THE PATH TO A BRIGHTER TOMORROW FOR HORRY…
Big change doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time. And it takes teamwork. It’s also important to remember that lack of communication inevitably leads to a culture of confusion and gridlock. We only move forward when we pull together.
Whether we work in the private or the public sector, whether we are business leaders or local officials seeking to bring jobs to the Grand Strand while ensuring respect for environmental issues, teachers trusted to educate our children, or retirees wanting a much loved lifestyle to continue and thrive, we all have an important part to play. Together, we’ve been making great progress, but there is still much to be done.
An Education System that Benefits Every Child
Every child deserves the opportunity to receive an exceptional education that paves the way for opportunities and lifelong success. And, by providing every child with the resources they need to succeed, we can develop the kind of skilled workforce our economy requires. I’ve been a strong advocate for charter school options, public school choice, and tax credits for parents of children with special needs. Moving forward, we need to take a top-to-bottom look at our system and find ways to modernize it while ensuring more available resources reach the classroom. Dramatically improving our education system will not be one simple change. It will require a complete rethinking of our approach.
Roads, Bridges and Highways
Roads, bridges and highways are essential for safety and a thriving economy. Infrastructure is critical, especially for communities like ours which rely heavily on tourism. The need for improvement is unchallenged. Fortunately, we are starting to make real progress in improving our roads.
In Horry County alone, we have over $60 million in new projects for paving, bridge improvements and rural road safety. Most are underway and, once completed, will benefit citizens and visitors for decades to come. These projects are not quick, one-time fixes. Having safe roads is an ongoing commitment. I will continue to ensure the Department of Transportation and other groups responsible spend our hard-earned tax dollars to improve roads and not end up lining the pockets of administrators.
Teaching Students Financial Responsibility
I sponsored a bill requiring personal finance coursework in high schools. South Carolina ranks among the highest in the nation for consumer debt. This common-sense instruction in our schools will help folks avoid the dangers of debt as they set off on their path toward independence and careers. Nearly 17 other states in the U.S. already require similar instruction, and I am hopeful this bill passes quickly this year.
I sponsored the Responsible Alcohol Server Training Act requiring all bartenders be educated on serving alcohol responsibly. Providing bartenders and servers with training is a small investment which will yield big rewards by saving lives. The bill passed the Senate and is now under consideration by the House, which I hope will pass quickly during the 2020 session.
I work hard to build consensus to fund the highest priorities for our State – without raising taxes. Here are a few of the 2019 – 2020 budget highlights:
- A 4% raise for all teachers and a 10% increase for starting pay
- Funding for a grant program to help South Carolina farmers who suffered devastating crop losses from the flooding caused by Hurricanes Michael and Florence
- Prohibiting the use of State budget, directly or indirectly, to fund abortions
- 120 NEW School Resource Officers to protect our children
- Increased funding for our State’s National Guard force, Emergency Management Division, and armories