As a teacher, I believe that an education is the foundation of the American dream. However, our current education system in South Carolina is leaving our students greatly underserved. We cannot retain teachers and most who do try to stay in the state often have to work two or three jobs to pay their bills. I am one of those teachers who is working multiple jobs to pay off my student loan debt.
I plan on introducing many individual pieces of legislation to show teachers they are appreciated, and they have been heard. Most of these issues have more to do with respect than pay. Lastly, I will introduce pieces of legislation that deal with teacher recruitment and retention that do not just try to throw money at the problem. Creative solutions that allow teachers to reduce debt and increase wealth but also addresses the issues with retention and recruitment.
Revitalization of the trade industry is also essential through education because not everyone is suited to go to a 4-year college and earn a bachelor’s degree. That’s why I will fight to increase the teaching of career and technical programs like agriculture education, welding, mechanics, and nursing in schools so our students graduate with a skill as well as a diploma, so they are immediately employable and industry ready. Getting the next generation ready and fixing our current system are among my highest priorities.
Protecting Our Environment
Growing up near the Ohio River and now living in a coastal area like Beaufort, I have an appreciation and passion for our environment. Our uniquely pristine beaches and marshland not only make our district a more pleasant place to live, but they also drive our tourism, fishing and shipping industries. I am committed to protecting our beautiful environment for us to enjoy for generations to come.
I know that we are on the frontlines as much as anybody else when it comes to fighting problems like rising sea levels and increased flooding, which is why I will secure funding so we can build new infrastructure to protect our coastline. I will also continue the work the Senate has done to increase funding for renewable energy resources, like solar energy, in our state. Since our area is growing more than ever, I will also make sure that polluters are held accountable and do not pile their waste beside our tributaries, thus polluting our environment. As always, I will do everything within my power to make sure no offshore oil rigs are constructed along our coast.
Rebuilding Our Infrastructure
As I’m sure everyone knows, South Carolina’s infrastructure is in sore need of an upgrade. The maintenance and construction of our roads and bridges has been left unattended for way too long. In fact, last year our roads were rated the worst in America by Consumer Affairs.
We are playing catch up as thousands of people continue to move to our area, and while we should welcome them with open arms, we must also start to set into motion a plan for how we are going to handle all of this new development. I will make it a priority to fund projects like the Jasper Port, which will bring jobs and revenue in. This project was recently delayed again until 2035, which is completely unacceptable. Our area needs this recognition now, not in another 15 years.
Our state ranks near the bottom of the county in access to healthcare, prescription drug prices are rising, and medical bills are leading to more stress and personal bankruptcy than ever before. It is time to address these issues by expanding Medicaid funding, resulting in better economic opportunities and a healthier workforce.
GUN OWNER PROTECTIONS & SAFETY
Responsible gun owners are protected by our Second Amendment and should not expect any infringement on those rights. I believe we need common sense gun safety measures and to make sure we keep firearms out of the hands of criminals or the mentally ill. I believe we should strengthen our background checks and close the “Charleston Loophole” forever.
ADDRESSING SYSTEMIC INEQUALITY
I believe our state can set an example when it comes to treating others with respect and showing it in our legislation we pass. I believe that women should be paid the same as a man for the same work and should be able to make their own healthcare decisions. I believe we need to look at not only passing the “Hate Crimes Law” seen in 46 states but start providing solutions addressing issues with race and gender identity.
AN END TO Gerrymandering
Our entire governmental system was built on the idea that people get to choose their representatives, not the other way around. There is no denying that local state legislators drew the voting districts in our state based on what would benefit them and their respective party the most. We can see this in our own communities of Bluffton and Beaufort.
Similar to many other states, I will propose legislation to put this power of redrawing the lines into the hands of an independent commission of citizens just like you and me, not state legislators. This has been done successfully in other states, but our current legislators are committed to getting themselves re-elected by choosing their constituents. If elected, I promise to even-handedly draw the new voting districts following the 2020 census to accurately represent the people of South Carolina.
My position on this issue has changed over time, just like many people I talk to. With our state needing revenues to pay for school teacher raises, our crumbling roads and bridges, and hurricane/pandemic recovery, South Carolina is in the unique position to benefit from marijuana legalization by not increasing taxes on our citizens to fill some of our most pressing needs. With 34 other states and none in our geographic area, our taxable revenues could not only help solve these problems but prepare our state for emergencies in the future.
ONLINE SPORTS BETTING
Being a life-long sports fan is a trait many of us have in South Carolina. I support expanding our state into online sports betting. Our state needs revenues and solutions financially. This solution can provide taxes that we can turn into new roads, more funding for education, and more money for services our state provides. The amount of money other states earned from online sports betting make it a viable solution that needs to be debated at the state level. South Carolina will benefit from exploring this new online gaming industry.