Midland Valley Monthly – January 2010

Happy New Year to you and your family! Now that the Holidays are over and the new year is upon us, it is time to do all that we can to make 2010 a great year for living and working in Aiken County. This column is to keep you informed about what is going on at your State House and around our district during the past month of December.

First, it has been five years this month since the tragic train wreck that permanently left its mark on this area of Aiken County and the families of those who were killed or injured in the chemical spill. While time rolls on, we cannot forget those who were killed; those who lost their jobs in the subsequent industry closings; and those who worked heroically for weeks to help fellow citizens in need. Please take a moment this month to reflect on these things as we continue to work hard for a better future in this part of Aiken County.

Second, as to the Avondale Water System, Rep. Roland Smith, Senator Massey and I continue work with VPSA, Aiken County, and Avondale to bring the transfer to reality. Other members of the Aiken County legislative delegation including Rep. Bill Clyburn have been particularly helpful to the effort. Many folks are working to meet the deadlines for both the transfer agreement and the federal monies that are available for improvements. We expect the transfer to take place before the end of January based on all indications to date. That will be a great day for our community!

Third, here is the latest on the July bills and the water rate hike: Contrary to Avondale’s recent letter to some folks in the district, the July bills are not due until the end of January of 2010 by order of the Public Service Commission. The PSC wrote Avondale again on December 23 at the request of our legislative delegation reminding Avondale that the July bills are not due until the end of January. If anyone has any questions or concerns about this, please call Representative Roland Smith, Senator Massey, or me.

At the House of Representatives, a resolution to impeach Governor Sanford was debated in the House Judiciary Committee on December 15. By a vote of 18 to 6, the resolution failed. Soon after, the Committee voted unanimously to censure Governor Sanford. I voted not to impeach because (1) Governor Sanford is in his last year in office; (2) the constitutional standard to impeach is very high and I am not sure that the Governor’s transgressions arise to the impeachment level; and (3) in today’s economic climate, it is important for the State Legislature to focus on the problems affecting all of us in South Carolina and not become bogged down in an impeachment fight that consumes the 2010 legislative session. It is critical that the 2010 session be productive. Bogging down in impeachment proceedings for at least half of the session will not get us to where we want to be. If you have a different view, please let me know.

Finally, the South Carolina House of Representatives reconvenes on January 12 for the 2010 session to last through early June. During my first year in the House in the 2009 session, I sponsored or cosponsored several bills to improve South Carolina consistent with my campaign vision of “A Plan for Palmetto Progress” including bills focused on strengthening our economy; improving education; reforming our tax structure; fixing our road and bridge infrastructure; reinforcing transparency with roll call voting; and restructuring state government. I will be working hard on these initiatives during this upcoming session.

Please know that I am always available to you and your family should you ever need assistance. I can be reached by telephone (649-0000 or 215-3631); email (TomYoung@schouse.org); regular mail (P.O. Box 651, Aiken, SC 29802); or just pull me aside when you see me. If you would like for me to speak to your church or other civic group about pending legislation or other concerns to you, please let me know. Remember to check my website – www.reptomyoung.com – for updates about is going on at the State House and in our district. Thank you for the privilege and the opportunity to represent you.

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