by MITCHELL GUNTER || Nearly $300 million in new investments and over 1,100 jobs flowed into Greenville County this year according to Greenville Area Economic Corporation. Buoyed by an influx of economic growth and variety of opportunities for locals and newcomers alike, South Carolina’s most populous county is projected to experience job growth of 39.8% over the next decade, well above the United States average.
By 2040, the county expects whopping growth of over 220,000 new residents and 108,000 jobs. As election season nears and candidates campaign for election to the 2020 Greenville County Council, the tone of the county’s economic and ideological future, along with the financial forecast of the area’s six cities, will be shaped by their influence.
For council candidate Steve Shaw, the clear path forward for Greenville County lies in stimulating economic growth through regulatory reform, improving traffic conditions, freezing or reducing taxes, and protecting individual liberties provided by the Second Amendment—in other words, Shaw wants Greenville County to be the most business-friendly county in the state.
I encountered Shaw briefly during the December Gun and Knife Show at the Greenville Convention Center. Sporting a state constable uniform and walking amongst booths full of rifles and historical firearms memorabilia, Shaw had volunteered for the event as a State Constable to provide security. He also signed copies of his new book, Shaw’s 2019 South Carolina Gun Law, on breaks at a booth promoting South Carolina Carry, an organization dedicated to Second Amendment liberties.
Several years ago Shaw received the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina’s highest civilian honor, for his state-wide contribution of authoring annual editions of Shaw’s South Carolina Gun Law book, the singular legal authority on South Carolina gun law. He also organizes gun law seminars for judges, attorneys, and CWP instructors.
My interest was piqued, and I reached out to Shaw to learn more about his vision for Greenville County’s future. Shaw works as private lawyer in Travelers Rest and Greer and announced his candidacy for county council District 20 on December 4, in the wake of news that Greenville County Councilman Sid Cates will not seek re-election.
According to Steve, he raised nearly $40,000 in the last quarter of 2019 in anticipation of qualifying in March.
“My entire education focused on real estate, land use, planning, and law,” Shaw recalled, expressing that portions of his platform would consist of focusing on economic growth, individual freedom, and making county regulations more flexible.
“As an attorney trying to get real estate projects approved, I know first-hand that the County can do a much more efficient job approving applications. There is no need whatsoever to raise taxes or fees, just to streamline the approval process. I’ve been in the process feeling totally helpless, confused and run-around and I have a Ph.D. in planning, I’m a land-use lawyer, and I’m on the Board of Zoning Appeals!” Shaw stated as part of his plan to improve county real estate processes.
On taxes and fees, Shaw proclaimed, “Taking money from residents to give to the government reassigns power from the people to the government,” adding, “I want to keep government out of our lives and support anything and anyone who helps people be independent and free.”
“I am completely against raising taxes or fees. In fact, I know there must be ways to reduce taxes and fees,” Shaw continued. Furthermore, as a means of combating Atlanta-type urban sprawl and diminished livability in Greenville County, Shaw proposes reforms to the current Land Development regulations on the books.
“Virtually every development is burdened with having to provide many more parking spaces than needed. Take a look at Lowes, Home depot, or almost any commercial location and you will see about 5 times more parking than needed. The way to make life better is to stop forcing businesses to waste valuable and beautiful land with expensive, ugly, and completely unnecessary empty parking spaces,” Shaw declared.
Aside from promoting regulatory reform and the general economic welfare of Greenville County, Shaw’s passion for Second Amendment liberties will likely define his candidacy and raise headlines.
“About 12 years ago, I first published Shaw’s South Carolina Gun Law and I continue to publish annual editions,” Shaw said of his latest edition, expressing that the SC Supreme Court, the University of South Carolina School of Law, and the SC Law Enforcement Academy libraries all retain copies.
“My belief is that all mentally sane adults have a natural right to keep and bear arms for whatever reason from a hobby to the gravest self-defense. The 2nd Amendment (and South Carolina’s counterpart) are in place to keep the government from infringing upon that fundamental right,” Shaw said of the Second Amendment for Greenville County residents, and American citizens at large.
As the 2020 Greenville County Council election draws ever closer, only time will tell if Steve Shaw is poised to take up Sid Cates’ mantle for District 20 as voters head to the polls on November 3.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Mitchell Gunter is a freelance journalist whose work on political issues in higher education has been featured on national programs including Fox Business, The Drudge Report and “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” Mitchell holds a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from Clemson University and lives in Mauldin, South Carolina.
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