Kristin Graziano is thankful to have the support of so many in her campaign. If you want to add your name to the list, click here.
“I am supporting Kristin Graziano’s candidacy for Charleston County sheriff because she will bring a new perspective to leading one of the largest sheriff’s offices in the state of South Carolina. With 32 years of law enforcement experience, Kristin has done the boots on the ground work and is now ready to lead with integrity, transparency, and empathy.”
JAIME HARRISON, CANDIDATE FOR U.S. SENATE
“I am proud to endorse Kristin Graziano as the next sheriff of Charleston County. Her bold and historic candidacy promises to bring more transparency and accountability to the sheriff’s office. Kristin is an effective and highly decorated leader who has demonstrated her ability to connect with people, whether she’s out in the community, connecting with students in school, coaching young athletes, or training SWAT members. Kristin will bring our community back together to build a stronger, safer Charleston County.”
SEN. MARLON KIMPSON, D-DISTRICT 42
“Our same old problems call for new leadership, solutions and action. Those same old problems call for listening, understanding, an open mind, and an open heart. That’s why I’m endorsing Kristin Graziano for Charleston County Sheriff.
She has over 30 years’ experience in law enforcement and is calling for change in addressing systemic racism and reforms in how law enforcement partners with our communities. And Kristin’s race is historic in nature. She would be the first female sheriff in South Carolina, as well as the first LGBTQ sheriff in the state. Meaningful change is what we will get by electing Kristin Graziano.
LINDA KETNER, COMMUNITY ACTIVIST, PHILANTHROPIST, AND FORMER CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE
“I worked with Kristin while I was superintendent of Charleston County School District from 2007 to 2014. She brought in new approaches to school safety and helped pave the way for tiered systems of response to violence. The systems she introduced were based upon ‘best practices’ in policing. They have become widely accepted now, but several years back, Kris was a catalyst for change. Her work gave me — and more importantly, our parents — the confidence to know that when children were in school, we had systems in place to protect them from harm.”
DR. NANCY MCGINLEY, FORMER SUPERINTENDENT OF CHARLESTON COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT
“The people of Charleston have a tremendous opportunity to elect an excellent candidate for sheriff this year: Kristin Graziano. I worked with Kristin for nine years when I was a prosecutor in Charlottesville and she was a police officer. She was always well-prepared for court and thorough in her work. Kristin is intelligent and holds great compassion and empathy for crime victims. But what stands out the most are her impactful leadership skills. People naturally look up to her and tend to follow her lead.
“Kristin has a unique perspective since she has worked in different law enforcement agencies and has seen first-hand the implementation of diverse approaches. She has seen what works and doesn’t work. Perhaps most important, she treats people equally, no matter their age, race, gender, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status. It doesn’t matter who they are — they will get a fair deal from her.
“Charlottesville’s loss is Charleston’s gain!”
STEVE DEATON, FORMER VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH ATTORNEY
“I had the pleasure of working with Kris when she served as a police officer in Charlottesville, Virginia. She was forward thinking, and she was concerned about citizens who were not treated fairly. This led me to ask her to serve on the OAR-Jefferson Area Community Corrections Board.
“OAR is a nonprofit, quasi-governmental agency that addresses issues in criminal justice. The agency provides pretrial service for newly arrested people to address bail issues, alternative sentencing for nonviolent offenders, and therapeutic dockets for drug-involved offenders and those with mental illness through treatment and supervision. And finally, OAR also provides reentry services for those coming back to the community after serving their time in jail or prison.
“Kris served on the board from 1995 to 2001. She was an active and enthusiastic board member and later served as its president. I could not recommend her more highly. I have remained in touch with Kris since her move to Charleston. She has already been an asset to Charleston County. She will be a great leader as your sheriff. Vote for Kris in November.“
PAT SMITH, FORMER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF OFFENDER AID AND RESTORATION IN VIRGINIA
“I’m proud to endorse Kristin Graziano for Sheriff because she is a supporter and advocate for justice, and throughout her honorable career she has always stood up for what is right. We need her leadership in the sheriff’s office.”
REP. JA MOORE, D-DISTRICT 15
“I am proud to endorse Kristin Graziano to be Charleston County’s next sheriff. Our country is in turmoil, and many Americans are waking up to the centuries of systemic racism that has infected every corner of our culture. I believe that this moment calls for new leadership. I know that Kristin has the qualifications and the heart to usher in a new era of policing in Charleston County.”
ABE JENKINS, COMMUNITY ORGANIZER AND ACTIVIST
“When it comes to law enforcement, it has become clearer than ever before that we need people in leadership positions who understand the needs of the community, who have firsthand experience in times of crisis, and who are able to connect with a diverse range of people. We believe that person is Kristin Graziano, and we know that she will make sure that administrators, deputies, and jail staff treat LGBTQ citizens with the respect they deserve.”
JEFF AYERS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF SC EQUALITY
“LGBTQ Victory Fund is pleased to endorse Kristin Graziano for Charleston County sheriff. Kristin’s commitment to community inclusion, administrative transparency, and fairness in law enforcement makes her the best candidate for sheriff. When she wins in November, Kristin will become a vital LGBTQ voice.”
MAYOR ANNISE PARKER, PRESIDENT & CEO OF LGBTQ VICTORY FUND
“I knew Kristin as a deputy in the Charleston County Family Court and as a friend and off-duty officer at my church. She is professional, smart, and empathic. I have no doubt that she will protect and serve our community in a progressive and inclusive way. She will work for all of the citizens of our community in a fair and just manner. She will bring people together instead of apart. Now is the time for change, and Kristin is just the change we need.”
DEBRA STOKES, CHARLESTON ATTORNEY
“I am supporting Kristin Graziano for sheriff because she has the ability to connect with a diverse range of people. She also understands that crime is rooted in poverty. When our elected officials take steps to improve the lives of citizens, our community becomes safer.”
THE REV. CHRISTIAN KING, COMMUNITY LEADER
“I support Kristin Graziano’s candidacy for sheriff. It is time for new leadership and new ideas at the sheriff’s office. I look forward to partnering with her on law enforcement measures at the Statehouse, making sure that sheriffs like her will have the resources to make ALL South Carolinians safer.”
REP. KRYSTLE MATTHEWS, D-DISTRICT 117
“When I cast my ballot this November, I will vote for people who are uncompromised, who uphold my values, and who will lead with integrity. That’s why I am wholeheartedly endorsing Kristin Graziano to be the next sheriff of Charleston County. She will work to restore and maintain trust in the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office and will be an inclusive community partner. Kristin also has the operational and leadership experience to excel in this position, as well as an understanding of the depth of issues that face the sheriff’s office. She will make sure that the sheriff’s office provides excellent service and be held accountable to the community it serves.”
CLAY MIDDLETON, COMMUNITY LEADER
“Kristin is a proven leader who has dedicated her life and career to bridging the gap between law enforcement and underserved communities. She will bring innovative ideas on training, community policing, and the necessary reforms that will help us build strong communities. Her many years on the frontline in law enforcement, working in our communities, has given her the tools necessary to confront many of the issues we face, especially communities of color. She will be a sheriff that cares, that will listen, and that will take action. I have full faith that Kristin Graziano is who our community needs and will serve us well as Charleston County sheriff.”
AARON WHITE, CLINICAL SOCIAL WORKER AND CHAIR OF THE SEA ISLAND DEMOCRATS
“I’m supporting Kristin Graziano for Sheriff of Charleston County because I believe it’s time for fresh leadership. But beyond her professional experience, she also gives of her time as a collegiate coach and hospice volunteer. Having worked in hospice, I know it takes a special kind of person to handle the intensity of being present with people facing the end of life. Kristin has the compassion, integrity and approachable composure, needed now more than ever, to lead the sheriff’s department to much needed reform.”
DIANE AGHAPOUR, CHARLESTON BUSINESS OWNER
“As an elected member of Charleston City Council, representing District 12 for James Island residents of the city, our citizens are woven together with the town of James Island and unincorporated Charleston County citizens. A recent generation of homeowners and newcomer residents have moved here for their own laid-back, outdoor lifestyle reasons, for which James Island is well known. We all want responsive public safety for our neighborhoods and streets. Thankfully, the county and city team leaders working to keep James Island safe have established trusted relationships that multiply their capacity to serve all James Islanders, no matter the color of our trash cans. Kristin is known for championing collaborations that cross boundaries and break new ground for policing with a heart: goals and strategies that have seemed too hard to accomplish under Al Cannon’s era of “my way or the highway.” We all know that resources are limited and must be used for unconscious bias training, body cameras, and other strategies that have been successful in diverse communities that define Charleston County. Traditional, authoritarian departments must give way to collaborative, introspective learning environments where input is valued and respected, even as the sheriff must make decisions that define the priorities and values of their force and operations teams. I endorse Kristin’s experience and capacity to lead a sheriff’s department we can all be proud to support. Thank you in advance, Kristin, for the sacrifice you are making on behalf of the county you love and have served. We look forward to electing you to be the 21st century sheriff we need.”
CAROL JACKSON, CHARLESTON CITY COUNCILWOMAN
“I am voting for Kristin Graziano for sheriff because she truly cares about restorative justice. She recognizes that the sources of crime are poverty and a lack of a good education. When Kristin is sheriff, she will work hard to make sure that inmates have access to job training, so they have a better chance of living a meaningful and productive life when they leave the jail system.”
ERIN MCKEE, PAST PRESIDENT OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA AFL-CIO
“We are pleased to recommend that Kristin Graziano be the next sheriff of Charleston County. Kristin is active in the community, showing she cares through her public service activities during this pandemic. These are qualities we want to see in community law enforcement. The school to prison pipeline is real. We know Kristin is very concerned about young people being housed in jail facilities that don’t lead to rehabilitation. Kristin has plans to address the inequities while helping young people receive an education and learn the conflict resolution skills to be productive citizens. She is an advocate for restorative practices within schools and the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office. It’s great to know that Kristin will also initiate an independent audit of policing practices and finances. It’s time for new leadership to create a sheriff’s office that serves our community. Kristin Graziano is qualified and will be an outstanding leader for the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office.”
DR. CAROL TEMPEL, EDUCATION CONSULTANT, AND DR. GEORGE TEMPEL, CHARLESTON COUNTY CONSTITUENT BOARD MEMBER, DISTRICT 3
“When I first heard that Kris Graziano was running for sheriff in Charleston County, my first thought was the citizens of the county need take advantage of this without hesitation. My second thought was that it will take a concentrated effort to succeed, but she has the dedication and determination, not to mention the qualifications, to meet the challenge.
“I first met Kris in the early ’90s when she was a police officer at Wintergreen in Virginia. At the time, I was a captain in the Charlottesville Police Department, and one of my responsibilities was to manage the recruitment and hiring of our new police officers. I would interview each of the candidates who had passed preliminary screening and set up their psychological exams. I was immediately impressed by Kris’s self-confidence and composure in a situation that could be daunting at times. Even then, she expressed ideas that gave me a glimpse of what was to come.
“As I got to know her as a police officer, it became more obvious that she was self-confident and had the skills and knowledge to become a force in the department. Kris was instrumental in establishing a bicycle patrol and advancing the principles of community policing. She earned the right to be given extra leeway in the programs and duties she was assigned and did not disappoint me or the department.
“There is, however, something that sets Kris apart from all others in her community policing efforts and her entire approach to policing. There was one neighborhood where she was trying to make a difference in the way the citizens perceived and reacted to the police. She sat in my office and said, ‘Captain, I need to somehow make a connection, and I think I know how I can.’ I was expecting a request for money or equipment or even additional officers, but that was not the case. All she asked for was time, permission to try something, and the patience on my part not to interfere. At that point she became what I would later refer to as the Department Anthropologist. She worked from the inside out, rather than from the outside in. She learned who the people were and what they stood for before she developed any plans for changes or programs that might help the neighborhood. This is what sets Kris apart.”
RET. CAPT. AURIE SCHWARTING, CHARLOTTESVILLE (VA.) POLICE DEPARTMENT
“I support Kristin Graziano because she cares about people. She promises to open her agency for independent audits because she understands we can’t fix problems internally if we don’t know what they are. She also pledges to reform the juvenile justice system so that young offenders can serve their time and have a second chance at life. She also promises to diversify her police force because when you are from the community you patrol you can get more cooperation. It is hard to mistreat someone you know. She will be tough on crime, but fair in policing practices. No more racial profiling. If Black lives matter to you, let’s vote Kristin Graziano.”
MELISSA WATSON, TEACHER AND DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE FOR DISTRICT 7
“It’s time for a new sheriff to come to town. As South Carolina’s first female sheriff, [Kristin] Graziano will break barriers and incorporate long-needed new thinking at the sheriff’s office.
CHARLESTON CITY PAPER