This afternoon, the members of the Freshmen Caucus of the State House's 2009-2010 class elected a decidedly conservative and mostly Upstate leadership, with all four officers seen as staunch conservatives and three hailing from the Greenvile County:
- Chair: Tim Scott from North Charleston
- Vice-Chair: Dan Hamilton from Taylors
- Secretary: Wendy Nanney from Greenville
- Treasurer: Tommy Stringer from Landrum
"It's a huge honor to facilitate this Freshman Caucus a conduit for the best ideas of others and get them to the leadership of the House," Tim Scott told us this in an interview this evening. He sees his role as their Chairman as a facilitator who would help move good ideas forward and make sure his fellow freshmen would play important roles in the next two years. Given the large number of freshmen, including several who toppled incumbents, he will have his work cut out for him.
Given Scott's highly-visible candidacy and his long record as a leader on Charleston County Council, as well as a number of other Lowcountry organizations, we're confident that of any freshman who has the ability to lead the freshman caucus, he was the right choice. We want to thank those who supported him for making a wise choice.
Anton Gunn, a freshman Democrat who won the seat vacated by Blogland favorite Rep. Bill Cotty, made bids for three of the four freshman offices, including Chair and Vice-Chair, losing each time. That's a whole lot of ambition for a first-week member, and we have to wonder if it's not too much.
These freshmen will face tough challenges: a slumping economy, the likelihood of one or more tight budget years, and a highly-combative relationship between the Governor and the General Assembly. They will be expected to make some tough decisions that may entail more political risk for them than with others with more seniority who have stronger political bonds in their districts. But we're confident many of them will put their duty as legislators above politics-as-usual.
To the officers of the Freshmen Caucus, we say "congratulations", and wish to extend to Scott and the other freshman our best wishes and prayers for successful two years in the House.