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      Sen. Shealy ready to be new voice for Lexington County residents

      COLUMBIA (WACH) - A new Legislative session kicking off Tuesday at the Statehouse bringing an eager class of freshmen lawmakers to Columbia including Lexington County's newest senator Katrina Shealy.

      Shealy has a long to-do list that includes ethics and election reform.

      "Getting the election laws where it's fair and equal to everyone. It's no different whether you're already an elected official or a candidate," said Shealy.

      Shealy is no stranger to murky election laws. She was one of roughly 250 candidates booted from the ballot by the state Supreme Court last spring because of missing financial paperwork when filing to run for office.

      Critics argued the new law was unclear and even the people enforcing it were not certain how it worked.

      Shealy gathered enough signatures to file as a petition candidate, and beat longtime Lexington lawmaker Jake Knotts in November.

      After than experience, Shealy wants to make sure laws are clear for candidates who are new to the process.

      "Simple, easy to read, and you can go fill out the paperwork and you have a little period where if you don't do it right, you can figure it out," said Shealy.

      Shealy is also shaking up the Senate. What used to be an all boys club now has a female member; a first in more than a decade.

      "I don't want people to look at me as being a female senator. I want them to look at me as I'm going to get the job done. I wish more women would get involved because we look at things differently and have a different perspective on things," said Shealy.

      Shealy adds she just wants people to respect her and come to her with any questions or concerns. She says she is ready to be a new voice for the residents of Lexington County.