Without Change, Nothing Changes...
For 30 years the representation for Eastern Orangeburg and North Central Dorchester County, vital regions of agriculture, commerce, and recreation has not changed. In that time the 1995 "Abbeville County School District versus South Carolina" remained fully unadjudicated and ultimately set aside by the State Supreme Court in 2017. Local community school districts in Orangeburg County have been phased out and consolidated; new large facility schools have taken the place of elementary, middle/junior high, and separate high schools while the old facilities remain unused, not repurposed, and left to deteriorate in their towns. Tourism, vital to augment our agricultural economy, has gone unattended with our cultural and historic landmarks falling into disrepair. Our Santee State Park has reduced services over the past 30 years but has doubled the annual and daily park pass fees (increases affecting all state parks and users).
The 2020 Census has brought about redistricting changes because our state population grows by 500,000 persons every 10 years. Our rural towns and infrastructures have not seen much benefit from that growth and taxation surpluses. Many small communities have declined in population left to thrive on the pass through commerce of the federal interstate system. 2022 is a prime opportunity for citizens to voice the need for change that addresses the value of small town South Carolina culture. I am not asking voters to change parties (yet) but am asking primarily Democratic and independent minded voters to break out of Straight Party Voting. It makes political life too easy for incumbents and dilutes your voice as a block of voters. It is time to step away from the allure of casting a ballot as fast as possible and voting for an incumbent; just because you always have. Has the representation over the past 30 years really been all that kind to our local towns and communities? Has your community grown or contracted in size and lost necessary services? Has it become harder to purchase groceries, hardware, find skilled technical support, access state agency services and other day-to-day necessities close to home?
The new District 95 must mark a turning point away from decline and focus on looking ahead to what could and should be. It is time for a new voice to advance our concerns, to work on meeting the needs in the local communities to stimulate renewal and meaningful growth. It is high time for our part of the midlands to exercise greater influence at the state level and secure the leadership, development expertise, and financial resources for enhancements that will benefit all our communities.
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