NEW YEAR … SAME OLD DIVISIVE POLITICS FROM NIKKI HALEY
|| By MIA McLEOD || The month of January is coming to an end, and many of you have asked why I’ve been so quiet lately. My “quiet-time” allows me to arm myself with pertinent information and insight, so that I can continue to give you the real deal.
And although it’s hard to believe we’re into week three of the 2015 legislative session, this year is different. We’ve got a new House Speaker, new committees and, hopefully, a new opportunity to begin to change the culture—from partisan and self-preserving to people-focused and productive.
For the first time in four years, I’m actually excited about being back. New leadership. New opportunities. A renewed sense of hope. Maybe even a new beginning…
And if there’s one thing our State House desperately needs, it’s a new beginning.
But on November 4th, only moments after the polls closed, South Carolinians quickly learned that there wouldn’t be a new Governor.
Still, it seemed only fair that a second term come with a second chance to do right by all of us. So I decided to reserve comment until she was able to reveal her plans for moving SC forward.
This term would be different. How could it not be? Nationally, the economy is making a big comeback. And although she refuses to give President Barack Obama credit for his part, the truth is … no state … not even ours … operates in a vacuum.
We’re all in this together, so “politicizing” and dividing us on non-partisan issues like education, ethics, jobs, economic development, healthcare, roads and infrastructure development would be a stretch—even for her.
But politicizing and dividing are her specialties.
Take her Inaugural Address, for starters. Where else could a state’s #1 Ethics Violator rebrand herself as its #1 Ethics Reform Champion?
Only in South Cakalacky.
Pounce on the legislature under the guise of “protecting the public interest.” Invoke the name of God and the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And yet, even that wasn’t enough to lend credibility to her era of corruption.
So much for new beginnings…
Her State of the State Address last week confirmed that. High on rhetoric, but low on substance, this rambling rant left folks on both sides of the aisle speechless.
What about the future of public education and the Abbeville case? How can she come from a rural area like Bamberg County and not even mention — let alone fight — this landmark decision and its impact, especially when equity, parity and a quality education for all South Carolina students is so critical to the future of our state?
Fortunately, the SC Supreme Court shut it down yesterday by refusing to rehear the case … a true victory for rural SC students who deserve a quality education and access to the same educational resources and opportunities, regardless of their zip codes.
And while domestic violence continues to wreak havoc on our state, how can it be a great day in South Carolina when we’ve been #1 in the nation at least three times and are now second only to Alaska for women who are murdered by their significant others?
Equal pay for women? Didn’t mention it.
A livable wage in South Carolina? Not when we take pride in being one of only five states in the country without one.
Expanding your healthcare coverage options, like fourteen of her Republican Governor counterparts in other states? Of course not.
What about our roads, bridges and infrastructure? Even she admitted that SC has the third lowest gas tax in America, visitors to our state would pay a portion of it and increasing the gas tax would boost revenue streams for our roads and highways. Then, she vowed to do what she usually does when there’s a bright idea that’ll move our state forward.
Sorry, Governor … our crumbling roads and bridges deserve a plan that at least covers the cost to rebuild and repair them.
So … after sitting through page after page of nothingness, I too, was speechless. And if the Governor’s Address was expected to include anything remotely close to a substantive, viable plan for South Carolina, obviously … so was she.
Mia McLeod represents District No. 79 in the South Carolina House of Representatives.