As Shane related to the readers of his newsletter this week, he didn’t expect this! Congratulations to Shane Massey, as our state’s new Senate Majority Leader! It is indeed an honor that his peers elected him to such a responsible position, an honor in the long Edgefield tradition of providing political leaders for our state.
With new responsibility comes a new opportunity to look at issues with a broadened viewpoint. In September of last year, I wrote of a Raleigh, NC, group called “Public Policy Polling.” The PPP had conducted a survey of 1115 South Carolina voters across the demographic and political spectrum. Here are some of the results, including ideas for Majority Leader Massey.
- “Strongly favor” or “Somewhat favor” recent rules proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency: 62%. Shane should be seeing what we can do to increase state protection for the heritage that counts more than any other: our environment.
- Oppose the Confederate Flag on the Capital grounds: 54%. Here is another heritage worth reviewing. There are still many monuments, still many Confederate battle flags flying on state grounds (including along SC-230 here in Edgefield County), that South Carolinians see from wildly different viewpoints. Have we done enough to convince the descendants of slaves and of slave owners that we remember but do not honor the institution of slavery, but we both remember and honor our Civil Rights struggles?
- Support raising the minimum wage in South Carolina to at least $10.00 per hour: 71%. We in South Carolina have only mandated the federal minimum wage, and that grudgingly. We should look at such places as California and Washington State that have just recently raised theirs. Have their economies
suffered or prospered, relative to ours? If they have prospered, then why should we not follow their lead?
- Increase spending on Public Education in South Carolina: 57%. How can we ensure that public education funding really gets spent on public education and not on private education? Where does South Carolina stand in measurable results, in the scores and preparedness of our recent public high school graduates compared to the best in the nation? How can we do more of what they do?
- “Strongly agree” or “Somewhat agree” we should invest more in transportation infrastructure in South Carolina: 86%. Europe has high speed rail serving rural areas. Japan has high speed rail connecting their major cities. We don’t. What are they doing that works that we can do, too?
- “Strongly agree” or “Somewhat agree” we should expand Medicaid in South Carolina: 62%. Shane has said in the past that all able-bodied South Carolinians should have “skin in the game” before they receive health care subsidies. But how about those who would meet eligibility requirements in, say, Arkansas or Kentucky but not here? Have Arkansas’ and Kentucky’s economies suffered or gained from their expanded Medicaid? If it has made either a positive difference or no difference there, then why should we not offer the same benefits to South Carolinians here? A rising tide lifts all boats; not just the poor and near poor but all of us would benefit from a healthier population.
And finally, how do South Carolinians feel about guns?
- Support requiring a criminal background check of every person who wants to buy a firearm: 89%.
- “Strongly agree” or “Somewhat agree” that there should be a waiting period before purchasing a gun: 77%.
Shane Massey will be challenged to lead his colleagues in the Senate in an effort to do what this survey indicated that the majority of the people of our state would like their government to do. Take on these issues, Majority Leader Massey, and you will find us ready, willing, and eager to “shake up Columbia with me”!