SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) — Yvonne Julian (R) is a candidate for SC House District 25 in Greenville County. She was born in Atlanta, grew up in Chicago and worked most of her life in California. This fall, she’s hoping to apply those broad experiences to provide fresh leadership to her district in the general election on Nov. 8.
The following interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
What changes would you like to happen in your district if elected?
Well, first of all, I would like to see people get more be more involved in making their decisions about the problems. I’d like to get input. I’ll use an example, we have a number of abandoned buildings. I would like to see that change.
But then I’d like to have people tell me what other changes they would like to see. What are the problems besides the abandoned buildings? We know that there’s a crime issue in the rural areas.
That’s why the involvement of people is so important. I’m not a believer in global solutions because they don’t address everyone’s needs.
I’d also like to see a better infrastructure plan for all the development that’s going along Fork Shoals.
There’s a lot of wonderful development. But I look at one street which is Fork Shoals Road that goes down past the Michelin plant, and there’s just housing going in on each side. And all I am thinking is, “how are these people going to get out and get to work?”
There are no stoplights and just a few stop signs.
What are some of the things that are happening in Greenville that you would like to try in your district? Are there things that other politicians have implemented that you’re interested in duplicating?
Yes, particularly concerning our schools.
What I would like to do is get more parents at school board meetings so they understand what’s going on.
What are some of the issues that you feel most strongly about in general?
I would say the lack of interest of the political class in knowing the people. I think there’s a lot of lack of touch of the overall political group with its constituents. That is a really big concern.
So educating people gets me excited. Basically, giving people something they can use to make better decisions.
Do you have a different perspective coming from another state that may benefit your constituents if elected?
I think one of the benefits would be not only coming from the outside, but also my background, because if you look at District 25, it has a wide range of economic levels.
So being a person that grew up poor, but then moved into the middle class, I think that helps me kind of understand.
Then coming from a poor family, I think I understand that there’s no one-fits-all solution. People are poor for different reasons.
What are some of the things that you learned while campaigning?
What I’ve learned from individuals is that it’s not a one-size-fits-all district. The other thing I’ve learned is that a lot of people are really turned off and just not interested in politics.
The level of political apathy is kind of interesting, and it’s because people just don’t see the connection to their everyday lives. I try to tell people now that as big as the government has gotten, you shouldn’t call it “politics” because it’s really what you can see at the grocery store. You know, it’s what you pay for.
Politics has entered so many phases of our lives that if you are disinterested, you’re basically letting a lot of other people make decisions for you.
Do you have a strategy for bringing those people to the polls?
I think if you message correctly to people, you can excite them. It’s different messaging.
It’s really about messaging to the people. It’s not about the party. It’s about in a way that touches their lives and it’s relevant to their experience.
I see that most of the political actual political class has really lost touch with the people and they frankly, don’t need to be connected because they can get elected without doing so.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and why did you decide to run in this election?
I was born in Atlanta. My family is part of the migration from the South to the North. We ended up in Chicago. I grew up there in a very famous housing projects called Robert Taylor Homes. It was a huge development. Back in the 50s and 60s it was popular to build massive housing projects. So that’s where I grew up. I went to school there. It was pretty segregated. Chicago, interestingly enough, was a pretty segregated city in those days.
I went to high school and college there and then got a job in California and spent most of my career there.
What brought you to Greenville?
My mom was aging and she was by herself she’s a widow and a sister with a mobility illness.
So we said, we’ve got to find a place where we can all be together that’s affordable. So anyway, I had a spreadsheet. I had all of these requirements, and Greenville was the only city that met all of them.
We came up on Mother’s Day weekend of 2015. We bought a patio home for my mom and sister in Rolling Green Village. My mother said, “I don’t know what heaven is like, but I think this is the closest I’ve ever been to it.”
Then a couple of months later, I bought a place for myself and moved out. My youngest sister came to visit with her family. Then they moved here. So here we’re all here.