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Susan Hutchinson joins Clyburn Fellowship Class of 2019

By V. Susan Hutchinson.

A few weeks ago, HCDP Chair Don Kohn encouraged me to apply for the 2019 James E. Clyburn Political Fellowship. I had no idea what it was about and when I found out, I thought he was crazy to think I would actually get chosen. Nevertheless, I sent in my application, which included letters of recommendation from Don and HCDP First Vice Chair Barbara Hake.

Susan HutchinsonThe SCDP chooses at least one representative from each of the 46 counties in the state, plus up to 4 additional fellows. To my surprise I was chosen to represent Horry County. The only one. Whether I was the only one who applied or just the only one qualified, I consider it an honor to be part of this group.

Reading the fellowship objective, it says the fellowship provides leadership, policy and campaign training to young professionals. I was expecting to be the senior member of this class and was pleased to see that this year they decided to have as diverse a group as possible. This year’s age averages about 40 with at least 4 of us over 60. It was also nice to see that I am not the only novice.

Volunteering for HCDP has given me an opportunity to use my skills as a trainer; however, although training in general is generic, you need to adapt it to the specific subject. I lack the knowledge of what it takes to run a successful campaign and be a political leader. Participating in the Clyburn Fellowship will allow me to pass this expert knowledge on to others as a trainer for Horry County candidates as part of the HCDP Candidate Training program.

Although I have no desire to run for political office myself, my goal as a Clyburn Fellow is to ultimately be a provider of knowledge and to help develop the skills that candidates need to turn Horry County blue. As a manager in my previous life I was always proud to see professional growth in my employees through training, mentoring and encouragement. Now, hopefully, I will be able to stand back and be proud that I have helped Democratic candidates get elected so they can do the right thing for the state of South Carolina.

A huge shout out to Don, Barbara and everyone in the HCDP for their support and encouragement. I will need it over the next 10 grueling months!

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