COMMUNITY UPDATE: July 2008


Here’s this month’s regular update to keep you informed of what’s going on in the State House and in our community!

If you have events you’d like me to share on the site, please email me at BallentineN@scstatehouse.net and be sure to put the word CONSTITUENT in the subject line so that I can reply to your email before the hundreds of others I receive daily.

STATE HOUSE

While the General Election is still months away, we have already seen much change as a result of the statewide primary races last month.

In total, 9 incumbents (House and Senate) were voted out by their own party. That may not sound like a lot to you, but in politics that’s a big feat. (Trust me. I know first hand how tough it is to beat an incumbent).

When you add that figure to what could happen in “swing districts” in November and include the handful of retirements already, about 20% of the General Assembly could be new faces when we return in January.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ve seen my posts already about this subject and how I am looking forward to continuing to bring positive change to our state. If new folks are willing, great! We’ll work together. If “veteran legislators” are not, voters will let them know their feelings at the ballot box.

I would like to point out something that many of you may not know. For the first time since Reconstruction, an African-American Republican Legislator will be serving in Columbia! Representative Elect Tim Scott (R – Berkeley/Charleston) and I have talked a few times and traded emails and it appears we are like-minded on several issues for our state. I am looking forward to working with him!

YOUR MONEY

Richland County is considering a 1% sales tax increase to help fund roads, bike paths, and public transportation. We already had a public input session in our community and there will be another one countywide on July 15th. For more information, contact our County Councilmember, Bill Malinowski .

Richland County is also considering a bond for the Recreation Commission. The cost appears to exceed $50,000,000.

Lastly, Richland County recently increased the cost of garbage collection due to rising fuel costs.

For the record, I represent Richland and Lexington Counties but most of the “dollars and sense” news this month comes from the Richland side of the river.

COMMUNITY

There will be a meeting tonight at Friarsgate Park with law enforcement, elected officials, the Irmo Little League, and parents/neighbors in the area to talk about recent events at the park and the need for safety awareness. If you live in the area or have children who play sports at the park, please attend. The meeting starts at 7:00 p.m.

Incorporation? It appears the folks in the Ballentine area will try once again to incorporate. I’m hearing that they have listened to the opposition’s earlier concerns and are working to try to alleviate some of those for the hopeful passage of the new town. On the Ballentine Dutch Fork Civic Association website you can read a proposed “Bill of Rights”. Ironically, the Secretary of State informs me that only one time before has an incorporation effort failed. Can incorporation in our area avoid being the second one?

Kim Sullivan was recently crowned Mrs. South Carolina 2008 ! Sullivan represented Newberry County in the Mrs. South Carolina Pageant. She will travel to Tucson, Arizona in August to represent South Carolina in the Mrs. America Pageant. Not only did she win the overall title; but also she received the physical fitness award and the most photogenic award. During the competition, contestants competed in personal interviews, a state costume contest, a swimsuit competition and an evening gown competition. She entered the pageant to help promote her idea of using the arts to work with children in foster care. An adopted child herself, Kim believes that children in foster care can use the arts as an outlet and benefit from them. She is currently the visual art teacher at Ballentine Elementary and is the owner and art instructor of Art with Heart studio and gallery in Chapin.

SCHOOLS

After seeing all our high school graduates receive their diploma last month, I am just amazed at the students we are sending out to the community, state, nation…and world! They all have their future in front of them: colleges, universities, the military, the workforce, and families.

Our district can be proud knowing the quality of student and citizen that came from our community!

Again this year, there will be another Bond Referendum on the ballot. Since November is a Presidential Election, more people than before will go to the polls. It’s my hope that everyone will have as much information as they need to make an informed decision.

No doubt, there will be much ‘campaigning’ on both sides (for/against) and in fairness to our community I wanted to point you to sites from both camps that may help you cast your vote.

The School District has an informational page on their site and a group of citizens has information on their site.

I encourage everyone in our community to vote this November (President, Federal officials, State officials, Local officials, bond referendum, county referendums, etc). Be sure your voice is heard.

THANK YOU

Thanks again for staying informed by visiting the site! Please let your friends and neighbors know about it so that they can stay as informed as possible, too. As you can see, I try to write often and regularly update photos from our community as well as videos.

You have given me a great honor by choosing me to represent you in the South Carolina House of Representatives and I remain as committed as ever to staying in touch.

While we will not return for the next session until January 2009, please know I am just a phone call or email away. If you have a civic organization, church, or homeowners association meeting or event – I would love to attend and hear from your members.

Please contact my office, 734-2969, or email me at BallentineN@scstatehouse.net anytime I can be of service to you or your family.

Nathan Ballentine
www.nathansnews.com
House of Representatives, District 71
Richland-Lexington Counties
320A Blatt Building
Columbia, SC 29221