Here are my responses to the Clinton Chronicle in an interview published on October 19th. This interview was available in print but not in the online edition, so the answers are provided here.
Question 1: Why do you want to be a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives?
My reason for entering this race is simple: my heart is in it. Fifteen months ago I was waiting to see how a few factors would play out, but while I was waiting I realized this was my passion, no matter what. I learned a long time ago that when I know something is right, I need to do it. I now know that I am doing the right thing. I have an ever-growing, burning desire for the people of District 42, and I want to be used to help make a difference in any way I can.
Question 2: What is the main issue South Carolina will face over the next 12 months?
There are several critical issues facing our state that require immediate action. Repairing our infrastructure is a priority of mine, as well as seeing laws passed to guarantee First Amendment liberty in the face of the out of control Supreme Court. But the most immediate action may have to be the state retirement benefits promised to our teachers, police officers, and other state employees. We can’t pay them with promises. They deserve their pension and we have to ensure they receive what they worked for. I’m prepared to work with both parties in Columbia to find a satisfactory solution.
Question 3: Are public schools adequately funded? If not, how much more is needed?
The biggest issue with school funding is not the dollar amount, but the fact that current statues are routinely ignored. Three statutes—regarding state money, local money, and school bus funding—are being violated, in part because of the complex system currently in place. We either need to abide by the laws we have or replace them altogether. The problem isn’t just money, but in many cases is management and leadership. Some districts receive far more Base Student Cost than others, and underperform when compared to districts receiving far less BSC. This issue isn’t about dollar amounts, but about management.
Question 4: What can the General Assembly do to promote job growth in South Carolina?
The General Assembly can help promote job growth by working with Governor Haley to promote our great state around our great country. Governor Rick Scott of Florida and Governors Rick Perry and Greg Abbot of Texas have promoted their states and successfully lured in new out of state companies. Their greatest tool is their states’ low taxes and few regulations. We need to continue to keep taxes low and free up industries to run their businesses without so much government interference. Finally, we need to advertise our state, letting CEOs and presidents know that South Carolina is open for business.
Question 5: What should be done to fix the state's deteriorating roads and bridges?
Our infrastructure must be immediately addressed, and we need to start with the more than one billion dollars in surplus money that is just waiting to be used on roads. We need our county councils to submit what I call Priority Plans, ranking their biggest needs first and working their way down. In Congress we have to pass a clean bill, not connected to gas tax hikes or part of any other piece of legislation. We also need to commit to put other projects on hold until this issue is solved. We can do this soon and without raising taxes.
Question 6: Are you in favor of tax vouchers for parents of private school students?
I absolutely support tax vouchers for parents whose children are in private school, but only if they are paying their child’s tuition. Children on scholarships or in charter schools should not qualify. The purpose of the tax break is to alleviate the double burden of paying for your own child’s education out of pocket while also paying for the public education of others. My wife and I make sacrifices to keep our daughter in private school, so I understand how this voucher can be a blessing. I also support school choice for parents who are dissatisfied with their child’s school.