I've been meeting with the people of Lexington County every day for many, many months now discussing my “Saving Lives” campaign for coroner. As you can imagine, the number one question I get is, "how can a coroner save lives"?
First, some background. Soon after I became Richland County Coroner, I realized that children were thrown around in automobile accidents like tennis balls, and my response was to work with people from around the state to get tougher seat belt laws passed. I strongly encouraged Gov. Sanford to join me in supporting this effort and was also able to testify before our state legislature. The result was that we now have stronger seat belt laws.
When the Red Cross called me and said they wanted to establish a “Tissue Bank”, I went to work statewide. With the help of Coroners from all across South Carolina, we developed a source for these much needed tissues.
I was later honored to become President of the South Carolina Sudden Infant Death Council, as well as to serve on the Child Fatality Committee at D.S.S.. I envisioned and promoted a board of experts to study deaths of children statewide in order to prevent future deaths, and the Children’s Health and Safety Council was established.
While working on all of these projects to save lives, I served as President of the South Carolina Coroners Association seven times, and was able to bring many of the world’s top experts to South Carolina and offer seminars to train Coroners, law enforcement and prosecutors. During those years we were able to get a bill passed that gave simple subpoena power to Coroners, which made it unnecessary to hold inquests in order to subpoena records. This has saved taxpayers millions of dollars.
When political demographics changed in Richland County, I had two choices: leave the Republican Party or no longer be the Coroner. I refused to turn my back on my values and the principles of our party.
Over the ensuing years, I was pleased to be the primary caretaker of my elderly parents living here in Lexington County. After the death of both parents, I found myself drawn back to what I did best, working in public programs to save lives.
I joined the Lexington County Emergency Response Team, became a member of the Board of Directors of the South Carolina Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and last fall I put together a meeting that resulted in “Alive at 25” being offered at Brooklyn-Cayce and Airport High Schools. This program is reducing teenage fatalities on our roads.
When I talk about Saving Lives, I mean it. I have the qualifications, experience, the health and the passion to serve and to raise the bar for what is expected from our coroner’s office.
Together we can work together to make Lexington County the safest place to live and travel. I ask that you join me in this quest.
Frank E. Barron, III , West Columbia
Barron is a Republican candidate for Lexington County Coroner.