CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Dr. Annie Andrews, who is the Democratic nominee for 1st Congressional District of South Carolina, and Lisa Ellis, who is running for South Carolina State Superintendent, spoke to voters at Unitarian Church in Downtown Charleston Saturday about how they plan to help children excel if elected in November.

“Children of South Carolina are our future,” Ellis said, “and we have the responsibility to take care of them and to make sure that they have access to high-quality education, high-quality physical, mental and emotional care, so that they can become productive citizens that lift up our state.”

Saturday’s forum covered various topics related to children’s health and education.

“The state of mental healthcare for children in this state,” Andrews said, “the issue with gun violence among children in this state, as well as focusing on the need for quality public education for every child in this state.”

Andrews says through her experience as a pediatrician, she has witnessed firsthand many of the challenges children face.

“Children who don’t have enough food to eat,” she said, “children who don’t have access to internet in their homes and it also includes the countless number of children I’ve cared for who are in the throes of a mental health crisis and cannot access mental health resources.”

Those challenges also include an increase in gun violence.

“In 2019,” Andrew said, “gun violence became the leading cause of death for children in the United States, and that includes children in South Carolina.”

Andrews is critical of her opponent, Representative Nancy Mace, and her voting record on certain issues.

“She voted against the bipartisan gun safety bill after the tragic shooting in Uvalde, Texas where 19 fourth graders and two educators lost their lives in a matter of seconds from a man with an assault rifle,” she said.

With only a month and a half until Election Day, Andrews says she feels confident about her chances to unseat Representative Mace.

“I really looking forward to November 8,” she said, “because I think that the community is ready for a change in representation in D.C.”

Representative Nancy Mace’s campaign manager responded to Dr. Andrews’s comments in a statement which can be found below:

“While Annie Andrews was opposing bipartisan legislation protecting young kids from irreversible gender surgeries, Nancy Mace has been a leader building bipartisan consensus on school safety solutions that keep guns out of the hands of criminals.”