Making South Carolina safe is the top priority of state government. We must do whatever is necessary to protect our children from school violence and that includes having an armed officer in each school and mental health counseling for students.
We must provide law enforcement officers with the equipment necessary to do their jobs. I was outraged to learn that some officers are forced to supply their own firearms. That is an insult to our police officers and unacceptable.
Cell phones in state prisons are a clear and present danger. Prisoners use cell phones to commit crimes and violence and obtain drugs inside and outside of jails. The state must act, with the help of the federal government, to get cell phones out of prisoners’ hands.
Quality roads and bridges are directly related to economic development and public safety. Now that the SC Department of Transportation has an increased, dedicated funding source we should see marked improvement in road and bridge conditions.
While I will continue to push my bill providing for DOT reform and elimination of the State Highway Commission, I will work to see that our hard-earned tax dollars sent to DOT are used to fix our existing roads and bridges. I will also push DOT to prioritize road spending and fight to see that our fair share of tax dollars for roads is returned to Greenville County.
I will continue to work with the city and county to improve the corridors such as Wade Hampton Boulevard that connect the communities in our district.
Being a member of the House is a major responsibility and commitment. I support greater legislative transparency, ethics reform and providing citizens with information on the issues that affect the state and district. I will always vote for the people of our district first.
The future of our state depends on educating our children. I believe the answer to improving our underperforming schools isn’t simply to raise per pupil funding. More decisions need to be made at the district and school level. Parent, family and community involvement in local schools makes a positive difference on individual student and school performance.
Too much time is spent teaching for standardized tests and not on individualized instruction. I led the successful effort last year to eliminate the requirement that each student, regardless of his or her college or career path, take the ACT. A student may now take a college entrance test (ACT or SAT), a career readiness test, or both.
I support each parent’s right to choose the best educational environment for his or her child. I am a product of and supporter of public education, but school choice provides freedom and opportunity for parents and students. We should look to private, charter, home, and virtual schools as idea incubators for our public schools. On that note, I have introduced major school choice legislation that would expand private school tax credits and establish educational savings accounts for use at private schools.
Being a small business owner, I understand the importance of growing businesses here in South Carolina. Our state must focus on attracting and maintaining small, medium, and large businesses that add value to our economy and quality of life. We need to be smart in our approach to economic development so that incentives given to businesses produce a “win” for taxpayers in the form of good, higher paying jobs, and contributions to the tax base by businesses.
We need to reduce state income tax rates. South Carolina’s rates are higher than other states in our region. Some states in the southeast even have no state income tax. Reducing income tax rates will benefit taxpayers, boost our economy, incentivize people to relocate to SC, and attract business and industry.
South Carolina employers need qualified workers. Our colleges and tech schools must prepare a 21st century workforce to meet the needs of employers. Our higher education system must adapt to meet the needs of students and employers. The four-year college experience is likely to change dramatically in the coming years as the workforce changes and virtual and distance learning become more prevalent.
Our technical colleges will see dramatic changes as employers seek graduates with extensive hands-on skills and training. I led the effort in the House this month to pass a bill that would allow Greenville Tech to offer a four-year degree in applied manufacturing- the first, four-year degree to be offered by a South Carolina tech school.
Our state government needs major structural reform. Our current legislatively-dominated system lacks transparency and accountable and promotes corruption and self-dealing. I recently joined over twenty freshman legislators in introducing a bill calling for constitutional reform, because our state’s 1895 constitution because it has concentrated power in the hands of a select few. It has also led to much bureaucratic waste, inequity for our citizens, and political corruption.
We need three co-equal branches of government. We need to end the legislative stranglehold over judicial appointments. We should not elect statewide, cabinet-level officials such as the Secretary of State, Treasurer, Agriculture Commissioner and Superintendent of Education. Instead we should allow the Governor to appoint qualified people to these positions. Such a change would lead to more accountability.
Life begins at conception. As a Christian and father, I stand firm that life begins at conception and will defend this stance against any liberal attacks. I will continue fighting to protect the most vulnerable and least among us. I was proud to co-sponsor and vote for major pro-life legislation passed by the House that would end dismemberment abortion.
I will continue to support and defend our 2nd Amendment rights. Law abiding citizens do not need a permit from the government to exercise our constitutional right to keep and bear arms. I will work with law enforcement officials to keep weapons out of the hands of dangerous criminals and people with mental illness. I will not tolerate attempts to disarm law-abiding Americans.
The government has no business restricting faith-based organizations, churches, and synagogues and their affiliated charities. For example, DSS recently (and shockingly) gave Miracle Hill Ministries 30 days to abandon its religious convictions or abandon its foster care work.
I stand with Miracle Hill. The public doesn’t have to support faith-based services, nor should faith-based services have to sacrifice their religious freedom. I will keep fighting this type of government overreach.