After 24 years of representation in the S.C. House from a career politician, I am voting for Jody Gaulin for S.C. House District 2. Oconee and South Carolina cannot take more of the same screw-ups, neglect and near-misses. Here is what has happened on Sandifer’s 24-year watch:
• 30-year failure to maintain our state roads and bridges. S.C. went from a top five road system in the country to the worst-maintained and highest in rural traffic fatalities.
• Dam failure causing billions in flood damage after a 2015 storm. DHEC had only two dam inspectors for the whole state.
• Ruining the financial health of the State Employee Pension Plan by bad legislation, which ultimately allowed the board to make the most fundamental of investment mistakes — buy high and then sell low in the stock market.
• A data breach, which resulted in the stealing of S.C. taxpayers’ Social Security numbers and other confidential data. S.C. still does not provide adequate security for its computer systems, because the legislature won’t fund it.
• Bankruptcy of the Unemployment Insurance Fund. Legislators were “shocked” when the fund ran dry after textile plant closures across the state laid off tens of thousands, including 3,000-plus in Oconee. They blamed it on the state agency. How could you be shocked? Fortunately, we were able to borrow from the federal government.
• Teacher shortage. The S.C. teacher shortage is dire due to heavy retirement rates, turnover and fewer young people entering the profession. Salaries are not competitive with other states or other professions, so it is no surprise.
• $9 billion VC Summer nuclear debacle. After eliminating the consumer advocate for electric ratepayers in 2004 and then pushing through the 2007 Base Load Review Act, SCE&G began construction on two new nuclear reactors in Fairfield County. Bill Sandifer, chairman of the House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee, ignored red flag after red flag over 10 years before the project went belly up, leaving ratepayers on the hook, including our electric co-ops. Jobs will also take a hit.
Sandifer likes to tout his powerful role as a leader in the State House of Representatives, but he has never been out front in recognizing potential crises or preventing them. In fact, he consistently claims credit for fixing crises of his own making. This is not leadership. I am voting Jody Gaulin. She is a real leader.