Chamber encourages all citizens to vote

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This election important to Lancaster County

Guest Column

James Morton

Not another election. I am sure, like me, you too have had this thought at some point when you see candidate signs popping up all around the county. 

I am also sure it is easy to choose to dismiss an election to fill an unexpired term of a seat that will have a little over a year remaining of a four-year term.

However, the election for the S.C. Senate District 16 seat is not the race to view casually or as unimportant due to the short time remaining in the term. To the contrary, this election has significant importance for Lancaster County, our businesses and our citizens.

First of all, it is interesting that Lancaster County has had the benefit of a resident senator serving in Columbia for more than 200 years. While neither I nor the Lancaster County Chamber would suggest you vote for a candidate based solely on his or her residency; it is recognized by many as an important factor in protecting a county’s local interests. 

As an organization focused on developing commerce and improving the quality of life for Lancaster County residents, we urge everyone to exercise your right to vote and select the individual you believe is most qualified to represent our interests in Columbia.

It is important to note, this election will send a senator to Columbia just in time to vote for the new statewide redistricting plan being developed based on 2010 census data. 

While we have benefited from having a resident senator for years, the Chamber believes the most important task for our next senator is to preserve our opportunity to elect a resident senator in the future.

Due to a statewide 14 percent population increase and specifically a portion of District 16 being the fastest growth region in South Carolina, it is likely this district is destined to be redrawn. Our request is to maintain the majority of the county in District 16 as it currently exists, and not have the county potentially split into three or four districts with virtually no ability to elect a resident senator in the future.

The Lancaster County Chamber has endorsed the S.C. Chamber’s Competitiveness Agenda, the business community’s annual list of priorities which includes: reforming South Carolina’s tax policy, promoting economic development, addressing workforce development needs, providing regulatory relief, addressing health care costs and restructuring state government. We believe these issues are critical for a healthy business climate and regardless of who is elected; we will communicate our position in these areas.

As you can see, there are many key issues facing our state. And yes, we have another election; we have an opportunity to elect who will represent us in Columbia;  we have an opportunity to exercise a freedom that too many of us ignore; a freedom that many people in this world are currently fighting to gain, which is the right to choose our elected officials. 

You don’t have to lie down in front of a tank. You won’t have to face a battalion of armed guards. You simply have to take a few minutes out of your day, drive to your voting precinct and have your voice heard.

As an open primary state, in South Carolina, all registered voters are allowed to vote Feb. 22 in the Republican primary. All voters are again allowed to vote on April 12 when we elect our next senator for District 16.   

 The Chamber encourages everyone to exercise your right to vote.