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By the end of next year the voters of District 16 will have given me the opportunity to serve in the Senate for as long as anyone since the formation of Lancaster County.
From the time I began my first campaign in 1992 people from Fort Mill to Kershaw to Winnsboro have blessed me with their confidence and support.
Therefore, it is with mixed emotions that I inform you that I will not seek reelection in 2008.1 have weighed this decision carefully because of my love for the Senate and the importance to the district of my seniority. And while the effects of seniority are power it alone is not a valid reason to continue to hold office.
There is a need for change in all organizations, but especially in government. This change isn’t brought about when the same people occupy the same seats for perpetuity. For the longer one remains in office, the greater the pull is to be a protector and defender of government. This leads to stagnation when what is needed are new ideas and approach brought about by turnover among legislators. This is my belief and the primary reason I am stepping aside.
During my tenure in the Senate I’ve had the opportunity to be on the winning and losing sides in many debates. Along with others I’ve had a hand in outlawing video poker, overhauling boating safety laws, ensuring financial literacy is taught in our schools, combating litter and resolving the Battle Flag controversy. As chairman of the Fish, Game and Forestry Committee I’ve been able to devote energy to the preservation of open spaces, our environment and the creatures who are its inhabitants.
Locally, we’ve succeeded in centralizing and modernizing our magistrates court. In addition, I’m proud of those I’ve appointed to serve in these important positions. The installation of sewer service in the Indian Land area is also something that has moved Lancaster County forward, and I was pleased to play a small part in that important effort.
In the “loss column” I have been frustrated for years that legislators will not restructure our government in order to give the governor an appropriate amount of authority. Each year also brings hopes of a higher cigarette tax and clean air legislation that are always quashed. Maybe one day these measures will come to pass.
Since my campaign kick-off many years ago, I have enjoyed wonderful support from family, friends and employees. In addition, I’ve been fortunate to be able to work with many great state employees at home and in Columbia; especially my immediate staff.
In closing, let me thank you again for the opportunity you have given me. I’ll be around for another year in this job so don’t hesitate to call when I can be of service.
S.C. Sen. Greg Gregory represents Lancaster, Fairfield and York counties.