Showing posts with label endorsements. Show all posts
Showing posts with label endorsements. Show all posts

Eckstrom's vision of transparency qualifies him for another term

News that the City of Charleston is putting its financial records online is the latest in a chain of local governments who have responded to the growing transparency trend which was championed by State Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom:

State Comptroller Richard Eckstrom has been urging local governments to post such information online, to increase government transparency.

"By voluntarily posting their individual expenditures on their Web site for all to see, they are sending the message that people deserve easy, no-cost access to how their tax dollars are spent," Eckstrom said. "They should be commended."

Eckstrom's office previously posted spending information for state government on his Web site,, which now includes links to local governments that have posted their own information.

Charleston County and Dorchester County have posted their information online as well.

For now, Charleston's Web site shows vendor payments made in June. The list, posted on Monday, takes up 52 pages.

Comptroller Eckstrom, who was once seen by some as a polarizing partisan figure, has put forth a vision of accountability which has been seen as so common-sense that it's been embraced by a wide and bipartisan range of community leaders across the state, including Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, a staunch Democrat. That's the kind of responsible fiscal leadership this state needs as it navigates its way through some of its most perilous financial straits.

Eckstrom's efforts to reform how government manages its finances haven't always been embraced in their early stages, but time and time again, he has never been afraid to promote constructive ideas, stick to his fiscally-conservative principles, and challenge the status-quo in state politics. For this, the Blogland is proud to endorse him for third term in the Comptroller's office.

Voters who want to see state government become more responsible and accountable to those whose hard-earned dollars go to support it should vote to keep Eckstrom working as the state's top fiscal reformer.

LaDonna Ryggs - A Republican Leader for Spartanburg County

The candidacy of current Spartanburg County GOP Chair Rick Beltram has opened speculation as to who will succeed him. Long-time Republican activist and current State Executive Committee member LaDonna Ryggs - a big Blogland fan - has announced her intent to seek this office.

LaDonna Ryggs is the kind of committed Republican worker who has earned an opportunity to serve in this office, and the Blogland endorses her candidacy.

While the rules allow Rick Beltram, the current SpGOP Chair, to seek re-election, as well as run for the state GOP Chairmanship, we believe his candidacy for state Chair should be his sole responsibility. Electing LaDonna Ryggs would ensure a smooth succession with a well-qualified candidate - and allow Beltram to focus his full energies on his state chairman's bid.

Her extensive record of service to Republicans and party organizations around the state is one of the most exemplary we've ever seen. She has campaigned tirelessly around the state for years and helped build the state Federation of Republican Women into a strong network we affectionately refer to as "The South Carolina Mafia". Under her leadership, this organization has worked to seat its own in various appointed and elected offices around the state, as well as sending many to the recent national convention.

LaDonna's proven leadership abilities offer great opportunities for Spartanburg County Republicans, which is why she is best-suited to succeed Rick Beltram. Spartanburg Republicans should elect her to this post.
... however, it is important to note this is not intended to reflect upon Beltram's state candidacy as the Blogland intends to offer no endorsement in this race. Blogland readers are urged to get off their duffs and attend the many events at which state chair candidates, both collectively and individually, are present and get the information necessary to make up their own minds.

Callanan, Clark, and Schuster - Integrity, Hard Work, and Positive Leadership for the Berkeley GOP

In recent years, Berkeley County GOP politics has become nasty, deceptive and outright abusive. Much of it has been at the hands of the current leadership who has engaged in campaigns of character assasination and intimidation while avoiding conducting audit of their accounts. The current Chair had a recent DUI arrest, and a recent Chair resigned following reports of missing funds and news of over two dozen personal bad check warrants.

Some of the current Chair's shameless tactics and stunts have been well covered in the Blogland.

It is important to remember that the GOP congressional majority was toppled largely because voters got sick of the sleaze and underhandedness. Likewise, the current leadership in Berkeley County threatens to hand opportunities to Democrats. Republicans who want a party that can truly lead by example would be wise to elect the following three candidates at their county convention:

Tim Callanan, Chair: This County Council member from Daniel Island has been a proven fiscal conservative on Council and a fresh voice of sanity and respect in local politics. His fresh perspective will make him an excellent Chair.

Cindy Clark, 1st Vice-Chair: Cindy has been a Republican leader from the trenches. She's got a rock-solid work ethic and has been fair to all. She can build teams and do the late work necessary to help win elections.

Charles Schuster, 2nd Vice-Chair: Charles has been a loyal Republican for decades and has led the county's GOP Breakfast club ably and ethically. After becoming the target of false character attacks and deception by the current Chair, electing him would help thank him for what he's done, as well as what he's endured.

These three are well-known for being principled, hard-working, and thoughtful, while staying above the fray of the nasty infighting of Berkeley County politics. As such, they are well-positioned to move the Berkeley County GOP beyond the current quagmire of factional feuding. It is refreshing to see them having the willingness to chart a new course, and it's a direction which has been long overdue.

Blogland readers in Berkeley County who want change, reform, and leadership with integrity need to vote for these three candidates.

Moye Graham: A Republican Leader for Clarendon County

Moye Graham is well-known to Blogland regulars, but he's also a well-recognized face in Clarendon County politics. A native of the area, he's been involved with the local Republican Party for many years. Last year, the Blogland endorsed him in his successful bid for a 6th District delegate slot for that year's GOP national convention.

This year, Moye Graham is seeking the chairmanship of the Clarendon County Republican Party. We believe he is the right candidate for the job and endorse his candidacy.

Tides of fortune for Clarendon County Republicans are starting to move in a positive direction. Several statewide GOP candidates have broken the 40% mark in recent years, as retirees have begun moving into developments along Lake Marion, combining their votes with the county's rural conservative voters. In the 2006 elections, most GOP statewide candidates made stops in Clarendon County, many of them more than once, signalling this area could be moving into the contested column.

Given the right kind of leadership, Clarendon County Republicans could help usher in a long-overdue era of competitiveness in a county where most races for public office are uncontested in both the June primaries and November elections. Moye Graham's Clarendon roots and political experience suggest he could be a smart leader who is able to work effectively to organize and lead the local party. Just as importantly, his relationships with Republicans beyond Clarendon County could help bring the resources and talent needed to help Clarendon Republicans become relevant in local politics.

We've made a lot of friends in Clarendon County, and it's become our favorite rural community for a lot of reasons. Many of those are active in the local Republican Party, and we know they tune into the Blogland regularly. We would encourage them to give Moye Graham a well-deserved opportunity to lead their party.

2009 Blogland state Judicial endorsements

In the week coming up, legislators will be asked to make decisions about who should fill a number of judicial seats. In the last few weeks, these candidates have worked hard to introduce themselves to legislators and make their cases.

Several of these candidates took the time to talk with us and we appreciate the growing willingness by judges and judicial candidates to shed a little light into the judicial selection process, as well as the need to reach out to new media outlets, such as the Blogland, to help make their cases.

Having met with a number of good candidates, we decided to endorse some of the more outstanding ones:

Judge Jeff Young - At-large Circuit Court, Seat 1

Jeff Young is one of three candidates for this seat. His record of service as a legislator, in the U.S. Air Force, both active duty and reserve, as well as a Family Court judge, shows a well-rounded professional background of public service.

We agree with the screening commission members, who observed that:

Judge Young has an outstanding reputation as a Family Court Judge. They noted he is known for his common sense and his good temperament which would serve him well on the Circuit Court.

We would also like to point out that those looking for a law-and-order judge will likely find it in Young, who was the sponsor of the state's concealed-carry handgun law.

Judge Young's record of service is outstanding and he is the best qualified candidate to fill this seat.

Deborah Brooks Durden - Adminstrative Law Court, Seat 4

Administrative law may not be the most exciting kind of law, but it's crucial to the operation of the state. Someone who holds this seat needs to be able to understand the importance of the decisions this court makes, have a solid resume in the legal field, as well as experience with adminstrative law.

Durden's qualifications stand out above the other two candidates. She was also one of the first judicial candidates to reach out to us, signifying that she values the role new media outlets, such as this one, can play in educating the public about the judicial process.

Based upon what we've seen, we're not surprised that screening commission members found that:

Ms. Durden is enthusiastic and sincere about her desire to serve on the Administrative Law Court. The Commission also noted that Ms. Durden has excellent experience and is a hard worker which would serve her well on the court.

For these and other reasons, Durden has the unique background needed for this judicial seat and is best suited for the job.

Judge Roger Young - Ninth Circuit Court

Judge Young is unopposed, but we've been impressed with his intellect, temperament and willingness to reach out to new media outlets, as well as his great taste in BBQ.

We agree wholeheartedly with the finding of screening commission members that:

Judge Young is a dedicated, hard working, and exceptionally intelligent judge. They noted he has been a valuable asset to the Circuit Court bench for the past five years.

We hope that a vote is called for this seat so this guy can win it in a well-deserved landslide.

Elect Jill Kelso - A fresh new voice in the State House

Voters along the South Carolina coast have an opportunity to shake things up and send a great new voice to the State House by electing Republican Jill Kelso to House Seat 108, which covers the lower Grand Strand, the city of Georgetown, and much of northern Charleston County.

The incumbent, Democrat Vida Miller, has held the seat since 1997, appealing to crossover voters as a self-identified independent. Thus far, it has worked, but Kelso has worked hard and presented herself as a candidate whose affiliations and political philosophies are not in conflict. From what we've been told, she's made considerable headway in her candidacy.

Kelso has taken Miller to task for ignoring issues in the district, including being an absentee board member of a non-profit whose director had raided them for over five million dollars, and has campaigned hard on a platform based upon strong constituent outreach, supporting restructuring and challenging Columbia's pork barrel culture. While we see these as good things, the incumbent doesn't seem to think fixing the tax-and-spend culture that has created a state budget which roller coasters into disaster during every economic slowdown is that important.

When we talked with Kelso, she didn't take the conventional partisan tack, but rather talked about issues and ideas with an eye on solving problems, not scoring political points. That is just the kind of leadership our state needs.

We would never presume to call someone with Miller's record of community service unethical or corrupt because such charges wouldn't be true. But sooner or later, mistakes are made, and when that happens, it's time for a change.

The time for a change has come, and Jill Kelso has shown us she's up to the task of representing District 108, which is why we're endorsing her.

Keep Dean Fowler Treasurer - Florence County's fiscal watchdog

Today, we couldn't help but notice our good friend Mike Reino actually beat us to the punch with something we were meaning to get around to writing when he endorsed Florence County Tresurer Dean Fowler for re-election.

While Mike captures what Fowler does at the local level, we'd like to take this to another level and tell you that Dean Fowler is recognized around the state as a go-to guy when it comes to running an efficient Treasurer's office with great customer service. That level of trust is an honor accorded to few people who hold such offices around the state.

But while many County Treasurers are content to sit back and collect taxes, that's not enough for Fowler, who has been a long-time critic of taxes and spending in local politics. He sees the real world impact taxes have upon Florence County residents, and he's not afraid to speak out to help protect them from excessive taxation.

Fowler's opponent was dismissed from his job as the Florence County Tax Assessor after an investigation turned up a wide range of problems with his office:

Florence County documents show there were numerous financial, legal and other concerns with former Tax Assessor Leval Williams who said charges during his grievance hearing were based on “misinterpretations and lies.”

The documents, released to the Morning News under a Freedom of Information request, also provided details of his grievance process which has upheld Williams’

Williams, now running for county treasurer, was fired March 14 from the tax assessor’s post.

- Documents detail concerns with former tax assessor, Florence Morning News, 10/25/08

Such allegations are troubling and Florence County voters can ill afford to take a chance on Williams. Especially when they have a strong incumbent in Fowler who knows the job and has done an outstanding job.

Doing your job well, and then going above and beyond the call of duty ia what real leadership is all about. That's what Florence County has in Dean Fowler, which is why Florence County voters should vote to give him another four years in office.

Re-elect Nikki Haley - A rising star and a leading reformer

Several years ago, Nikki Haley arrived in the House with a big splash when she knocked off the senior House member to win her Lexington-area House seat. Since then, she’s continued to draw attention as she’s aggressively pushed a reform agenda and challenged the status quo in Columbia.

More than once, we’ve helped promote her current reform effort – requiring roll-call voting in the General Assembly. Since she came out for it, a wave of support has built up behind it so big it’s hard to see this issue not moving forward when the General Assembly returns in January. Once that mission is completed, we expect she’ll move onto another issue which has long been overlooked. Fixing problems is what she enjoys doing, which makes her extremely valuable in the State House.

Given the district’s strong lean and the fact that this district hasn’t been represented by a Democrat in over three decades, we’re a little puzzled as to why someone would want to challenge her in the fall. But it’s a free country, so her challenger has every right to run. But running for office doesn’t mean one should win. Voters have a proven workhorse and reformer in Nikki Haley, and they would be wise to send her back to the House to continue doing what she’s been doing – working for to make our state friendlier for business growth, as well as fighting for much-needed reforms in state government.

Keep Shannon Erickson working hard in the State House

We’ve seen a lot of freshman hit the House with overly-high expectations, only to hit a brick wall when they realize how big a place the House can be. When Shannon Erickson hit the House last year, she didn’t let the task at hand discourage her, or buy into the school of thought that says freshman legislators are supposed to sit back, watch, and do little else.

We awarded her the Outstanding Freshman Representative award for this term because she has shown outstanding initiative and leadership. Combined with her tireless work ethic which has made her a successful businesswoman, Representative Erickson did something few legislators do in their first year – she pushed a bill through to the Governor’s desk. The Lauren Gentry Act was a real solution to a real problem in her district, as well as in schools across the state. Such vision and effectiveness in a first-year House member is rare indeed. If returned to the House, she’ll build on this record of hard work, smart legislative leadership, and solid attention to issues in her district to become a fast riser in the House.

Her opponent’s pending criminal charges of causing a disturbance at Ladys Island Elementary, in the heart of District 124, are concerning. While the charges haven’t gone to trial, we know that they haven’t been dropped either, which gives us reason to view his candidacy with some caution. To be honest, we’re curious as to why he’d even run for office with such charges unresolved. The voters of District 124 should ask him to bring some resolution to this case.

Representative Erickson has a record that clearly makes her the choice for the seat. We’ve seen amazing things from her, and if the voters of her District give her another term, we know they won’t be disappointed.

Re-elect Shane Massey – Fresh new leadership worth keeping

Last year, in the special election fight to replace Democratic Senator Tommy Moore, few people expected Shane Massey to emerge from the pack, but he did, scoring an impressive landslide run-off win and then he prevailed in a tough fight against a veteran Democratic House member. We endorsed him in that race, recognized him as the Outstanding Freshman Senator from this four-year legislative term and he hasn’t disappointed us.

One of his first acts was to sponsor legislation to put an end to earmark spending in the state budget, a key campaign promise which he eagerly kept. He is also a hard worker back in his district, eagerly giving out the number to his cell phone, which he calls a “24-7 constituent service hotline”. With a passion to address big problems, as well as pay close attention to matters back home, Massey has a balanced perspective towards the job of being a Senator which has received considerable praise.

Senator Shane Massey has met and exceeded expectations for a freshman Senator, and has earned the respect of many both inside and outside of the Senate. He’s worked hard for his district, as well as the best interests of the state as a whole. These are all good reasons why voters would be wise to vote to keep him in the Senate.

Send Dee Compton to the State Senate

The race to replace Senator John Drummond has been a close race since the spring, and two good candidates have offered for the seat: Republican Dee Compton, a member of Greenwood County Council, and Floyd Nicholson, the Mayor of Greenwood.

With a record of fiscal conservatism backed by no less than S.C. Association of Taxpayers President Don Weaver, Compton has consistently voted against raising County residential property taxes. Not only that, he worked to find ways to consolidate departments, implementing hiring freezes, and privatize those county services which could be done more for less by the private sector. In a rural area in which attracting new industry and jobs is a challenge and money can be tight in many households, this kind of fiscal responsibility is exactly what the District needs.

Compton brings a record of leadership in both Greenwood City and County, and his hard-working candidacy enjoys the support and respect of regional and statewide leaders. While the Democratic candidate has been a good citizen with a commendable record of service to the people of Greenwood, Compton's record and broad base of support from both citizens and community and political leaders makes the difference in this race.

Next week, we’re asking the residents of District Ten to trust Compton to be their next outstanding Senator. We believe he is best-qualified to get results for them in Columbia.

Keep Sabrina Gast – York County’s proven and hard-working Coroner

We met Sabrina Gast last spring for the first time. As the Governor’s interim appointee to the job, she brought tremendous credentials, as well as respectability to an office which gone through considerable negative publicity.

We encouraged Governor Sanford to pick her for the job because of these outstanding qualifications, as well as her strong willingness to serve the people of her county with competence, professionalism, and compassion. Her qualifications, her record of service, and commitment to an often-thankless job have proven her appointment to be a wise choice. The voters of York County would make an equally wise choice by voting to keep her as their Coroner.

Re-elect Phil Lowe – A hard worker in the State House

The race for House District 60 is likely to be a knock-down drag-out fight to the finish. But two years ago, when the seat was vacant and Phillip Lowe was running to replace retiring Rep. Marty Coates, we thought the same thing, but he proved us wrong when he scored a twenty-point win.

Usually there’s a reason a candidate pulls a blow-out victory in a tough race. We know why - Lowe's work ethic and willingness to focus on issues stands out.

In talking with his colleagues and getting to know him, we can see why he impressed the tough customers that are the voters of House District 60. In an era of well-packaged politicians, backed with slick and elaborately-spun messages, Lowe believes getting results requires hard work, instead of big talk or back-room deal-making. In his first two years in the House, he’s taken that outsider take on real-world leadership and put it to work for the Pee Dee in the State House.

In a district like this, there are a lot of people who like to take a long hard look at a candidate before they cast a ballot, which is commendable. We believe when they people of District 60 kick the tires and look under the hood to see what kind of Representative they presently have, they’ll find Lowe’s solid work ethic and willingness to see things through is worthy of their vote. If they want to keep a good thing going, they should send him back to the State House.

Vote for Marvin Rogers – The right voice for real change

For a long time, York County’s legislative delegation has seen little change. Senators Gregory, Hayes, and Peeler, along with Representatives Delleney, Kirsh, and Simrill are all into their second or third decade of legislative service. The departure of Rock Hill State Representative Bessie Moody-Lawrence, who has held Seat 49 since 1992, has created a rare opportunity for York County to send a new face to Columbia. While replacing that much experience would seem to present a tough challenge for voters, the choice is easier than one might think.

Our choice for the seat is Republican Marvin Rogers, who will face John King, the Democratic nominee.

In a district which is almost evenly split between rural and suburban mostly-white areas and mostly-black urban areas, Rogers has worked to reach all voters with an inclusive political agenda based upon addressing common concerns about economic development, promoting the quality of life, and bringing the district’s diverse communities together. While representing such a broad constituency might make him a wild card in the House, a little political independence can be a good thing.

It’s important to note that King’s family is a long-time family in Chester County politics. He moved to the district several years ago after his political career stalled in his home county. We think the voters deserve someone who wants to serve the public, not someone who sees them as stepping stones on the path of ambition.

The differences between Rogers and King are clear – honest and inclusive vision over blind political ambition. Rogers is the honest choice, and that’s why we’re supporting him. We hope the voters of District 49 will join us in doing so.

Dee Compton for Senate District Ten: The right choice in a tough race

Ask most people where the real election action is around the state. While you’ll get different answers, most will tell you one of three locations: along the coast, Midlands, or the Upstate. While few people will say the region in and around Greenwood is a key electoral battleground, strategists from both sides of the party line will tell you it will be a key focal point for their efforts this fall.

When Senator John Drummond, whose service in the Senate stretched across much of the 20th Century, decided to retire from the chamber, both sides have worked to recruit strong candidates. The Democrats recruited Floyd Nicholson, the current Mayor of Greenwood, to defend their hold on the seat, while the GOP hopes to gain the seat with Greenwood County Council Vice Chair Dee Compton, who emerged from a five-candidate pack to win the GOP nomination by a crushing margin in the June run-off.

In 2000, Drummond’s GOP challenger, Hunter Eddy, surprised political observers when his underfunded candidacy racked up 41 percent of the vote in what had been considered a strong district for the Democrats. Since then, a lot has changed in and around District Ten, and in the favor of the GOP: the GOP has moved into the political lead in Greenwood County, taking a majority on County Council and it’s State House delegation, as well as winning several courthouse offices, and has begun running and winning races in Abbeville and Laurens Counties, which comprise about a quarter of the Senate district.

Building on a broad base of support, which includes many of the district's State Representatives, as well as county officials, Compton has built a strong team and a formidable campaign both during and after the GOP primary race. Combined with the growing lean towards the GOP in much of the district, there is much to suggest this could be the State Senate seat most likely to shift to the GOP column this fall.

With a record of fiscal conservatism backed by no less than S.C. Association of Taxpayers President Don Weaver, Compton has consistently voted against raising County residential property taxes. Not only that, he worked to find ways to consolidate departments, implementing hiring freezes, and privatize those county services which could be done more for less by the private sector. In a rural area in which attracting new industry and jobs is a challenge and money can be tight in many households, this kind of fiscal responsibility is exactly what the District needs.

John Drummond’s leadership set a very high standard for District Ten residents, and they should expect their next Senator to have the potential to continue Drummond’s legacy. Compton brings a record of leadership in both Greenwood City and County, and his hard-working candidacy enjoys the support and respect of regional and statewide leaders. While the Democratic candidate has been a good citizen with a commendable record of service to the people of Greenwood, Compton's record and broad base of support from both citizens and community and political leaders makes the difference in this race.

In November, we’re asking the residents of District Ten to trust Compton to be their next outstanding Senator. We believe he is best-qualified to get results for them in Columbia.

Appoint Sabrina Gast Coroner of York County

The resignation of York County Coroner is a disappointing end to the career of someone we once regarded highly. It is imperative that this office be filled quickly with a qualified candidate who can help restore public trust in the office, as well as have the talent and drive to set a higher standard of leadership for the office.

Sabrina Gast is the right candidate for the job.

Gast has experience in this office, having been served as acting Coroner for nearly two years after the now-resigned coroner had been suspended. In that time, she has proven that she knows the ropes, has a rock-solid work ethic, and exhibits compassion for her cases.

While her track record as acting Coroner does much to recommend her, her academic and professional qualifications are outstanding. A lifelong resident of York County, Gast’s has a BS degree in Nursing and a Master’s in Forensic Nursing, and is certified as an Emergency Nurse, Forensic Nurse, and Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. She has worked in trauma centers, taught forensics, and developed and implemented programs for law enforcement, as well as served as an expert witness in numerous trials.

While most of our state's Coroners do a good job, few have the kind of qualifications that Gast brings to the table. York County is fortunate to have someone so qualified willing to serve in this capacity.

Sabrina Gast knows the job of being York County’s Coroner, and has done it faithfully, honestly, and competently for nearly two years. She is known around the state for doing an outstanding job and setting a higher standard for the office. In considering the job she’s done as an “acting” Coroner, we believe she can do even more as full-fledged Coroner. It’s a title she’s earned through her record of service, and an honor she richly deserves.

To us, appointing Sabrina Gast to be York County’s Coroner seems the right thing to do for so many reasons. We hope Governor Sanford will do just that.

“He is so much more”: Bill Cotty, Distinguished Outgoing Representative

The Blogland has gotten to know Bill Cotty quite well over the last couple of years. We first met him back in 2002, when he was campaigning for former Representative David Owens, and in the fall of 2006, he helped introduce us to the growing threats presented by SCRG when we fact-checked a number of misleading attacks and questionable campaign tactics. After that, he did an Inside Interview with us, and since then, we’ve come to think the world of this guy, and we’re going to miss him now that he’s decided to retire.

Representative Cotty played key roles as a negotiator and deal-maker in the 1995 welfare reform legislation, the 2000 Confederate flag compromise and the 2006 property tax reform. One of his last major efforts in the General Assembly was helping lead the successful effort in January to seat Ninth Circuit Judge Kristi Harrington, whose candidacy was endorsed by the Blogland.

Representative Cotty didn't just endear himself to the Blogland - he also made a lot of strong impressions among his fellow legislators. In fact, we received far more responses than we could fit into this story.

One especially-insightful perspective was provided to us by freshman Representative Shannon Erickson noted his sometimes-humble approach to legislative service, when she pointed out to us:

He’ll tell you he’s just a dirt lawyer, but he is so much more. He has been a great teacher for those of us who are just learning how to be legislators.

State Treasurer Converse Chellis was Cotty’s seatmate when they served together in the House. Chellis was:

Always impressed with his constituent service and work ethic. You would find that Bill was very respected on the House floor for his knowledge of the issues, his willingness to work with people who opposed his legislation to make sure they understood what he was trying to accomplish, as well as his sense of fairness.

Nathan Ballentine, a fellow Republican House member from Richland County, had this to say about Bill:

Bill and I are in the minority on our local delgation. In fact, we're in the minority in the House in the sense that we just say what we feel and let the chips fall where they may. You always knew where Bill stood. He didn't sugarcoat it. Didn't care about personalities and personal feelings. He took positions on issues based on the facts, his opinions, and listenting to his constituents.

Bill's living proof about the old "sticks and stones" phrase. He's had a lot of people try to label him but I simply label him as this: very knowledgeable, straight-shooter, passionate.

Carl Gullick, a veteran York County politico about to start his second term in the House, praised Cotty, calling him:

A rare statesman in a place full of politicians. He doesn't follow opinion polls or take orders. He does what he believes is the right thing for his district, and has worked to make a real difference in the House.
We know Cotty is winding down his law practice with an eye towards professional retirement, as well as from the General Assembly. He’s got plans to enjoy more time with his wife and their family, including grandchildren. We wish them all well in the years to come and thank Bill for a job well done. His leadership has set a standard which we hope others will aspire to in the future.

For those of you who haven't seen it before, we'd like to share this clip of his appearance on Comedy Central's Daily Show with John Stewart:

“She knows exactly what she is doing”: Shannon Erickson, Outstanding Freshman Representative

There are a number of freshmen legislators in the House, but in our humble opinion, there is one who stands above the rest, combining a positive “can-do” attitude with bulldog tenacity. Beaufort County Representative Shannon Erickson has earned our recognition as the Outstanding Freshman Representative.

Her win in a tough special election last fall showed this lady is a hard worker, and her willingness to get hands-on when it’s an important issue got our attention. We were glad to help push her Lauren Gentry law through a few weeks ago. Getting a bill to the Governor’s desk is always a big deal for a first-year legislator.

We also want to give her credit for keeping a pretty full website online for constituent service:

But don't just take our word for it. She’s earned a reputation for being hard-working, well-informed and respectful towards both the Columbia crowd and the folks back home. Here's what some of her fellow House members had to say ...

Nathan Ballentine, a Midlands Republican, praised Erickson for jumping into her job quickly once she took office:

Some freshmen come to Columbia and feel intimidated. They buy into the the "old guard" mantra that "freshman can't make an impact and shouldn't speak up." Luckily for Beaufort, they sent someone who doesn't follow that line of thinking. Shannon immediately made her presence known in Columbia.

Veteran House member Annette Young from Dorchester County praised her work ethic and her intent to keep on top of the issues before the General Assembly:

She does her homework before she casts every vote. She makes sure she knows exactly what she is doing, and why.

Fellow freshman Phillip Lowe from Florence County praised her initiative:

Shannon hit the ground running. She passed legislation and took the floor like a veteran. We proudly took her into the conservative freshman class that will and did make a difference. Best of all she has Florence ties..

Retiring veteran House member Bill Cotty praised Erickson as:

The ‘real deal’- smart and hard working. She hit the ground running after winning the special election and made a major impact in the House in her first year of service. Shannon's authorship and passage of a bill to allow high school victims of on-campus intimidation from forfeiting their right to play sports when they transfer schools under duress reflects effectiveness and the importance she places on constituent service.

This fall, she faces a Democratic challenger, but we’re hoping that voters will look at how far she’s come in one year, and vote to send her back so she can build upon what she’s accomplished thus far.

3 great national delegates: McAbee, Pearson, and Ryggs

Those of us attending Saturday’s GOP convention will have important decisions to make. Yesterday's endorsement of Glenn McCall was intended to provide guidance on one of those decisions.

Regarding other decisions – the matter of filling the state’s remaining national convention delegate slots - there are three candidates who have earned delegate slots: Mary McAbee of Anderson County, Mary Pearson of Dorchester County, and LaDonna Ryggs of Spartanburg County.

All three have distinguished themselves as local Chairs and State Committee members from their respective home counties, as well as leaders in the State Federation of Republican Women. We’ve gotten to know all three of them, and we’re impressed with their records of contributing to the party.

McAbee, Pearson, and Ryggs – why do we support them?

Mary McAbee is a true team player in Anderson County. From Gresham Barrett and Henry McMaster to a whole pack of local candidates, she has worked hard for them. In the 1990s, when Anderson County’s long-time Democratic Party rule was toppled, McAbee was one of those most responsible for electing many of the county’s first generation of elected Republicans. As the current President of the State Federation of Republican Women, she’s worked hard to extend the growing influence of that organization and provide crucial support for the 2008 general election races.

Mary Pearson is no stranger to the Blogland. We endorsed her successful candidacy for Dorchester County Treasurer, in one of the first statewide blogger political efforts. She has a thirty-year record of local, regional, and statewide Republican leadership – you name it, she’s done it. Her creative and hard-driving leadership of the county’s Victory GOTV efforts accomplished amazing results with the most minimal of resources. But she’s not just a political leader - in addition to being the current Treasurer, her business background and community leadership roles, including as a treasurer and trustee for several Dorchester County fire departments, make her a well-rounded leader.

LaDonna Ryggs is one of the reasons the State Federation of Republican Women has become a force to be reckoned with. Under her term as President, which ended last winter, the organization’s influence allowed their members to play key roles in judicial races, seating conservative judges, as well as playing pivotal roles in a number of legislative and gubernatorial appointments. Currently the State Committee representative from Spartanburg, she may be soft-spoken, but her record shows she truly carries a big stick for her Republican team.

Remember these three proven Republican leaders - McAbee, Pearson, and Ryggs.

These three have earned their national delegate slots. They’ll have our votes on Saturday, and we hope you’ll join us in supporting them.

Support Glenn McCall – our proven Republican leader

It’s no secret that times are tough for the GOP. If you chose any of the following reasons for these troubles, you’d be right:

  • Disconnects with voters on today’s key issues,
  • A willingness to tolerate criminal and ethical misconduct by GOP leaders,
  • Failure to keep up with the Democrats in team-building and fundraising approaches,
  • Lack of enthusiasm among the GOP base,
  • Poor candidate recruitment, and
  • Ineffective and failing party leadership by many.
These are the major problems we see, but they certainly aren’t the only ones.

While things appear bad, sometimes it is when you hit rock bottom that you can truly turn things around. In the race to elect a new RNC National Committeeman from South Carolina is a candidate who will play a major role in turning things around: Glenn McCall.

Presently, McCall is the chair of the York County GOP, which has a thriving and robust party organization, as well as 2nd Vice-Chair of the state GOP. He is employed as a Vice-President of Bank of America.

Glenn McCall has a record of leading and building, and knows the GOP team needs to be broad and bold, in size, perspectives and vision, if it is to build a true and lasting governing majority. Also, it can no longer be a “whites only club” if it is remain competitive and relevant with an increasingly-diverse electorate.

But McCall believes these changes must also reconnect the GOP with its bedrock principles of fiscal conservatism, domestic security, limited and accountable government, and the empowerment of individuals, families and businesses. McCall is someone who believes these things, and he will work hard to make them happen.

In Glenn McCall, we see someone who is strong and assertive enough not to take orders, but is confident enough to reach out and work with others to reach our common goals of peace, prosperity and progress. He won’t take orders from those who have narrow agendas, or as did former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, fail to speak out against those who make a mockery of the GOP by illegal conduct or abandoning key GOP principles. In a party that needs to learn how to fight back, this guy is a fighter.

The GOP has a long road to recovery. As our National Committeeman, Glenn McCall can do much to help with that process. That’s why we’ll be voting for him at the upcoming SCGOP convention, and so should you.