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.
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.