Issues

Education

For decades, South Carolina schools have been underfunded and under served. State law mandates the base minimum is $2984 per student. We currently fund $2,425 per student. This equates to nearly $13M lost annually towards providing our children in Aiken County a high quality education.

As the Representative for District 81, I will fight to obtain full funding for all public schools and prevent erosion of public school funds to private businesses. Further, there will be NO diversion to pet projects.

Quality public education equals quality jobs, decreased prison populations and decreased crime. This means an increase in the quality of life for all.

Economy

In addition to my job at the Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL), I also own a small business. Like many small business owners, I am constantly learning new things, mostly through trial, error and lot of support from my business partner and husband, Kevin. Also, like many small business owners with a desire to make it on my own, I worry what type of financial impact going forward full time with our business would have on the financial future of our family.

In South Carolina, 97% of private employers are small business owners who employ almost half of the work force, but less than 2% of the SC Department of Commerce’s budget goes to supporting them. Large companies employ many and their contribution to South Carolina should not be taken lightly. However, I want to increase support for the small business owner- who are typically long term residents of South Carolina, with deep roots in the community and a desire to stay in it for the long haul.

When elected, I will fully support my neighbors’ passion and drive.

Additionally, a vibrant economy requires an educated workforce. When children graduate from high school without appropriate reading comprehension, mathematics and critical thinking skills, their ability to find a job making a living wage is immediately limited. We currently spend five times more on an incarcerated individual than we do on their K-12 education but yet only approximately one out of three prisoners have graduated from high school.

If we do not have well-educated children, we cannot build a strong economy. No business wants to move their company to a state that can’t supply them with the skilled workers they need, and no employee wants to move to a state with the worst educational system in the country.

Just imagine the effects on our economy if we could move from the worst educational system in the country to even just the middle of the pack. With your help, I will push for our system to not just improve to the middle of the pack, but to be a standard of excellence.

If we strive for an excellent education, our economy will improve at unprecedented rates.

Environment

Surface water withdrawals from the Edisto River are directly effecting our drinking water resources. This is causing one of the largest environmental crises South Carolina has seen. Dropping water levels are drying wells and limiting the recreational use of the US’s longest black water rive and adversely effecting the relationships between industry and the nearby residents. Comprehensive water management is needed across the entire state that is both clear and effective.

Switching from surface water to ground water doesn’t solve the problem. Aquifers are recharged by ground water resources and it can take six months or longer for ground water to reach the aquifer. Our aquifer levels are dropping and showing little ability to recharge.

Immediate action is needed. Proper protections for these water resources are paramount. The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has moved to place stricter controls on ground water withdrawals, but only in certain counties. Statewide, comprehensive protections for our water is needed before it is too late.

Ethics

For decades, the South Carolina legislature has been rife with ethics violations charges. Despite numerous statements and promises to reform the legislature, attempts have failed. The simple truth is that our elected officials must be held accountable to their constituents- not to political donors.

I propose that we require a detailed account of where all income and donations originate. In order for the public to hold our legislature in the highest regard, the legislature must hold themselves to the same standards they would expect of others. I believe that we should have a fully independent commission that can investigate and charge all ethics violations.

Transparency is needed to restore our citizens’ faith in our elected officials.