Democratic candidate Willie Wilson visits Walterboro | News | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | February 26, 2016 12:24 pm
Dr. Willie Wilson brought his campaign through Colleton County Thursday, but he was more interested in gathering information than votes.
Wilson, the often overlooked third candidate in South Carolina’s Democratic Presidential Preference Primary Saturday, had his staff make two last minute additions to his campaign trail Thursday afternoon.
As he was headed to a town hall meeting at Penn Center in Beaufort County, he added visits to the Safe Haven homeless shelter, operated by the Lowcountry Community Action Agency, and the Colleton County Academy.
As Wilson was pulling off the interstate, Arlene Dobison, director of the Lowcountry Community Action Agency, and Colleton County Sheriff R.A. Strickland were waiting to greet him at the homeless shelter.
Strickland has been a supporter of Safe Haven since participation in the Leadership Colleton, a year-long program that gives residents an in-depth knowledge of their county. The members of his class, he explained, decided to undertake repairs to the homeless shelter as their class project.
Strickland and Washington said that Wilson, a Chicago entrepreneur and philanthropist, wanted to learn about the operation of the center. They were happy to oblige because Wilson heads a foundation that funds similar programs.
Wilson is taking a non-traditional path on his race for president. He is funding his own campaign because he opposes the special interest and corporate finances that pour into presidential races.
Wilson also wants to reform the prison system, create equal pay for women and eliminate student loan debt.
There are no television camera crews following Wilson’s every step, and he has not been invited to participate in the televised debates of the Democratic candidates. His name has not appeared on all of the early state primaries and caucuses. For the most part, the Democratic hierarchy has ignored his bid for office.
That’s because, he suggests, he calls himself an anti-tax Democrat. He believes his bid will gain more support as voters begin seeing him as an alternative to the main candidates.
When Wilson announced his bid for the presidency approximately a year ago, nearly 20 prospective candidates were being talked about.
As the primary race came to South Carolina, the race was down to three, Wilson, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Martin O’Malley is also on the South Carolina ballot but he withdrew from the race after the ballots were printed.
Wilson grew up in poverty in Gilbert, La., and ended up in Chicago in 1965.
He went from mopping floors at a Chicago McDonald’s to owning and operating several of the chain’s franchises in Chicago.
In 1987, Wilson sold his restaurants and turned his attention gospel music, owning a television production company, Willie Wilson Productions, performing gospel music with the Norfleet Brothers, producing gospel albums, and producing and hosting “Singsation!,” a half-hour weekly television gospel music.
In 1997, Wilson founded Omar Medical Supplies, a distributor of disposable products for the medical, industrial and food-service businesses.
Wilson entered the world of politics in 2015, making an unsuccessful bid to be elected the mayor of Chicago.
Wilson received a Doctor of Divinity degree from Mt. Carmel Theological Seminary, a Doctor of Humane Letters from Chicago Baptist Institute International, Honorary Doctorate in Humanitarianism from Swisher Bible College and a Doctorate in Humanitarianism from Denver Institute of Urban Studies and Adult College.