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It’s Time For Mcmaster To Share His Policy Vision With S.C.

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April 13, 2017
By Andy Brack | Contributing Writer

Henry McMaster has wanted to be governor for about as long as I can remember. He ran and lost a couple of times. So when he became lieutenant governor, he seemed to be a shoe-in for the 2018 nomination. Then, his predecessor resigned for a federal job, making McMaster’s dream come true.

After wanting the golden governorship for so long, you’d think it almost automatic that he’d set a blazing path of things he’s wanted to do all of these years.

But after two months, what do we as the public know that he wants?

Virtually nothing – except that he’s now said he’d veto a gas tax increase and wants $1 billion of borrowing done instead. Normally, this could be translated as Republicanism 101, except the S.C. House has had the courage – Republicans and Democrats together – to overwhelmingly approve a gas tax now, not a borrowing spree to force future generations to pay off spending done now.

But other than this policy peek, what’s McMaster’s vision for the Palmetto State? How’s he going to use the bully pulpit? When is he going to address the state and outline a path to prosperity?

Nobody knows. So we sent some questions to the governor’s office that seek specific policy views to allow us to share his vision with people of the state. So far, there’s been no answer.

But here are the policy questions, in case you want to ask him:

1. Everybody is against poverty. How specifically would you attack it to make a dent in it?

2. How specifically will you restore vitality to rural South Carolina beyond the standard answer of “we need more rural economic development”?

3. How specifically will you lead an effective resolution for providing equitable educational opportunities for all South Carolina K-12 students? Please address what you will support and promote proactively to ensure the state complies with the state Supreme Court’s decision in the two-decades-old Abbeville school funding case.

4. What is your vision for providing affordable health care in South Carolina? How will you achieve it? Will you accept Medicaid matching money that the Haley administration turned down now that the GOP in DC has been unsuccessful with “repealing and replacing” Obamacare? There are still billions available to help poor people get better health care.

5. Why is borrowing for roads better than paying the bill now … doesn’t that just saddle future generations with the costs of our needs instead of being responsible now?

6. Tuition costs are eating college students alive. How will you lower college tuition in South Carolina and, at the same time, retain outstanding faculty and maintain the beauty of our university and technical college campuses?

7. What exactly do you want to do as governor?

8. When are you going to address South Carolinians with your vision or at least address the General Assembly?

9. What kinds of specific ethics reforms do you want?

Here’s another that we should have asked: People generally move here because of opportunities and the quality of life, which includes the earth’s bounties. What will you do specifically to protect the natural resources of our state?

None of these 10 questions are “gotchas” asked in a game of political one-upsmanship. They’re not political hardballs for a politician as seasoned as McMaster. They’re serious policy questions seeking to learn how the state’s leader will move the state forward. This being noted, there also are political questions that one could easily add to the list. Here are two that we didn’t ask:

1. Now that you have primary challengers in the 2018 governor’s race (former Lt. Gov. Yancey McGill of Kingstree and former agency head Catherine Templeton of Mount Pleasant), why should South Carolinians elect you for a full term?

2. Through the years, you have used the political consulting services of Richard Quinn and Associates, which has been caught up in the dark cloud of current Statehouse ethics investigation. How are you consulting with the company now?

It’s time for South Carolinians to get some answers from the governor. Not only should voters start asking these kinds of questions of our governor, but members of the media should stop giving him a pass and ask for more detail, too.

Andy Brack is editor and publisher of Statehouse Report. Have a comment? Send to: feedback@statehousereport.com.

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