Photo by Ruta Smith

Best Community Activist 
Joe Cunningham

Joe Cunningham should be a familiar name to everyone by now. The one-term U.S. representative who just couldn’t stay out of politics after his narrow reelection loss in 2020, now mounting a bid for governor. 

With an easy smile and charm, Cunningham faked out many with his early 2021 announcement that looked like a campaign launch, but flipped the script and revealed a podcast instead. But, it wasn’t too much longer before he announced his campaign for governor with an event that was oh-so Cunningham — a party at a local brewery. 

During his time as a U.S. representative, Cunningham passed bills that served his hometown community in a variety of ways, one of the biggest being the passage of a bill banning offshore oil drilling and seismic testing along the eastern and western coasts of the United States.

And now, he is running for governor on a platform of similar community-centered causes, with efforts like marijuana decriminalization and further climate reform high on his list of priorities, should he land the leadership position. Cunningham has the backing of many other community activists and organizations, including Charleston County Councilman Kylon Middleton, voted Best County Councilman.

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