COMMUNITY UPDATE: September 2008

Before I begin, I hope your family enjoyed your summer together and are staying safe. With Hurricane Gustav hitting the Gulf Coast this week and now Hanna perhaps hitting our coast, please be sure you are prepared in the event of a disaster. It seems we’ll have a very active Hurricane Season again this year.

If you have events you’d like me to share on the website, please contact me directly through Nathansnews.com and I’ll be happy to see how I can help pass along the news.

STATE HOUSE

With only four months until the General Assembly returns for another two-year session, I am still researching legislation that I (by listening to you) feel might help improve the quality of life for our state and move us forward. Presently, I am actively involved in the Education Finance Act and other educational issues in our state. I’m also working towards more open government with improvements in our Campaign Finance Reporting and Disclosures as well as the way we record votes at the State House (more on this below). Lastly, I will work for improved funding for the roads in our state. Of course, there are several other topics I’m researching and I would also like you to continue to send me your advice, suggestions, and opinions. ANYTHING that focuses on Economic Development and Education is something I think we should consider, debate, and explore further!

YOUR MONEY

Roll-call voting. I listened to you and other constituents around our state and I’ve seen first-hand why this reform is needed for government in South Carolina! Please contact your friends and family in other parts of our state so that they can contact their elected officials and share their feelings on this topic as well. For such a common-sense piece of legislation, the path to reform may be rockier than we had expected.

The arguments we have heard against the reform are that “roll-call’s cost taxpayers $55 every time we have one” and “it’ll add more time spent on the budget” and “it’s not needed since a member can get a roll-call already (if they get 9 others to agree)”. While those are all factual statements, they do not outweigh what I feel is the benefit of having a mandate (like may other states already have) that will hold each of us publicly accountable for our spending decisions and positions on legislation. It will also remove the current”self-regulation” by having the process changed and thereby requiring each of us to go on record with a vote – instead of leaving it up to us members to police the body and decide which bills are “worthy of a roll-call” and which ones are not. (Shouldn’t any bill be worthy of a public, recorded vote?)

Thanks to all of you who have emailed, called and spoke with me at the grocery store, church, ball fields, etc. I’m with you! It’s a no-brainer. We just need other House and Senate members’ support to make this happen.

COMMUNITY

The 3rd Annual Irmo Community Prayer Breakfast will be held Thursday September 25th at 7:30 a.m., at Gateway Baptist Church . The event is made possible through our wonderful sponsors each year ($250 for a table of 8). Please help us continue this wonderful annual gathering by supporting and attending the breakfast! Individual tickets are $8. Please contact Representative Huggins or myself to sponsor or reserve your tickets!

Okra Strut: Here comes Okra Man! September 26-27, 2008 be sure to catch the fun with the vendors, music, games, and – of course – the parade! This year I’ll be joined in the parade by several high school students who participated in Alive@25 at Dutch Fork and Irmo High Schools!

BBQ and Bluegrass (and Bauer): Our Lt. Governor (and Irmo’s own) Andre’ Bauer will be having an event in our community this month: Tuesday, September 23rd beginning at 6pm at the Quarterdeck/Rusty Anchor! $100 per person to attend. Sponsorships available. To RSVP or for more information, please contact Elizabeth Donehue at 803-404-7992 or by email at elizabeth@donehueagency.com.

Friarsgate Park / Irmo Little League: I am pleased to share two very important items with you today! I was able to secure funding (through local grants) that will assist the park in providing better security with fencing surrounding the property. More importantly I wanted to recognize the following individuals who will be serving on the park’s Advisory Board. Please thank the following for their service to the park, the children, and our adults in the area: Brian Beatson, Jim Bringley, Michael Buerstner, Jerry Carter, John Ecton, Nate Hinton, Glenn Landry, and Tom McLemore.

ICA Victory Gym: We are fortunate to have great cheerleading and dance groups in our area. One particular group is the Irmo Cheerleading Association. ICA Viking Allstar Cheerleading was established in 1995, making it the longest running allstar program in the Midlands. Children from 4 to 18 years old can enjoy the many camps, classes, and programs at our gym conveniently located in the heart of Columbia’s Harbison area. They offer classes and camps in Cheer, Tumble and Dance as well as opportunity for fun at Open Gym, KIDS NIGHT OUT or Birthday Parties. Check their online calendar for dates and times! Or to schedule your party call them at 732-2494 or contact Janice Decker at ICAViking@aol.com. This month (9/19 and 9/20) Victory Arena will hold tryouts for competitive dance team they will call “Victory Dance”. Some dance or cheer experience is helpful, but not required. The tryouts will be open for participants ages 8 to 16 years old. They hope to form two groups ” Purple Squad” and “Gold Squad” through this tryout. Members of Competitive team should expect to have two practices a week.

SCHOOLS

Reminder: Got a “Straight-A Student” in your house? Once again, I want to recognize any K-12 student in our community who receives “Straight-As” on their report cards! Parents – please email your student’s name, school, and grade and I will have a State House Certificate of Recognition prepared in his/her name and mailed to your home address!

School Board Elections: Campaigning is underway to elect three School Board members for District Five. Two will be from Lexington County and one from Richland County. Readers of NathansNews already know who’s running after reading this post filed right after closing ended.

Bond Referendum: Over the next few months, you’ll see lots of information (for/against) another bond referendum for our schools. I encourage everyone to review all information, ask questions, and vote in November.

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. 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