While local government in Beaufort County, South Carolina is clearly going to hell in a proverbial hand basket these days, there is one local leader who continues to represent the Palmetto State with distinction.
South Carolina senator Tom Davis – now in his fourth term in the S.C. General Assembly – has consistently earned plaudits across the political and ideological spectrums for his statesmanship. Just this past month, Davis received top marks from a pro-free market group – Americans for Prosperity (AFP). Davis received a 106 percent ranking on AFP’s 2023 scorecards – second only to another free market leader, senator Wes Climer of York County.
“Davis is working his way up through the leadership ranks – becoming one of the rare lawmakers to rise to a leadership post without compromising his principles,” I noted last summer.
Chairman of the influential Senate labor commerce and industry (LCI) committee, Davis is also a member of the chamber’s powerful finance committee. More importantly, he has emerged in recent legislative sessions as a key broker between leaders in his chamber and the S.C. House of Representatives – which also boasts a so-called “Republican” supermajority.
His role as a go-between reportedly helped secure the passage of multiple pieces of legislation during the 2023 session – as well as diffuse several major intra-chamber dust-ups.
“People go to him because they trust him,” one House leader told me, referring to Davis’ diplomatic handling of the defeat of his signature medical marijuana bill in the House last spring.
“He could have torched a lot of people,” the House leader noted, referring to that debacle. “He should have torched a lot of people. (But) he didn’t. And people remembered that.”
Even those who disagree with Davis routinely come away respecting him for his forthrightness … which, incidentally, was the reason he was able to effortlessly navigate a “scandal” earlier this year.
A libertarian-leaning fiscal conservative, Davis has been leading the fight to decriminalize medical marijuana in South Carolina over the past nine years. He has also been a staunch supporter of a free market port facility in Jasper County, S.C. Additionally, Davis has been among the legislature’s most vocal backers of income tax relief – and school choice. His erudite, eloquent, even-keeled advocacy on these issues has stood out in the current cantankerous climate – propelling him to stratospheric approval ratings in his Lowcountry district.
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This summer, a new group has formed which is reportedly raising money in support of Davis as he expands his influence across the statewide stage. The Lexington, S.C.-based Freedom Fund SC was created as an independent expenditure group. Its purpose? To advocate on behalf of “the issues Senator Davis is focused on – primarily those that pertain to opening up competitive markets in health care, energy and education.”
As of this writing, the group does not have a website … but it does have an email.
In praising Davis last summer, I noted the only way to achieve needed, systemic change in state government was “to have principled lawmakers rise to the top of the pecking order in the legislature.”
Davis continues to do that … and appears poised to expand his influence even further following the 2024 election cycle. Hence the growing interest among various special interests in supporting his political ascendency.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.
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