CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- State representative Wendell Gilliard (D-Charleston) announced his intent to run for outgoing Sen. Marlon Kimpson’s District 42 seat, which covers Charleston and Dorchester counties.

Kimpson announced Sunday that he would resign at the end of the legislative session to take a job in the Biden administration.

“I have always held that when called it is my duty to respond, ‘yes I am here,'” Gilliard said in a statement.

The Charleston native served on the city council for 11 years before being elected to the S.C. House in 2009. During that time, Gilliard said he has watched the “needs of the people go unmet” and “their calls for support go unheard.”

“…the needs of our children ignored in our neglected schools that make them among the worst in the CCSD, the safety of our residents, young and senior, ignored in neighborhoods that have the highest crime rates in the county, the absence of meaningful action to combat the highest rate of unemployment in Charleston and no or minimal state resources committed to supporting and developing Black economic empowerment,” he continued.

Gilliard has been a champion for gun reform, introducing legislation to ban assault weapons and place metal detectors in public schools. Following the deadly massacre at Emanual AME Church in 2015, he has spearheaded efforts to pass a hate crime law in South Carolina.

He has already secured multiple endorsements in the race including former State Rep. Bakari Sellers and several neighborhood association presidents.

Gilliard was the second Charleston Democrat to announce a bid for Sen. Kimpson’s seat behind State Rep. Deon Tedder.