FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW )– On Tuesday, a special election will decide who will serve as the state senator for much of Florence and Darlington Counties.
Republican Mike Reichenbach and Democrat Suzanne La Rochelle will be on the ballot.
Reichenbach stresses the importance of economic development, while La Rochelle aims to tackle mental health.
Reichenbach owns three car dealerships. He served as chairman of the board for the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce, and has been a commissioned law enforcement officer for more than 20 years.
“I felt called to bring a business voice, to promote job creation and economic development,” Reichenbach said. “That’s what we have been here, is a job creator, and that’s what I see my passion as.”
La Rochelle is a clinical social worker and former teacher. She served as a board member for the League of Women Voters and is a founding member of the activist group Action Together – Pee Dee.
“As a social worker, I want to save lives,” La Rochelle said. “I want to improve the quality of life for the most disenfranchised, and I want to do that by investing in people.”
News13 asked both candidates how they plan to address some of the Pee Dee’s biggest problems, like gun violence and poverty. La Rochelle said results hinge on investing in mental health.
“Quality mental health could make South Carolina a much better state,” she said. “Addressing mental health needs will also address issues of poverty.”
Reichenbach said more jobs and educational opportunities are his favored solution.
“We need good, solid paying jobs that people can raise their families on,” he said. “Any job or business that relocates to another state is one that we could possibly get here in South Carolina.”
News13 asked the candidates what they had to say to undecided voters.
“Look at the person and what that person brings to the table,” Reichenbach said. “If you look at District 31- Florence, Darlington, the Pee Dee, what we need is more economic development and growth.”
“I consider myself an expert in mental health and education, and that’s what I will bring to the Senate,” La Rochelle said. “I will advocate for the most disenfranchised people in South Carolina.”
The Senate seat has been vacant since Sen. Hugh Leatherman’s death in November.
Count on News13 for the latest on the race.