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‘A sign of the times’

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Norrell is the first woman to hold District 44 seat

Mandy Powers Norrell sees her victory Tuesday, Nov. 6, as part of a trend of more women immersing themselves in politics. 

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With her win over Joseph Coy and Ryan Payne, Norrell will become the first woman ever to hold the S.C. House District 44 seat. 

The seat, which covers the lower portion of Lancaster County, will soon be vacated by retiring state Rep. Jimmy Neal of Kershaw. 

“I was very confident but I was always prepared for surprises,” she said about her chance of coming out on top in the three-person race. “I felt very good going into it.” 

Norrell, a Democrat, garnered 8,136 votes (57 percent) in the race. Payne, the Republican candidate got roughly 28 percent of the votes while Coy, the petition candidate, had 14 percent. 

A Lancaster native, Norrell said she’s been tied to the district all of her life and loves the fact that she’ll now represent its resident at the state level.  

“There’s a kinship that I feel for this area,” said Norrell, who runs a law firm in Lancaster with her husband, Mitch. She also serves as the municipal attorney for the city of Lancaster and town of Kershaw.   

A desire to serve 

In 2008, Norrell vied for the S.C. Senate District 16 seat against Mick Mulvaney. 

Mulvaney, the Republican, won the race, though Norrell carried Lancaster County. 

With House District 44 totally enclosed in Lancaster County, she believes that gave her a much stronger chance of winning this time around. 

As she now prepares to head to the Statehouse in January, Norrell said as a freshman legislator, her objective will be to get others in the General Assembly to pay attention to the needs of Lancaster County. 

She wants to see the manufacturing tax on businesses lowered. That, in turn, will encourage more industry to locate here. 

Education will also be an emphasis, she said. 

“We have to focus on public education and look toward our children's future in getting them prepared for the workplace.” 

Norrell said she hadn't thought much about the fact she’s the first woman to be elected to the House 44 seat. She speaks optimistically about what that may mean for the future. 

“I hope there are many more women to come be involved in the political arena,” Norrell said. “I’m confident that I won’t be the last.” 

 

 Contact reporter Jesef Williams at (803) 283-1152