Road Closings in Richland / Lexington Counties

Historic flooding occurred this weekend in the Midlands and I hope everyone is safe and that the property damage is not too bad. Videos and pictures that I’ve seen from our community and area are unbelievable!

The City of Columbia has issued a Boil Water Advisory as well. Since many in our area use “city water”, please be aware.

As of 1pm today, here is the report from the SC Department of Transportation.



Closed for repairs (again)


Not sure what keeps happening to the website but for the 2nd time in a few months; we’ve basically been shut down.

I’d like to thank Wesley Donehue and his team at Push Digital (the ones who originally put this site together years ago) for stepping in again to fix the problem.

Unfortunately, all your comments over the years were lost and many links in my posts are now “dead links”. Not to mention my “Donate” link doesn’t work either. Despite that, we had another great turnout at our Community Cookout last month and I very much appreciate the support (financial, prayers, volunteers, etc). I’ll post pictures of the event next week.

Now that we’re up and running again, I’ll continue to update you regularly and keep you informed about what’s going on in the community and in Columbia!

As always, please contact me here for a quicker response to your concerns or needs!

10th Annual Irmo Community Prayer Breakfast

It’s hard to believe that next Thursday, September 24th, will mark the 10th time Representative Huggins and I have gathered the Irmo Community together in prayer!

This annual event could not be possible without our regular sponsors and the hard work of local churches and their congregations.

Each year we see many of the same people; but every year we see more and more new faces. Each year we rotate the breakfast among churches in the Irmo area and every year the pastor for the host church for the upcoming year gives the benediction. Last year, the benediction was given by the Rev. Dr. Derrick Scott of St. Paul AME Church on Kennerly Road. I visited the church in 2013 when construction on their new facility was just beginning. I’ve been back since then; but am excited that the community will now get to visit and hear from one of the relatives of the late Senator Clementa Pinckney.

Our state should never forget the Emmanuel Nine and the grace shown during those very difficult time.

Please RSVP to reserve your space today (Email or call Dana at 803-807-3339. Thanks to our sponsors, this event is FREE to the public. We hope to see you there!

You can read more about our past Prayer Breakfasts by clicking here to see photos, videos, and more


Roads, Bridges, Intersections, Lights


While the General Assembly was unable to pass a “Roads Plan” (note: I voted for the plan that the House passed; but it didn’t make it out of the Senate), there is still alot of improvments happening around House District 71.

Below is an update from the SCDOT on the improvements going on in our community!

SC-6 @ Salem Church Road Intersection Improvement
The work on SC-6 is on-going, but utility conflicts have halted the pipe work. C.R. Jackson is actively working on other items until the utilities are relocated. C.R. Jackson plans to fine grade and pour curb and gutter this week and hopefully start back laying pipe August 24. City of Columbia plans to have a crew onsite this week to lower a 3” water main that is in conflict and SCE&G currently has a subcontractor onsite relocating a gas line. They plan to tap the line Thursday, August 20, and be out of the area by the Friday. There is also a meeting scheduled with AT&T to confirm the specific location of their lines for the installation of the remaining 2 signal pole foundations.

The expected completion date for this project is September 30, 2015. This should be attainable if no more utility conflicts are encountered and the current issues are resolved in a timely fashion.

S-40-216: Lowman Home Barn Road
The scope of this reclamation project was to grind up the existing roadway surface and base materials at least 8” in depth, add in cement, and remix while adding water. The result of this process produces a cement modified base course which is then overlaid with asphalt. This reconstruction method is very economical as compared to traditional patching and produces a structurally sound roadway which will last for many years to come.

The reclamation process has been completed and a temporary gravel riding surface has been installed. Milling and installation of traffic signal detection loops will be complete by end of week. The final asphalt surfacing is scheduled to begin at the end of this week or first of next week.

S-40-296 – A.J. Amick Road
Reclamation is also complete on this road, however, the final asphalt surface has not been placed yet. Surface will be placed once Lowman Home Barn is complete.

S-40-620: Captain Lowman Road
This road is under contract for single treatment – Contract ID 5190090. C. R. Jackson is the prime contractor. No work has been performed on this road to date. We anticipate that C. R. Jackson will full depth patch this winter and the single treatment will be placed in 2016 once seasonal restrictions have been lifted. The project has a completion date of September 30, 2016.

Richland County CTC Resurfacing
Shadowood Drive (S-1680), West Shady Grove Road (S-612) and Water Garden Court (S-1708) are part of this contract. Work has not started yet. The completion date is October 31, 2015.

Firetower Road Bridge Replacements
Local SCDOT bridge maintenance crews have completed the first bridge replacement on Firetower Road and are in the midst of replacing the second. We hope to have the project completed and the roadway reopened prior to October 1st.

Richland County Penny Project – Kennerly Road at Coogler Road
This is a Richland County Penny Project begin administered by ICA Engineering. Per my discussion with Project Manager Jennifer Bragg, the scope of the project is to install a roundabout at this intersection. It is one of six intersections included in a Design Build contract. They hope to award the contract by September with an 18-month window for completion of all intersections. For more information, you may contact Project Manager Jennifer Bragg at (803) 726-6146 or Richland County Transportation Director Rob Perry at (803) 576-1526.

I-26 Rehab
Several bridges along the I-26 corridor (89 MM to 101 MM) are scheduled to be combined in one large project in advance of the I-26 roadway rehabilitation project. These bridges will either be raised to provide for interstate clearance or replaced. The contract is tentatively set to be let late 2016. The roadway contract is expected to follow in 2017.

US-76 @ Johnson Marina Road Intersection Improvement
This is an intersection improvement project that will provide turn lanes on both US-76 and Johnson Marina Road. The initial project scoping meeting was held two weeks ago and currently the project is scheduled to be let Summer 2016.

Other notable projects in the Chapin area include
– Amicks Ferry Safety Improvement
– St. Peters Church Road Safety Improvement
– Murray Lindler Road @ Old Lexington Road Roundabout

FREE Community Cookout – August 26th

In just two weeks, I will again host another COMMUNITY COOKOUT for families in House District 71 to get to interact with several elected officials in a casual setting here on Lake Murray.

Like I’ve done every two years, we’ll be at The Rusty Anchor and Quarterdeck and have Jim LeBlanc playing tunes on his acoustic guitar.

Every year, it’s standing room only and the food goes fast! Be sure you’re one of the 300 that RSVP so you can enjoy an evening on the lake and meet those that represent our community, county and state.

Elected officials who have attended before:

Governor Nikki Haley, State Treasuer Curtis Loftis, Attorney General Alan Wilson, US Congressman Joe Wilson, State Senator John Courson, Representative Chip Huggins, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, Richland County Coroner Gary Watts, Irmo Mayor Hardy King, Irmo Town Council members: Walker, Younginer, Hoots, Condon; former Chapin Mayor Stan Shealy, Lexington/Richland District Five Superintendent Steve Heffner. School Board Members: Jan Hammond, Ellen Baumgardner, Beth Burn; Richland County Councilman Bill Malinowski, Lexington County Councilman Johnny Jeffcoat…and others

See below for contact information to RSVP and to help contribute by being a Sponsor, Host or Supporter.

Remember – families in House District 71 are FREE – just be sure to RSVP so we don’t run out of food!

Pictures from previous cookouts can be found by clicking here.

Cookout 2015

“Project LM”?

image (17)

I saw this article last night on The State’s Twitter feed and posted it on Facebook. Was a surprise to me and after getting calls and emails today, I’ve reached out to find out more.


A public recreation site is planned for the Richland County side of Lake Murray after the county’s recent purchase of 4.2 acres in the Ballentine area.

The $2 million purchase was finalized June 30, according to county administrator Tony McDonald. More than a year was spent in closed-door talks and contract negotiations, with council members and county staff referring publicly to the project only by the code name “Project LM” even after council held a shell of a public hearing and approved setting aside money for the land purchase.

County leaders disclosed the purchase and the general idea for the land’s development only after The State newspaper pressed for details. Residents and lake-user groups have yet to weigh in.

It’s too early to say how the property, on Bonuck Road off Salem Church Road, could be developed, McDonald said, whether for beach, marina or other use

Read more here .


Thank you! Huge response to “Stay connected”


Nathan’s News readers over the years know that I try to keep you informed as much as possible.

Instead of just once a year mailers, I use this website to STAY CONNECTED year round to the community!

There was an overwhelming response in the are to my STAY CONNECTED postcard and I have personally added each of you to the distribution list of my COMMUNITY UPDATES. While I don’t have one every month, I do share frequently during the year.

August’s COMMUNITY UPDATE will go out mid August. If you aren’t receiving it, simply contact me here and let me know you want to stay connected too!

Many of you asked for Yard Signs and to be listed as supporters (some wanted bumper stickers). Next spring, I’ll be sure to personally deliver those to your doorstep before the election!

It’s an honor and privilege to represent you in Columbia! Thank you for the responsibility and thank you for your continued prayers and support!

Your thoughts on the “the flag”?


I have heard from many of you in the past several days and wanted to be sure I had as much feedback as possible before we head towards a historic debate next week when the General Assembly returns to the State House.

In recent days I have been hearing from colleagues about possible AMENDMENTS planned for the debate. Honestly, I do not know if there will be any “straight up or down vote on removal” of the flag; but I would assume there would be. I am hearing from some about options to “replace” the flag with a different one and that’s why I’m reaching out to you for your input.

Be sure I know your thoughts…either by commenting below (be respectful, please), contacting me through the website , or emailing me at

If I simplified options/amendments that may come up, I would ask you:

1) Remove flag from State House grounds?
2) Remove flag…but REPLACE with another? If so, WHICH flag?

Thank you for your time and thoughtful feedback.



The General Assembly returns Monday, July 6th, to deliberate “Budget Vetoes” that the Governor shared today in her press conference. Governor Haley was quoted as saying “What we saw was the rebirth of earmarks.” That reminded me of my push several years go to fix the practice of earmarks . I knew we would never eliminate them; but the reform we passed does require earmarks to be listed by sponsor and county. This allows members to see what members added to the budget that was not in the previous year’s budget or requested by state agencies through the normal process. Since that reform passed, members now KNOW about the earmarks and can decide whether or not to support them or not. As I mentioned years ago on Nathan’s News, the word “earmark” doesn’t have to mean “pork”…but that’s up to the individuals interpretation.

As I’ve done for the past several years , I wanted to share those vetoes with you and ask any constituents to contact me with your thoughts. Historically, the (vast) majority of vetoes get overridden by the Legislature. Through the years, though, we have seen more and more vetoes sustained.

For a “Veto Primer”, if the veto is overridden by the House, it goes to the Senate to be deliberated.
If the veto is sustained by the House, it doesn’t go to the Senate.
Should a veto be overridden by the House, and later sustained by the Senate…the veto ultimately is sustained.

Below are 87 vetoes this year. Governor Haley’s highest number of vetoes (but 2nd smallest by dollar amount of vetoes). Click on any link to see the Veto message. If you live in the Ballentine/Chapin/Dutch Fork/Irmo area, please contact me here or email me at to let me know your thoughts.

If you live in other parts of the state, please contact your Representative and Senator and pass along your opinions.

FY 2015-16 General Appropriations Act
FY 2015-16 Supplemental
FY 2015-16 Capital Reserve

(NOTE: in addition to these budget vetoes next week; the House and Senate will also debate the removal of the flag from the State House grounds. More on that later…)

Voting closer to home

precinct changes

The SC General Assembly adjourned sine die Thursday at 5pm; but will reconvene for at least one more week (probably more) during the summer. As I shared with Keven Cohen that afternoon; there really wasn’t much accomplished statewide (outside of Criminal Domestic Violence measures we passed). I’ll write more about “highs” and “lows” of the session in the coming weeks.

Locally though, I can report that many of you will get to vote closer to home than last time. Earlier this year, I shared that y’all let me know of changes you’d like to see regarding where you vote.

I don’t need to rehash how bad Richland County botched that election (during the “Penny Tax” referendum); but I did want you to know I had not forgotten. Even though I was able to make many changes two years ago to help reduce wait times in our area; I heard from the community that some voters wanted to be able to vote even closer to home. That led to me filing H.4142 in February. (Note: Special thanks to constituent Will Roberts, who is program manager for the mapping department of the S.C. Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office.)

As information: Spring Hill precinct votes at Spring Hill High School. Dutch Fork #1 precint votes at Dutch ForK High School. Dutch Fork #3 precinct votes at River Springs Church.

In the coming months, many of you will receive new voter registration cards. Be sure to notice these and see where you will vote during the next location. Hopefully you’ll save a little gas…and time!