The South Carolina Democratic Party (SCDP) and H Code will be honoring democratic leaders following the 10th Democratic Presidential Debate in Charleston, South Carolina. “We’re pleased to host such an inspiring group of Democratic leaders who are working tirelessly to better our community and the country,” said Trav Robertson, Chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party. “We look forward to honoring several members of our community for their leadership here in South Carolina. We’re grateful for our partners at H Code, who are generously sponsoring the event, as our organizations share a similar mission to bring more diverse voices to the forefront of positive change in this next election.”
“We’re proud to be supporting The South Carolina Democratic Party in recognizing these esteemed Democratic leaders,” said Maylin De Leon, Director Of Brand Development, H Code. “It’s crucial that our country’s leaders reflect the incredible diversity seen within US citizens, and these honorees have all made major strides to affect change in their community.”
“H Code was founded to underscore the importance of diverse audiences and elevate the voices and influence that stem from these communities,” said Parker Morse, CEO, and Founder, H Code. “We’re happy to be working with the SCDP to celebrate the progress being made in our shared mission.”
H Code will be recognizing these guests of honor with the Changemakers in Democratic Diversity award for their impact and leadership across South Carolina.
Columbia Mayor, The Honorable Steve Benjamin
Since being elected mayor in a record turnout election in April 2010, Mayor Steve Benjamin has made it his mission to create in Columbia the most talented, educated and entrepreneurial city in America. In addition to serving as Mayor of Columbia, Mayor Benjamin also served as the 2018-2019 President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and as Chairman for Municipal Bonds for America, Member of the Federal Communications Commission’s Intergovernmental Advisory Committee, Member of the Accelerator for America Advisory Council and Co-Chair of the Mayors for 100% Clean Energy campaign. Mayor Benjamin is married to the Honorable DeAndrea Gist Benjamin, Chief Administrative Judge (Common Pleas) for South Carolina’s Fifth Judicial Circuit. The two are the proud parents of daughters Bethany (14) and Jordan Grace (11). Follow Mayor Benjamin on Twitter and Instagram: @SteveBenjaminSC.
Elias Valentin II, SCDP Hispanic Caucus Chair
A native of Greenville, Eli Valentin II is an Upstate Democratic Party leader and strategist who most recently served as the political director for Presidential hopeful Kamala Harris’s campaign. Prior to this position, Valentin coordinated Democrat Tina Belge’s special-election campaign for state Senate in 2019 that resulted in a narrow defeat in a heavily Republican area of western Greenville County. Today, Valentin serves as a co-chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party’s Hispanic Caucus and is a leading Democratic activist in South Carolina.
Evelyn Lugo, SCDP Hispanic Caucus Chair/Founder, SC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Mrs. Lugo moved from Puerto Rico to Greenville, South Carolina and found many Hispanic business owners experiencing problems interacting and doing business with the rest of the community. Looking for ways to help the business community, Mrs. Lugo found that there was no Hispanic Chamber in South Carolina. In August 2007, she founded the South Carolina Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She hopes her legacy will be an inspiration for people to see the importance of getting involved in the community and realizing that no matter how small the job, the impact can be tremendous. In addition to her position as President of the South Carolina Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, she also serves as a co-chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party Hispanic Caucus and has been an active Democrat in South Carolina for years.
Mayra Rivera Vazquez, Beaufort County Democratic Party Chair
Mayra Rivera-Vázquez was born in Puerto Rico and grew up in the small city of Caguas, where she got involved in politics at a very young age. In Puerto Rico, she was a county deputy commissioner of her county in Puerto Rico, and also served as the sub-secretary of the Puerto Rico State election committee commission. She served as a community organizer and a member of her city’s community affairs advisory board. She moved to Bluffton six years ago when her husband got a job in the Lowcountry. She joined the Beaufort County Democratic Party in 2015, and became an active volunteer working with elections, fundraising, and getting out the vote. In just three years, she became the chairwoman of Beaufort County’s Democratic Party and the first Latina chairwoman at the South Carolina Democratic Party. Since becoming chair, Rivera-Vázquez has worked hard to help elect Joe Cunningham to the U.S. House of Representatives, and this year has been at the forefront of organizing campaign visits by Democratic Presidential hopefuls Julian Castro, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Andrew Yang, Beto O’Rourke and Kamala Harris. She’s also a member of the Lowcountry Immigration Coalition and is on the board of directors for Hilton Head Regional Habitat for Humanity.
Antjuan Seawright, CEO of Blueprint Strategy
Antjuan has led many extensive grassroots and strategic efforts for political clients at the national, state and local level. He has advised campaigns for Governors, US Senate, US Congress, State Legislature and other down-ballot races. He also worked for the 2008 and advised the 2016 Presidential Campaigns for Hillary Clinton, as well as the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), South Carolina Democratic Party, New York State Democratic Party and the South Carolina State Senate Democratic Caucus. He serves as the senior strategist for (Protecting Our Vote) and most recently was named Senior Advisor to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and Chairwoman for the 2020 election cycle. Additionally, he has also managed corporate, non-profit, governmental, and sports marketing clients throughout his career. Antjuan is a Buzz Feed News, The Hill.com opinion writer/contributor and a CBS News political contributor. He has previously appeared frequently on Fox News, Hill TV, and MSNBC and is often quoted in multiple national print and online media publications. He also hosts “Insight with Antjuan Seawright” a weekly radio show based in South Carolina.
Krystle Matthews, South Carolina State House District 117 Representative
Representative Krystle Matthews of Berkeley county is currently serving her first term in the South Carolina State Assembly being first elected in 2018. An engineering planner by profession, Representative Matthews ran for office to give women stronger voices in the state house. She believes in removing the barriers to quality healthcare that are faced by the elderly and most vulnerable populations and is a big advocate of small businesses and affordable and sustainable housing. Representative Matthews is a single mom of five children – Trashuan, Brookln, Devin, Bryan, and Aniya. Representative Matthews knows first hand the struggles many new mothers face in caring for their children, and she is committed to moving towards a more fair and just society.