Coronavirus and the Economy
CoVid-19 has affected everyone in our state and nation. It is important for us to start planning ahead for when the economy reopens and make sure we are prepared to help those who have been hit the hardest, specifically our hospitality industry. For my part, as a candidate for the S.C. House, I would like to focus my efforts on working with partners at the federal, state and local levels to help those who have lost their jobs rejoin the workforce and to empower small businessmen and businesswomen to invest again in our economy. This will have to be done by reforming our tax system and eliminating pesky regulations.
Education is vital to future success. Right now, South Carolina is ranked last in the country in education and there is not enough being done to fix it. As your State Representative, I pledge to do everything I can to decrease state testing, put more money in the classrooms instead of at the administration level, and pay our teachers what they deserve. We need to ensure that our children are on grade appropriate reading levels so that they do not get behind on this critical skill. As they grow, we must begin to recognize that some in middle and high schools may wish to attend a four year college, some may choose a community college, and some may wish to pursue much needed vocational training. All of these options are important for the success of our children so must ensure our technical and community colleges have the support they need.
I believe in a balance between development and conservation. South Carolina still contains beautiful vast rural lands, but that landscape is changing with its growth. I am a firm believer in the Conservation Fund and will fight for its continued funding. It is always a delicate balance between property owner rights and development. I would work to give property owners incentives to place land in conservation easements and keep South Carolina from becoming a state of urban sprawl to protect some of the most beautiful land in our country.
The South Carolina coast is a beautiful and unique place. It’s home.
We have also undergone dramatic change with the population surge and resulting development. What steps can we take towards ensuring the beauty of the Lowcountry remains?
The easy steps:
Continue to oppose offshore drilling. In addition to the potential for grave ecological damage, it is unsightly and the land component, staging, is just as unsightly and damaging as the drilling sites.
Fully fund the South Carolina Conservation Bank. This resource has been very successful in assisting with the preservation of wetlands, urban parks, historical sites, woodlands and more.
The more difficult steps:
Realize that there are two major elements that precede development...
Property owners wishes regarding ‘development versus conservation’ is crucial. The land is often much more valuable if sold off for development. This entices property owners to sell off land for substantial financial gain. Conservation easements are not as lucrative. While property owners can reap some tax benefits, perhaps there is more that can be offered in order to encourage discussions and actions towards conservation of land. Two terrific examples of recent success are Pemberton Oaks on James Island and Boone Hall over in Mt. Pleasant.
Installation of sewage lines is a precursor to development. These lines remove the need for septic tanks, which require a larger lot size and eliminate property when the land doesn't “perk.” This test determines the water absorption rate and how quickly the material from a septic tank will be absorbed into the soil. Once in place, the land can contain much more density. At this point, land zoning comes into play. We then go back to property owners and their vision for their property.
While serving on Charleston city council, I dealt with property owners and zonings constantly. It was a very tough intersection of property owners’ rights, development rights allowed under zoning, quality of life for residents and the law. I will bring this experience to Columbia with me to ensure we preserve the beauty and uniqueness of our area.