatly reduce the amount of people on the road, especially during school hours. Michelle want’s to find practical solutions to these problems. Michelle aims to increase funding for schools so that teachers can be paid a live-able wage, class sizes can be reduced, and children will have a better chance at success.
In order to increase availability of housing, Michelle proposes that the government introduces incentives to fast track starter homes. She also believes they should create a renters tax credit, change zoning laws, and end bans on townhomes and apartments. Michelle recognizes that Charleston is a beautiful, historic community but she says there are still ways to get creative about housing without disturbing its beauty. Flooding is another issue in this district because of low lying land in the area. Michelle says they need to be more mindful of how they build homes there and focus on building houses supported by beams, not dirt. She says that the latter can actually make flooding worse. She let us know that floods will be far less devastating if we build homes to be resistant to the possible damage. Healthcare is another focus on Michelle’s as she wants to require transparent pricing from all healthcare providers. She also wants to bring more hospitals and clinics into rural areas where they need better access to health services—especially in case of emergencies. Protecting women’s reproductive rights is also greatly important to Michelle as recent events have threatened these rights.
Michelle told us that Charleston is a beautiful place full of troubling, deep history. She believes in the power of young people and diverse groups to lead the charge in making sure that South Carolina is a more equitable place for all people. That’s her goal for the future.
Michelle is actually the winner of Mrs. South Carolina Cosmos 2022! She does pageants as a fun, side hobby when she is not campaigning. Her most recent pageant had a focus on community service and she says it was amazing to meet other like minded women and express her love of beauty and fashion!