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Columns

  • Column: Small-town legislators are shaping S.C. agenda

    Editor’s note: Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D-27) and House Speaker Jay Lucas (R-65) represent parts of Lancaster County.

    I was watching the Vincent Sheheen Show last week – also known as the gas-tax conference committee, which he was chairing – when I recalled a conversation I recently had with Sen. Sheheen.

  • Column: Why I back final roads compromise

    After several months of work in the General Assembly, both the House and Senate have worked out a single highway funding and governance bill. In the next few days, this bill will be voted upon by both chambers and sent to the governor.
    Given the concerns many have raised about this issue, I felt it urgent to give you an overview of this legislation, as well as my thoughts on the bill.

    DOT reform

  • Column: Trump’s nuts? So is every other politician, TV anchor, NFL star

    Dr. John Gartner, a practicing psychotherapist and former faculty member at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, says the psychiatric community has an ethical responsibility to warn America that Donald Trump has a dangerous mental illness.

  • Column: 50th-place ranking should jolt us to action

    There is probably no topic that has been the subject of this column more often than education. And the reason is very simple: if we don’t fix education in this state, nothing else really matters.
    The road to a prosperous future for South Carolina runs past the schoolhouse door.
    Unfortunately, in South Carolina this road (like our highways) is full of potholes and in great need of repair after suffering from years of neglect. As a recent US News and World Report ranking showed, overall our state is 50th in education.

  • Column: S.C. Research Authority pays PR firm $855K

    The South Carolina Research Authority, chartered by the state in 1983 to “foster and enrich South Carolina’s innovation economy,” has paid political consultant Bob McAlister at least $855,500 since 2011.
    The payments are all to McAlister’s firm, McAlister Communications, most in consistent monthly amounts invoiced for “public relations services.” Jessica Cokins, SCRA’s director of marketing and communications, said McAlister was paid as a communications consultant.

  • Column: 5th District candidates, what will you do about Alzheimer’s disease?

    There are a lot of controversial issues at stake in the upcoming special election for South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District. But I’d like to ask all of the candidates to address an issue that is truly purple.
    Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States, and the only one among the top 10 killers that cannot be prevented, stopped or even slowed. It’s also the most expensive illness in the nation, with costs that exceed those for heart disease and cancer.

  • Column: Paper or plastic? The choice is crucial

    Over the 40 years that I have known her, I have come to have great respect for my wife’s political antenna. She’s not a political junkie in the traditional sense, but when she thinks an issue is important, I have learned to pay attention.
    This time it’s plastic bags.
    As she said the other day, “There is no good reason that they should not be banned. They are killing our oceans and it’s only the plastic bag industry that is keeping the ban from happening.”
    She is right.

  • Column: There’s a right way to pass a tax hike, and this isn’t it

    While the Senate was busy debating the gas-tax hike last week, the House decided to reinsert itself into the argument – but not in any normal way.
    Last Wednesday afternoon, House leaders placed their version of the gas-tax increase into the state budget as a budget provision, more commonly known as a budget proviso.

  • Column: This Tuesday, give where you live

    As part of a commitment to build and sustain a healthy community, we at the Lancaster County Community Foundation, Lancaster County Partners for Youth and the J. Marion Sims Foundation urge you to lift up and support our local nonprofit organizations this Tuesday through the second-annual Give Local Lancaster Campaign.

  • Column: As Senate debated gas tax, reason flew out the window

    The state Senate passed its version of the gas-tax hike late Wednesday night, after two days of debate. This version of the bill raises the tax by 12 cents a gallon gradually over six years. The House version was a 10-cent hike.
    Whenever large groups of politicians talk for long periods of time, you hear some real gems. Here are a few of this week’s Capitol highlights.
    ◆ House Speaker Jay Lucas: “A responsible plan does not raid the general fund to pay for roads.”