Growing up in rural Northeast GA, Mary Geren understands what it is to struggle financially, to wonder how to make ends meet; she understands what it is to dream big but to be told her dreams are out of reach. Raised by her father, who worked in the granite industry for decades, Mary was the youngest in a house of 7. Often the recipient of free lunch and food stamps, Mary knows all too well the displaced shame thrust upon the working poor. She understands the stereotypes that plague them, but she also knows those stereotypes were not her reality as a child.
Mary with husband, Shawn, & daughter, Madilyn
Despite the tremendous odds against her, Mary refused to accept her circumstances without putting up a fight. She studied hard, started working at 16, and graduated from high school, the only one in her immediate family to do so. After earning scholarships and grants, Mary went on to earn her undergraduate and graduate degrees, both from Clemson University, graduating summa cum laude.
After completing her graduate work, Mary served as a lecturer at Clemson University for 6 years and has served as an English Instructor at Tri-County Technical College since 2009. During her tenure at TCTC, she has designed service learning courses, aligning with several Anderson community partners such as Anderson School District 5, AIM, United Way, Foothills Alliance, and New Foundations Children’s Home. Mary has also served as an advisor to the college’s political clubs since 2010, registering new voters, coordinating political forums and student leadership trips to Washington, D.C., Charlotte, NC, and Columbia, SC. She was awarded the Presidential Medallion for Instructional Excellence in 2017.
Mary has been a member and volunteer of NewSpring Church for 15 years. She is also a member of the Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce and serves on the board of Foothills Alliance, an advocacy group for victims of sexual assault. Since 2008, Mary has volunteered with various political campaigns, including campaigns for President Obama, Vincent Sheheen, Jane Dyer, and Hillary Clinton. Furthermore, Mary co-chairs the Anderson chapter of SC Democrats Care.
Mary has lived in Anderson, SC with her husband, Shawn, for 20 years. Shawn and Mary’s daughter, Madilyn, currently attends a local public middle school, Southwood Academy of the Arts, and their son, Kenan, is a senior at the University of South Carolina. While juggling a full teaching load and running for Congress, Mary is still a carpool mom who likes to travel, cycle, and has always been involved in the PTO and supported her children’s teachers as much as possible.
Mary credits public education with serving as the catalyst to propel her from poverty into the middle class. She will continue to fight to save public education just as she has fought her entire life.