Inside Intervew: State Senator Larry Martin

This year, Republican Senator Larry Martin marks his 30th year of legislative service. Beginning his career in the House, he was elected to the Senate in 1992. Representing Pickens County, where he grew up, in the Senate, he chairs Rules Committee.

Recently, he agreed to do a little Q&A for our readers, so we threw a few questions his way, and here’s what he had to say back:

Thirty years is a long time in state politics, and a lot has changed. What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen and how do you feel about them?

The biggest change in the Legislature and in state politics since the late 1970’s has been the rise of the Republican Party. Some Republicans today question the sincerity of party switchers like me that began their involvement in politics in the 1970s as Democrats. But, that was practically the only game in town when I began. Conservatives were widely involved in the Democratic Party at the state and local level but that substantively changed in the 1980s and forward.

Another big change that has occurred is that our state’s economy is much more diversified than it was thirty years ago. Also, our higher educational system, particularly the research institutions, is contributing more to our state’s economy as is our technical education system. We’re also seeing a record numbers of students enrolled in higher education, particularly in our technical colleges. This bodes well for our future.

What’s an issue or two which are important to you, and what would you like to see done about them?

I’m once again sponsoring the tort reform legislation, and that’s a very important bill for the coming session and for South Carolina’s economic competitiveness. Also, I’m hopeful that the TRAC Commission will produce some meaningful recommendations that will enable us to enact a more balanced tax structure for the state.

Your career has been in manufacturing management in the textile industry, an industry which was once the bread-and-butter of the Upstate. What is the future of this industry in the Upstate?

A smaller textile industry presence will continue in the Upstate. It’s a tough, international environment that we face in competing with countries that don’t always play by the same rules we do. I also happen to believe that more than the remaining jobs in our domestic textile industry is at stake in discussing the industry’s health; it is vital to our national security that we maintain the capacity to produce fabric for a wide array of uses, particularly for defense, health care, etc.

After so many years serving in Columbia, do you have any plans to hang it up and retire in the near future?

It was never a goal of mine to serve a long time in the Legislature, and it has my policy not to make any plans beyond the next election cycle. The people of Pickens County have been extremely supportive and kind as evidenced by the support that I received in last year’s primary. Although the 2012 election cycle is three years away, I’m pretty confident that I’ll run again. I’m very involved in the day to day operation of the Senate and enjoy serving my constituency on a personal level. So, I’d like to continue to use what little influence I might have attained to make the process work for the betterment of our state and for the folks that I’m privileged to represent.

1 Response to "Inside Intervew: State Senator Larry Martin"

  1. Calhoun Fawls 19/11/09 06:16
    Martin's right about some textiles. People do not realize that bullet proof vests, fabrics in radial tires, fire proof jackets, it is all textiles. Even the gloves the navy uses in handling cables. I am not sure I want the Chinese making such things for us.

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