“I will tell you, I fully intend to win this election,” U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris told about 1,200 people gathered at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center during a town hall on Monday.
Harris marked her second visit to Myrtle Beach this year as she faces about two dozen other Democratic presidential candidates.
The crowd, party members and Harris seemed undaunted by Horry County’s reputation as a Republican stronghold.
Don Kohn, Horry County Democratic Party chairman, said the Democrats increased their numbers by 50% in South Carolina during the 2018 mid-term elections. He said Horry County saw a 100% increase of Democratic voters in the same election.
A major issue voters are facing, he said, is gun control.
“Thoughts and prayers are great, but only if they’re accompanied by action,” he said, “action to decrease violence of guns in our country.”
Harris addressed the gun control issue saying if she succeeds Donald Trump as president she will give Congress 100 days to deliver a gun safety bill or she will take executive action requiring universal background checks and take the license away from gun dealers if they violate the law.
Looking at the crowd, laughing with audience members as they interrupted her with cheers, Harris listed several of the cases she handled as California’s attorney general and as a senator. As she rattled off cases involving large pharmaceutical companies and predatory lending by banks, she waved her hand.
“I will tell you Myrtle Beach, we’ve got a predator in the White House,” she said.
Harris went on to list other issues she would tackle including teacher pay raises with a federal investment plan that would close the 11% pay gap compared to others with a similar education working in different jobs.
She also called for an equal pay for women plan that would penalize corporations for not paying women the same annual salary as men. She said if corporations failed to provide equal pay there would be a fine for every 1% differential based on the corporations’ previous year’s profit.
And, she said, she would change the tax code that could lead to a $500 a month check for families earning less than $100,000 annually.
The audience cheered with each pause in Harris’ points, but it wasn’t a total pep rally as one audience member urged her not to rush into universal health care.
Another audience member asked her to discuss her time as a prosecutor.
“I am never going to apologize for prosecuting one individual who molested a child or a woman who was raped or somebody who was killed by murder, “ she said. “Never going to apologize for that because all communities have safety needs.”
One program she cited was focusing on young adult offenders by providing them with jobs, counseling and peer support to decrease the likelihood of the people reoffending.
“I’m never going to apologize for it, in fact be proud of the work that I did,” she said.
Bemoaning her mood since Trump’s election, Harris said she is optimistic about the future.
“Our democracy is intact,” she said. “If you think about it like a house. Yes, we’re kind of experiencing a natural disaster. Some of the shingles are falling off, but the house is still standing. The house is still standing. Part of the reason is we are a nation that was built by the people and for the people and therein lies our strength.”