Update – August 10 to August 17, 2010

The House of Representatives has adjourned for the 2010 session. I hope that you find this update helpful and informative:

Best Wishes for the New School Year: Thousands of students and teachers across our district started school this week. While most schools may have been closed the past couple of months, our teachers have been working toward this week where they will greet their students with the same passion, dedication, and concern which they always bring to the profession. I suspect most everyone reading this column can think of the teachers who made a difference in their lives somewhere along the way. The statistics in the next post below should demonstrate why good, caring teachers and an emphasis on the basics are critical to the future of our state and our nation.

Alarming Statistics on Reading: I am firmly convinced that reading is the key to success in the classroom for many of the children in our schools. Recently, I read the following statistics on Reading from some information shared at our Rotary Club:

· Only 36% of low-income parents read daily to their children.

· The size of a 48 month old child’s vocabulary predicts his 11th grade reading ability.

· 6 readiness skills are needed for 1st grade reading mastery.

· 70% of 3rd graders who read below grade level never catch up.

· Approximately 70% of high school dropouts have reading proficiency problems.

· 60% of low income families have no children’s books in their homes.

I will provide more information in a future update on what local volunteers can do to assist with addressing these issues in our community.

Aiken County School District Expenses: At my July 13, 2010 town meeting, I shared the latest breakdown on expenses in the Aiken County School District. The chart can be reviewed by clicking here.

Great News for USC Aiken: The University of South Carolina Aiken is ranked first among the top public regional colleges in the South in the year 2011 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s guide, “America’s Best Colleges.” This is the 13th consecutive year USC Aiken has been ranked in the top three public regional colleges in the South category by U.S. News & World Report. USC Aiken has been ranked first seven times: 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2011.

Aiken County Legislative Delegation Meeting: The Aiken County Legislative Delegation met this past Monday, August 16 at 5:00 p.m. at the Aiken County Council Chambers. The delegation heard from citizens as to the Aiken County School Board; public education; the South Carolina State Museum; Point of Sale Legislation; and other constituent concerns.

My “Other” Job: Now that the legislature is out of session, many of you have asked what I do when I am not attending session in Columbia. I have an active full time law practice in Aiken at the Law Offices of Tom Young, Jr., PC located at 409 Park Avenue SW in downtown Aiken. I can be reached at work at 649-0000 or by email at tyoung@tomyounglaw.com.

Planning for the 2011 Legislative Session: The 2011 legislative session will convene on the second Tuesday in January. I am seeking input from constituents on the critical issues facing our state and area including tax reform; spending reform; K-12 education; the costs of higher education; health care; immigration; economic development; job growth; and the underfund liabilities in our state’s retirement systems. Your input is welcome on any issue important to you. Please email me back or contact me by phone or in person at your convenience.

Free Small Business Workshop: The Aiken Small Business Development Center is offering a FREE tax workshop for prospective and new small business owners. The workshop will be held from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Wednesday, September 8, 2010, in the Palmetto Room of the Student Activity Center Building at USC Aiken. The Small Business Tax Workshop contains general information about different types of business organizations, record keeping requirements and business tax returns. This workshop is one of the taxpayer education programs sponsored by the Aiken Small Business Development Center, the IRS, South Carolina Enrolled Agents and the SC Department of Revenue. It is directed toward the small businessperson who is starting a business or has recently started a small business in the service, retail or manufacturing area. The morning session will cover federal tax requirements for small businesses and the afternoon session will cover state tax and employment security obligations. A packet of very helpful publications is given to each participant. Registration is necessary by Monday, September 6, 2010. To register for the workshop or for more information, please contact the Small Business Development Center via e-mail: SBDC@usca.edu or by telephone: 803-641-3646.

Aiken County Republican Party Event: Senator Jim DeMint and Rep. Jeff Duncan, the Republican nominee for South Carolina’s Third Congressional District, will attend a political rally and live auction this Saturday from 10:00 AM to Noon at the Odell Weeks Center in Aiken on Whiskey Road. An auction of several items will take place with proceeds to benefit the Aiken County Republican Party. The public is invited.

Aiken Senior Extravaganza 2010: The City of Aiken will have its annual Aiken Senior Extravaganza again on Wednesday, September 15 at the H. Odell Weeks Center from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. The event offers seniors, and those interested in issues facing seniors, an opportunity to spend a day in educational seminars and to browse the display fair. The educational seminars will be limited to the first 300 people to register including a t-shirt and catered lunch with Keynote speaker. The Health Fair and displays will be open to the public and pre-registration is not required. Age: 50 and over: Cost: FREE : Wednesday, September 16, 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. For more information, please call 642-7631. A copy of the brochure can be obtained by clicking here.

Traveling Art Exhibit at Aiken Center for the Arts: The South Carolina State Museum and the South Carolina Watermedia Society have partnered to present the Traveling Watermedia Exhibition which is in Aiken at the Center for the Arts until August 28. The exhibition includes 30 paintings by 30 artists from around the state. Admission is free.

Speaking to Groups Around the District: Several local groups have asked me to attend one of their meetings to provide an end of session report to their members. If you have a group that would like for me to come to a meeting during the next few months, please let me know.

Email Updates: Many people in District 81 are receiving this email update. However, there are many others who do not receive them because I do not know their email addresses. If you know of people who do not receive my updates but they would like to, please email their names and email addresses to me.

Road Issues: If you see a road problem, you can call the SCDOT at 641-7665 or Aiken County at 642-1532 to report the problem. If you do not get a prompt response, please let me know at TomYoung@schouse.gov or call me. In the past seven months, I have received many different reports of problems and I have relayed those to the appropriate agencies.

Thank you for the opportunity to represent you. Please let me know if I can help you in any way or if you have questions about these or other issues. Your feedback is meaningful and appreciated.

Leave a Comment