Leadership (or lack therof)

     Leader is more than a word or title for one who supervises others. A leader accepts responsibility when doing the right thing is not necessarily the popular thing. A leader demands accountability when there is a lack of performance, while subsequently crediting others during periods of success. Leaders take the blame when things are going wrong and gives the credit to others when things are going right.  Leadership is not a tangible asset, but is a concept built on various character traits such as integrity, dependability, honesty, and imagination among many others.

     I served my community as a firefighter for thirteen years. I began as a probationary firefighter, completed fire training school, was subsequently promoted to Lieutenant, a position I held for six years, and finally left the fire service having attained the rank of Captain, which I held for 3 years. The titles I held made me a supervisor. Having my peers recognize that I possess the character traits necessary of a successful leader and having them select me to progressively higher ranks within our department is what molded me into a leader.

     A successful leader on the fire ground is one who thinks and acts instinctively. Mental risk vs. benefit analyses are run constantly while directing operations. This type of leadership requires one to fall back upon his or her extensive training and make instantaneous decisions that have potential life and death consequences. Such leadership is a rare commodity, even on the fire ground. It is exceptionally rare in todays politics.

     From the White House to the United States Capitol in Washington D.C. and the Governors mansion to the statehouse right here in Columbia, there is a complete and total abdication of the responsibilities of leadership. This is not hyperbole. It has been demonstrated to us time and again, at every single level of government.

     There has been a complete abandonment of leadership responsibility in our state. The current Governor decided that it was not in the best interest of the taxpaying citizens to have their children transported to school in busses that don’t catch fire. Luckily the General Assembly saw this as the significant safety issue that it is and as soon as the legislative session returned in January, quickly overrode the bus veto by a significant margin in the House and unanimously in the Senate. The General Assembly has brought us the VC Summer debacle, the Pascoe probe, and the extreme partisan gerrymandering; the culture of corruption has become as much of a part of the statehouse as the statue of John C. Calhoun that greets you in the lobby. Elected officials are demonstrating that they only care about attaining power, retaining that power, and using their office to enrich themselves personally.

                We elect our legislators to represent our will, not to utilize their office for personal enrichment or the needs of the special interests and lobbying groups.

                Our schools rank dead last in the nation.

                Our state ranks dead last in the nation for roads safety.

     We rank 48th in economic Opportunity, 46th in Health Care Affordability, 43rd in infrastructure and household income, 42nd in labor force participation, 4th worst in Property Crime, 5th worst in domestic violence, 6th worst in violent crime, and 7th worst for violent crime.

     By any metric, these statistics show a total, complete, and utter failure of our state government on every single level to operate in the best interest of the taxpayer. These statistics show a complete abdication of the responsibilities of leadership.

     It is time for the residents of Sullivan’s Island, Isle of Palms, and Mount Pleasant to elect a proven leader to the statehouse who believes in the values of honesty, integrity, and dependability. We need a leader who will stand up and fight for what is right, not what is politically expedient. The people of the 112th district agree. I will stand up to the special interests and lobbying groups and tell them to keep their hands off our wallets. I will fight to ensure that no matter a family’s socioeconomic status that they receive a quality education. I will fight for healthcare reform including Medicaid expansion. I will fight for responsible development and work with the local municipalities on finding solutions to the traffic gridlock and increasing access and delivery of economical public transit. I will fight for our environment to retain the natural beauty of our homes and ensure that not one single oil derrick is placed off our shore. I will fight for economic prosperity and ensure that anyone who wishes to have a good, quality, high paying job is able to get one. I will fight against the culture of corruption in our statehouse and bring honesty and integrity back to our institutions. Most importantly, I will fight for the people of our district.

                The people of our district and our state deserve to have an ethical and honest leader who is not afraid to live by the saying “it’s not about who is right, it’s about what is right” 



*statistics courtesy of US News and World Report https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/south-carolina and the State newspaper http://www.thestate.com/news/politics-government/article127439174.html *