Upcoming legislative session holds big challenges for state

Next Tuesday, the General Assembly will convene for the 2009 legislative session. I will attend representing House District 81 (large portions of greater Aiken and most of Graniteville, Warrenville, and Vaucluse) for the first time. The coming year appears to be one of the most challenging that we will have faced as a state and a nation in at least a generation. The current economic crisis is the worst in at least 35 years. Like you and me, the State is having to make sacrifices and cuts to address budgetary shortfalls. The year ahead will be challenging but we can work through these tough times; learn from them; and put our State on a better track for a brighter future.

As to the upcoming legislative session, I am excited about getting started. My focus will include strengthening our economy, improving education, reforming our tax system, fixing our road and bridge infrastructure, reinforcing transparency with roll call voting and restructuring state government. Budget cuts will make the task difficult but I am determined to make a difference for our district and our state. I am already working on sponsoring or cosponsoring several bills that will address areas of concern to you, the voters in our district. With your help, we can make the improvements that we want to see in state government.

Recently, I have been working hard with the other members of the Aiken County legislative delegation to find funding sources for critical road improvements in the county that are necessary for addressing both traffic congestion and safety. Additionally, I am working with Senator Shane Massey, Representatives Roland Smith and Bill Clyburn, and other local, state, and federal leaders to find funding sources for improvements that are necessary for the water system in the Graniteville and Vaucluse area. We are hopeful that we will find adequate funding this year despite the economic downturn. The reality is that we may not due to the budget shortfalls at all levels of government. Nevertheless, we are trying.

Some of you have asked where I stand on transparency and roll call voting. I support it and I am a cosponsor of the Roll Call voting bill that was recently filed in the House. If you want to know how I and other members vote, then you should be able to find out. Accountability in state government is important to me and to you.

Please know that I am always available to you and your family should you ever need assistance. I will do my best to listen to you; to help with your constituent concerns; and to be responsive to your requests. I can be reached by telephone (649-0000); e-mail (TomYoung@schouse.org); regular mail (P.O. Box 651, Aiken, SC 29802); or just pull me aside when you see me.

Several people in the District have volunteered to help me keep up with pending legislation. If you have a particular area in which you would like to assist me, please e-mail me at TomYoung@schouse.org.

I plan to have town meetings in different parts of the district to stay in touch with you. We are working on dates and locations now. These will be announced in the paper as they come up and I encourage you to attend.

Thank you for the privilege and the opportunity to represent you. Remember that I want to hear from you on issues that are important to you. Together, we can get through these tough economic times and make our State Government more efficient; effective; and accountable.

The writer represents District 81 in the S.C. House of Representatives.

Aiken Standard
Representative Tom Young

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