Ryan Thompson, Democratic candidate for State House of Representatives, District 106, kicked off his election campaign celebrating his 22nd birthday, on July 6, 2022 in Myrtle Beach, SC.
He is featured on this special South Carolina Elections Edition of the Lean to the Left podcast, and is candid about the challenges and the uphill battle he’s facing, demonstrating a “never quit” spirit that is sure to take him a long way in his career.
Ryan grew up as a gay kid subjected to the bullying and disrespect that came with that. When he was just 11, his father passed away and despite his grief, he pitched in to support his family, creating handmade pet toys and selling them online and at a local flea market. Ironically, when he was old enough, he landed a job at a Chick Filet, not exactly a bastion of sexual tolerance, but one that eventually got him a scholarship for college.
Ryan was born and raised in Murrells Inlet, S.C., and has called Horry County his home for his entire life. He graduated from St. James High School in 2018 and recently graduated from the College of Charleston Honors College with a degree in Political Science.
Now, Ryan faces another big challenge — seeking public office as a gay Democrat in a deep red South Carolina Republican stronghold. But, he is passionate about his hometown and is convinced he has a real shot. And, if he succeeds, he plans to make a real difference as a state legislator with zero ties to special interests. Every bit of his modest campaign war chest comes from individual donors, not developers or others with a financial stake in legislative decisions.
In fact, Ryan has been involved with local politics since he was 17, working on campaigns across the state, meeting with voters and listening to their needs.
In high school he was involved in theater, swim team, student government, and future business leaders of America, and then, in his senior year in college, this budding young politician was elected Student Body President.
Ryan also was a student representative on the Council for Higher Education and is passionate about ensuring all South Carolinians have access to a quality education. He will be an unyielding advocate for educators in the state and is currently pursuing teaching opportunities in the community.
Ryan Thompson represents the type of individual we so badly need in public service today. We need his youth, his enthusiasm, his determination, his caring, and his practical common sense that was developed during those tough times on Medicaid and food stamps.
Here are some of the questions posed to Ryan on the podcast:
Q. Tell us why you are running for the state legislature at such a young age and in an area where the odds so heavily favor the Republicans.
Q. You’ve fought the odds all your life, right?
Q. What is it about politics and the opportunity to serve that attracts you?
Q. Do you feel that your youth is an advantage or disadvantage – and why?
Q. Same question about being gay. Running for office here in SC, is that an obstacle for you, or doesn’t it matter?
Q. If you’re elected, what do you want to achieve?
Q. What do you see for your future? Even higher office?
Q. Are you enjoying your experience as a candidate?
Q. It costs money to run for office. You clearly do not come from a wealthy family. Where is the money coming from?
Q. Are you being taken seriously by your opponent?
Q. What’s your elevator speech to the voters of your district? Why should they elect you?