… AND THE CHALLENGES HE FACES
By FITSNEWS || South Carolina lawmakers – a predominantly self-serving lot who have done their level best to run the Palmetto State into a ditch for decades – will gather in the state capital of Columbia this week for a biannual organizational session.
The purpose of this confab? To select leaders, assign members to committees and prepare for the onrush of (mostly self-serving) legislation scheduled to make its way through the all-powerful legislative branch of state government beginning in January.
Hanging over this year’s gathering? An ongoing federal-state investigation of corruption at the S.C. State House – one that’s already brought down former S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell. In fact the first item of business when members of the S.C. House of Representatives convene in Columbia on Tuesday will be the election of Harrell’s replacement – a race that was won months ago by S.C. Speaker Pro Tempore Jay Lucas.
Who is Lucas?
A 57-year-old attorney from Florence, S.C., the incoming Speaker is described by those who know him best as intelligent, inclusive and modest – three qualities in extremely short supply in the S.C. General Assembly.
“Jay is just what the situation requires,” one of Lucas’ colleagues told FITS. “His personality, his integrity, his respect for the (House) – his way of doing things – it’s like he was custom made for the crisis we are confronting.”
It almost didn’t happen, though. Lucas – who will be the third “Republican” to hold the powerful post since the GOP took control of the House in 1994 – was reportedly on the verge of leaving the legislature before circumstances thrust him into the limelight.
“He had a sweet job offer from one of the big firms but decided to stay because the Speaker’s job fell into his lap,” one source told FITS.
Lucas doesn’t appear interested in turning the powerful post into a personal fiefdom, though.
“I don’t see him doing (the Speaker’s job) for more than three terms,” one of the new Speaker’s confidantes told FITS.
That may be one reason why Lucas has been pushing for term limits on leadership positions within the House (not limits on how long members can serve, but rather the length of time they can occupy leadership roles).
We support such an effort …
Another of Lucas’ closest aides in the House told FITS his plan was to see the chamber through the current crisis, restore public confidence in the legislative branch and get the state on better fiscal footing.
“Not a caretaker – but not a career politician either,” the lawmaker told us.
When all that’s done, then he’ll take that private sector job …
“He’s well aware of the stakes,” the lawmaker added. “He knows it’s all on his shoulders now. And he knows he can’t do it alone.”
In an interview with S.C. Statehouse Report published just prior to the Thanksgiving holiday, Lucas told veteran Palmetto politico Andy Brack that promoting an inclusive style of leadership was “extremely important for where we are at this point in the state’s history.”
“I’ve heard from the members that they want to be involved in the process more than they have been in the past,” Lucas told Brack.
He’s involving them, too – appointing members like Gary Simrill and Kirkman Finlay to committees aimed at addressing pressing ethics and infrastructure issues.
Will his “inclusiveness” pay off in progress for the state?
We shall see …
If Lucas can steer the S.C. House out of its current corrupt mess via a package of compelling ethics reforms – while simultaneously righting the state’s fiscal ship with pro-free market tax and spending policies – that would be something all South Carolinians could applaud.
We’re certainly looking forward to seeing what he brings to the table on both counts …
Still getting paid to name-drop Kirkman’s names in your stories, huh? That guy has too much money.
“it’s like he was custom made for the crisis we CREATED.”
There, all fixed.
“his plan was to see the chamber through the current crisis, restore public confidence in the legislative branch and get the state on better fiscal footing.”
When pigs fly in a frozen hell.
In other news, just to brighten everyone’s day, this new item —-
This is good news. If only we could get our legislators to take said pills and spend all day sniffing each other’s asses instead of passing laws and screwing the taxpayers then it’d be even more awesome.
Possible captions for that picture:
“The door is that way cock roach – show yourself out.”
“If I were you, I’d be leaving right about now.”
“…and don’t let the door hit you in your fat ass on the way out.”
Lucas is from Hartsville, not Florence.
A lawyer from the PeeDee. This simply means Jean Hoefer Toal owns his license and can at her discretion let him know it if he does not jump when she says to do so. Here we go again.
We will see. It is nice to see a straight up guy like Finlay appointed to a committee that can make a difference. Like most of us I will have to see it to believe it. But I am always hopeful. When all the old moss back Democrat/ RINOs are gone the new generation can clean out the cockroaches.
They probably will run out the old cockroaches since the new generation are bigger cockroaches than the old generation. They are use to living on money provided by people who expect them to vote a specific way in exchange for that money. SC government has never been more corrupt than it has been since Republican took over. The future of this state is grim, as I see no end to the corruption, or even a desire to end it..
Yeah, the peeps who expect Tea Party types to be any better forget that those SOBs also vote the way certain big money interests dictate that they vote. No matter what ideology you hold, or what party you belong to, the fact is that big, “dark” money is a major corrupting influence in the USA today. Get rid of that shit as being what determines who gets elected and who doesn’t, reighn in lobbyists, impose strict as hell term limits on both houses, and THEN we might start to get somewhere.
Will he clean “House” of all the Harrell staff still there? The same folks who helped him be corrupt and who attacked those who shined the light on the corruption?
They are all still there.
This is an important story.
But there are many non-important stories of great interest that are not being covered here.
Just one of them:
“The Many Talents of Kate Upton – GQ
Just admit it, you wanted more: the bombshell shows off her running, dancing, and (yes) wet T-shirting skills” (
(features Kate running on the beach in a bikini, Baywatch-style)
We need Kate now more than ever.
Be careful what you wish for…
Because the House is weakening itself at the very time the Senate, ruled by one man, is strengthening itself.
An all powerful Senate is worse than anything we have experienced in the last 20 years, and longer. We are screwed.