Every two years, the voters of the state have an opportunity to make their voices heard in their attempts to select capable representatives to address the many serious issues that must be dealt with competently on our behalf. The major concerns most of us are acutely cognizant of in South Carolina are the state’s rapidly deteriorating and embarrassing roads, our failing school system, legislative ethics reform, a comprehensive HOA law, and many other serious issues.
As the incumbents campaign for re-election, we are subjected to their fanciful and highly imaginary representations of their many accomplishments versus the reality of what results they actually achieved. This is after they have opportunistically remained essentially anonymous since the last election.
One of the most egregious examples is Sen. Luke Rankin, who exemplifies the principle of mispresenting his accomplishments. As chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee, he claims to be a champion of ethics reform but devotes a great effort to block any reform that allows for independent and unbiased investigation of legislative ethics complaints.
This is not only my opinion, but the opinion of our governor and several who actively support reform. Obviously to have legislators who are honest and ethical should be a major priority, but apparently most of the incumbents are opposed to independent inquiries and investigations into any of their alleged transgressions. It makes one wonder what these public servants have to conceal from the public and why they propose to be only investigated by sympathetic colleagues?
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The senator also recently chaired a committee to study the issues facing the state regarding a law to regulate HOAs and make recommendations to the Legislature on the pending legislation. After forming a committee of questionable composition, soliciting extensive facts and evidence, holding several hearings, etc. a report was produced that summarized the input but no action was taken, recommended, or initiated.
How is it possible to receive all of this testimony and input and fail to form an opinion and not advocate any legislative action? Was this the type of leadership the citizens (and the Legislature) sought on this issue? One must surmise the senator was influenced by powerful special interest groups who opposed the rights of property owners and wanted any proposed legislation obstructed.
Senator Rankin is now claiming to be the champion of improving our fast-deteriorating and long-neglected roads in his district and throughout the state. The Senator has been in the Legislature for 24 years and the issue has not apparently been a priority previously. For his many years in office we have slowly watched our roads deteriorate but now that it’s become a well-publicized prominent campaign issue, thus he claims roads will be promptly addressed “in the future.”
Finally, based on recent Facebook postings, the Senator has repeatedly refused and/or made excuses to not debate his campaign opponent prior to the primary. Why is a candidate who has accomplished so much (his evaluation) frightened of debating the issues, defending his legislative record, stating his principles, and answering questions from citizens? Again the voters must ask why a legislator of so many supposed accomplishments suffers from so much trepidation when asked to discuss his record and his current policies?
To sum up, if you are pleased with our roads, the school system, unethical and dishonest legislators investigating themselves, and no laws to protect the rights of property owners who live in HOAs, Senator Rankin is your candidate. Otherwise the voters should look for someone to replace a questionable politician who has yet to represent the real interests of his constituents and strives to protect his prosperous supporter’s special interests.
The writer lives in Conway.