The Plan

I’m running for the State House to share my Plan for Palmetto Progress with Aiken County voters. Having been born and raised in Aiken, I understand and appreciate the quality of life that we enjoy in Aiken County. It is important that we preserve that quality of life but also work to move our region forward.

Based on the conservative business principles of Ronald Reagan and Carroll Campbell, my plan can make our county and our state more competitive in today’s global economy by recruiting jobs, cutting taxes, reining in wasteful spending, preserving our natural resources, fighting illegal immigration, reducing the cost of health insurance, and building an education system that provides a trained workforce. Many people in state government talk about change, but unfortunately it’s followed by inaction while our state remains in neutral. My plan will support efforts to restructure state government and efforts to strengthen family values.


Vigorously Promote Economic Development – A strong economy benefits everyone. It means families will be able to realize the dream of home ownership, a first class public school system, a college education for children, and retirement that allows our citizens to live with dignity. We must have quality jobs that provide a real opportunity for the future. To do so, our legislative delegation must work to make our region more appealing by improving infrastructure, creating an atmosphere for business to flourish, and actively promoting our county for economic investment. I will work tirelessly with our delegation, the State Department of Commerce, and our local Chamber, Business, and Community leaders to land the long term economic investments that our community needs.

Improve Roads and Infrastructure – We will not be able to recruit new high paying industry unless we improve and maintain our infrastructure system. A recent study by state business leaders shows that our state’s dangerous roads claim one life every eight hours and cost $3.7 billion a year. Without raising taxes, we must allocate more of our state budget to infrastructure repairs. I support funding of the State Infrastructure Bank as well as efforts to identify other sources of revenue for roads that do not increase the tax burden on our state’s families.

Support New Missions at SRS – The Savannah River Site serves as an economic engine for our County and will be a leading economic research center for the entire state. We must do everything we can at the state level to support future missions at SRS including the Center for Hydrogen Research and the Savannah River National Laboratory. Further, we must look to other missions at the Site including using the site for nuclear power and alternative fuel source research. I will work to obtain state funding to benefit both existing missions and new missions at the Savannah River Site.

Work for Less Politics, More Cooperation – Former Governor Carroll Campbell did not recruit world-class BMW to the Upstate alone. As a businessman, he knew it would require a team effort. Governor Campbell, the Commerce Department, legislators, and local officials all worked together from the same plan toward the same goal. Unfortunately, all we hear today is political fighting. As your legislator, I won’t be part of it. I will work to build bridges, not tear them down, so that we can recruit high-paying industry to our region.


Limit State Spending – A business can’t be competitive if it’s wasting money and neither can our state. That’s why I support measures to limit state spending. Measures to consider include a cap based on a formula equal to inflation plus population. Another is a cap of spending at the rate of population growth plus the growth in personal income. Both proposals are acceptable. South Carolinians work hard for their income and expect state government to spend the public’s money as carefully as they spend their own. I will be a watchdog for our tax dollars in the General Assembly.

Demand Earmark Reform – Currently, legislators can insert secret pork barrel spending projects into the state budget, putting an undue tax burden on hardworking families. Many of the requests for these projects are anonymous. I will support legislation to make all appropriation requests and their authors known to the taxpayers.

Revise the Tax Code – South Carolina’s tax code is antiquated and must be revised for our state to compete in the global economy. Many tax credits and incentives that currently exist — including those for renovating historic properties — are difficult to access or not practical. This will be a long-term project, but the sooner we get started, the sooner we can get the job done. I support efforts to revise the tax code as well as lower our state income tax.

Restructure State Government – Our state government is out-dated, inefficient, and wasteful. I support measures to combine state agencies/departments to reduce duplication. We should allow voters to decide whether or not certain elected constitutional officers should be appointed. Further, we should do a top-to-bottom analysis of our education system to ensure that our tax dollars are getting to the students and the teachers in the classrooms. I support efforts to bring our 19th Century Government into the 21st Century.

Encourage Families to Save – Surveys show that the average family spends more money than they earn. This is a recipe for disaster. The old adage “A penny saved is a penny earned” still is true today. We have to find ways that encourage our state’s families to save money. This includes finding ways through revisions in our tax code so that saving is not penalized by an outdated tax code. I will support more tax incentives for college and retirement savings.


Crackdown on Illegal Immigration – Illegal immigration is a crime that puts an undue burden on our education, healthcare, and other services. Taxpayers cannot continue to foot the bill for illegal immigrants. We must allow our state law enforcement to work with federal officials to detain and deport illegal aliens. All state forms and tests should be in English only. An employee verification system should be established at the national level so that our state businesses have an efficient and valid method by which they can determine a person’s legal status in our country.

Toughen Laws for Child Sexual Predators – According to the FBI, internet crime is growing fast, and children are the fastest growing victim pool. The problem is growing so fast that the FBI’s Innocent Images program has become the bureau’s second-largest operation – second only to the September 11 terrorism case. We cannot allow sexual predators to escape conviction based on technical loopholes in our state laws. I will support measures to make sure that our state laws in South Carolina are the toughest in the country to protect our children.


Support Conservation and the Environment – As an avid hunter and fisherman, I appreciate the beauty of our outdoors, and I understand the need to preserve our natural resources for both today and tomorrow. I will support legislation, including funding of the Conservation Land Bank, which protects our state’s forests, streams, and lakes. I will also support efforts including tax incentives to encourage private landowners to place conservation easements on their properties.

Protect Home Rule – In recent years, our state government in Columbia has taken over decisions that have historically been made by local governments. I believe that in many cases, local government is best at making decisions affecting its particular locale. Simply put, what might be good for Santee might not be good for Aiken. I will support measures to protect Home Rule.


Reduce the Cost of Health Insurance – As a small businessman, I understand how difficult it is to provide employees with quality health insurance. Without government mandates or creating a Hillary-Care style system, our state must give our citizens access to quality, affordable health insurance through a market-based system. Legislation was passed this year that lets small businesses establish cooperatives to negotiate premiums. This is a start but more must be done to improve access to affordable health insurance. I will work hard for free market initiatives that expand health insurance coverage and that reduce the costs for working families.

Encourage Long Term Care Planning and Saving – The issue of long term health care for baby boomers as they enter their retirement years will be an increasing challenge for our state. We must encourage families and individuals to take responsibility for their own long term care by receiving state tax credits for purchasing long term care insurance. We must also search for state and federal funds to assist the elderly and disabled with obtaining more home-based and community-based nursing care. I will support laws that encourage planning for long term care.

Meet the Needs of our Seniors
– The fastest growing segment of our population in Aiken County is our senior citizens. Our state must prepare to meet their needs. I will support efforts to address the shortage of nurses, to toughen penalties for those who attempt to take advantage of vulnerable adults, and to improve access to and cost of prescription drugs.


Get Money to Teachers and to the Classroom
– Quality education is the most valuable gift that one generation can give to the next. Such a system also provides the entrepreneurs and the workers needed to build new businesses and to create jobs that will sustain our economy and a high standard of living for the future. We must find ways to attract and to retain quality teachers. I also support a top to bottom analysis of our public education system to ensure that money is not being wasted in bureaucracy. We must get money to the student and the teacher in the classroom. One way we can do this is through consolidation of school districts across our state. I will not abandon public education in South Carolina.

Invest in Technical Education – One of the reasons why our state has a difficult time recruiting new industry is that we do not have enough skilled workers to fill certain industry needs. We must support our technical college system. We must also support more work force training in our public K-12 schools. This means working with businesses to create meaningful apprenticeship programs in vocational/technical schools that prepare students to get a job upon graduation if that is their choice. I will support technical education.

Increase Safety and Discipline in the Classroom – A business would not tolerate disruptive behavior because it breeds failure. Our schools should do the same. Teachers should be given more control over their classrooms and allowed to remove disruptive and problem students. Our state should have a zero tolerance policy against gangs, drugs, and weapons in schools. We must increase penalties on any school worker convicted of sexually assaulting a child. We also must find ways to fund more resource officers in our schools across the state. I will support measures to make our schools safe and orderly so our children can learn.

Emphasize Reading at the Earliest Age in our School System – Reading is the key to success. Our high school drop out rate is one of the worst in the country. More than half of all inmates in our state prison system are not high school graduates. Drop outs from high school are more likely to end up in the criminal justice system. How do we attack this problem? We have to make sure that all students can read. If a student cannot read, then that student cannot learn and will not want to attend school day in and day out. I support both measures and efforts to emphasize reading success at the earliest age in our school system. This includes finding ways to provide early childhood education to more children. We also have to support our public library system and encourage children to read during the summer vacation through summer reading programs.


Push Pro-Family Legislation – Our family values are under attack and we must address the problem at the state level. We must immediately address Internet sex crimes and the impact that television sex and violence is having on our children. I will propose and fight for laws that protect our children, our families, and our values.

Make Constituent Service and Integrity in Government Top Priority – Reforming government starts by listening to constituents, not special interest groups. We must adopt a political culture that returns to the days of open-door policies and public town halls. If elected, I pledge to be accessible and accountable. I will hold periodic town meetings around the district to keep informed with constituent concerns and needs. I will never compromise principle for momentary success, and I will make it a top priority to advocate integrity at the State House.