I had been planning to do this interview series, but his phone call prompted me to get the ball rolling. I was pleasantly surprised when he volunteered to be the first participant. I held back no punches with my questions, in the usual Blogland style, and to his credit, he took each of them on. I appreciate his willingness to participate and give the Blogland a fair shake.
Scarborough’s legislative career began 2000, when he ousted incumbent Rep. Lynn Seithel in the GOP primary. However, his record of community service goes back much farther as a Citadel alum, former Exchange Club president and long-time face of the Coastal Carolina Fair. While his 2006 campaign was a close scrape with Democrat Eugene Platt, he seems determined to move on and move forward.
As is the usual Blogland procedure, we’re going to set the stage with some information and/or opinion, and then step aside and let our readers (Wallace is one of them) speak up for themselves. He is what he had to say …
What do you think have been your biggest accomplishments?
I am proud of many accomplishments but I would point out the following:
- I am proud of the improvements of Folly Road: Creating the turn lane at Folly and Battery Island drive, adding bike lanes along Folly Road and improvements at Camp and Folly soon to come.
- My support of the Schools on James Island; both James Island Middle and helping James Island Charter High School get its charter and now keep its charter.
- When it looked as though Morris Island Light house was going to lose its first $500,000 I was able to step in and help save the funding. I have also personally secured over $1,000,000 for the light house; not to mention the Morris Island license plate which was created by my legislation and brings in over $30,000 a year in recurring funds which help support the lighthouse.
- Helping to Protecting Long Island from development along with other small islands.
- Enabling the creation of the Town of James Island while also serving the people of Charleston and Folly Beach
The prior election was marked by some very important dynamics. First, Robert Barber, who once held seat 115, was running for Lt Governor. Second, the national Republican Party was having less success than expected at energizing voters. Third, I had more bad press and more personal stresses in the course of a year than most elected officials will see in a career. Despite these difficult circumstances, the voters returned me to office. It is important to note that the voters in my house race gave only two Republicans a majority of their votes, Mark Sanford and Wallace Scarborough. In the races for Lt. Gov, Secretary of Education, Treasurer and Comptroller General, the Republican candidate was defeated in my house districts precincts. The number one thing I learned is that loyally representing your voters and taking care of your district carries you through elections in the toughest of times.
What do you see as your priority issues in your ongoing term in the House?
- I must continue to look out for and help our schools. I have found that there are a lot of people jealous of our success and I have recently had to defend James Island’s Charter Schools from attacks by Democrats who want them folded back into the failing bureaucracy.
- I need to help protect the environment along our coast and water ways as God is not making any more and we need not destroy that which he has given us.
- Keep working on improving our road system. We in the house have passed major SCDOT reform this year. I believe that if it passed the Senate and the Governor signs the bill we will see improved roads and a more responsive SCDOT to the needs of all South Carolina
- There are several bills concerning insurance reform. I would like to see us concentrate on the Home Owner Insurance problems as well as Workers Compensation reform.
- The funding formulas for the SC Public School System needs a major overhaul both the EFA and EIA should be revamped or just plain thrown out.
- Government restructuring
… your divorce, in which a number of allegations of adultery and misconduct were made against you:
I am very sad about my divorce. Anyone who has gone through a divorce knows how hard it is. Sometimes things come between married people that make it impossible to continue together. I think it is a shame that something so personal became so public. We had problems for years and we both worked to try to overcome those problems, unfortunately we were not successful. Mostly I am sorry and apologize to my children who were really the innocent bystanders caught in the fire of opposing divorce attorneys allegations that made a good election story in the media. It is important to know as a “rest of the story”. My wife and I were divorced based on a year separation, and irreconcilable differences nothing else. The public allegations that were made against me were false and were made to discredit me in the eyes of the public and place doubt in the minds of the voting population. It has been very unfortunate and difficult couple years for my family but now things are getting back in order and moving ahead.
… your arrest for discharging a pistol near some SCE&G utility workers:
Your question is about my confrontation with two men who jumped the six foot high fence into my parents’ back yard in the dark of night and were shining flashlights into the windows of the house. I armed myself and confronted the prowlers. They claimed to be power company employees but refused to show proper identification or return to their truck (which was nowhere to be seen). Then claimed to be checking on my power outage yet the power was clearly on in the house. When they refused to leave or show ID I retreated toward the house to summon the authorities, tripped in the dark, and discharged my pistol into the ground. For this defense of my family property, I was rewarded with a night in the jail and a front page news story. Ultimately, I was completely exonerated, charges were dropped and my record was expunged. Ninth Circuit Solicitor Ralph Hoisington said “Wallace Scarborough's conduct did not amount to assault with intent to kill”. I was merely protecting my property, as all South Carolinians are allowed to do. And to those who think I got special treatment I can promise you I did not. I have a fifteen hour ordeal as the eighth person placed in a two person cell to prove it.
It is interesting the way news is now reported. The evolving electronic media is challenging the traditional media. We need to remember that in every case people write the news. We are in an age where you have to know who is delivering the news to you and always remember to read the byline before giving credibility to the story. Those bloggers who write comments anonymously should be given as much credibility as they give which is none. If a person will not give their name, how can what they write be trusted?
Where does Wallace Scarborough go from here as a citizen, neighbor, parent, etc.?
- I am still interested in public service. I have volunteered all my life. I plan to serve until I am not effective or the people chose to give their seat to someone else.
- I love James Island; it was where I was born and where I will stay.
- I have joint custody of my two sons and I look forward to watching them become productive members of society.
- As for my Parents that is a very private matter concerning a horrible sickness. I would welcome privacy in this matter as well as prayers.
I plan to file for reelection, raise my boys, run my business and serve the people.
... again, we thank Wallace for his willingness to participate. Look for more Inside Interviews, coming soon.