The Honorable Kambrell Houston Garvin SC House of Representatives District 77
Kambrell Houston Garvin was born and raised in Columbia by a single-mom who instilled the importance of education, hard work, grit and determination. At the age of 5, he was diagnosed with a speech impediment. It was then, that his mom changed the trajectory of her career and pursued a career as a speech therapist to assist him in overcoming that challenge. As a result of her willingness to go above and beyond to assist him, today, Kambrell is able to speak clearly and confidently; turning what once was a weakness into strength and in the process, discovering the power of his voice.
At an early age, Kambrell used his voice to serve as an advocate to move his community forward. As a young community leader, Kambrell: organized his first voter registration campaign at the age of 10, led efforts that registered hundreds of new voters, volunteered on political campaigns, and participated in numerous rallies and political action events on matters ranging from education to social justice around the United States. He had the distinct privilege of leading the SC NAACP Youth and College Division as president from 2009-2011.
After proudly graduating from A.C. Flora High School, Kambrell went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in African American Studies and Sociology from Winthrop University in 2013; Masters of Science in Education from Johns Hopkins University School of Education in 2016; and anticipates earning his Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law in May 2019.
At Winthrop, Kambrell served as the Student Government President, ex-official member of the Board of Trustees, and voting member of the 10th Presidential Search and Selection Committee. As a college student leader, he utilized his organizing skills and headed efforts that successfully registered over 1,000 new voters, addressed voter disenfranchisement and lobbied state lawmakers to make public education funding a greater priority.
A longtime equitable education advocate, Kambrell joined Teach for America, a non-profit organization dedicated to building the movement to eliminate educational inequity. He spent three years as a South Carolina public school teacher in Walterboro, SC, a rural community located along the I-95 corridor. While teaching, Kambrell spearheaded the first ever 6th grade overnight field trip, science fair and was actively engaged in the school and local community. As an educator, he used his voice and instilled into his students that they were capable of achieving anything that they put their minds to and that their zip code would not limit their future success.
Each of these experiences equipped Kambrell with a unique perspective and furthered his passion to bring positive change to his community and state. After returning to his hometown, Kambrell realized that his community deserved a strong voice championing issues from economic development, education, criminal justice reform and affordable health care. Inspired by the example of his grandfather, who fearlessly served as the first African American on his local city council, Kambrell launched a grassroots campaign for the SC House of Representatives District 77. In June 2018, at 26, Kambrell won the Democratic Primary with nearly seventy-percent and the subsequent general election with eighty-five percent of the vote.
Kambrell is a member of the First Nazareth Baptist Church, Columbia Branch NAACP, SC Education Association, and the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He was recognized as “Top 20 Under 40” by the SC Black Pages, was featured on the cover of IMARA as “two for the future,” and over the years has received numerous recognitions and awards for his community and civic engagement.
Kambrell is the proud son of Dr. Sonji Garvin Baxter, Rev. John K. Baxter, and Reginald S. Garvin, Sr. He is married to his college sweetheart, Monique Patton Garvin and the couple resides in Northeast Columbia, SC. Kambrell lives by the motto that “Excellence can be obtained if you care more than others think is wise, risk more than others think is safe, dream more than others think is practical and expect more than others think is possible.”