COMMUNITY UPDATE: November 2010

Tuesday is Election Day for 123* SC House seats, our State Constitutional offices, one of our US Senate seats and all US House of Representatives seats. We’ll also vote on our local School Board, County Councilman, and statewide constitutional amendments . Regardless who you vote for, I encourage you to vote. Nothing bothers me more than hearing from people who think they can’t make a difference or that their votes don’t matter. They do. Every one of them!

*** STATE HOUSE ***

Previously, I’ve mentioned how there will probably be 20 new House members when we return in January. The following Democrats did not file for re-election: Anton Gunn, Doug Jennings and Ken Kennedy. The following Republicans did not file for re-election: Jeff Duncan (Republican nominee for Congress – 3rd District), Lanny Littlejohn, Nikki Haley (Republican nominee for Governor) , Ted Pitts, Rex Rice, Tim Scott (Republican nominee for Congress – 5th District), Don Smith, Michael Thompson and Annette Young. The following Republicans lost in their primaries or primary runoff: Harry Cato, Keith Kelly, Jim Stewart, Richard Chalk and Joey Millwood. *Recently, a special election was held for the seat vacated by the death of Bill Wylie (Greenville). Combine those with some very close races out there and we could see close to 20% of the SC House of Representatives with new faces.

Six years ago, I was one of those new faces. I did not know how many years I would be given by my voters – and still don’t. God willing, and if you continue to approve of my constituent service and my common-sense approach to reforming our state, I look forward to another term starting Tuesday. Since I’ve been elected, there has been a movement afoot to change the status-quo in South Carolina government. I imagine there have been other movements in the past but they apparently never could get over the severe hurdles and resistence that come when fighting to change an entrenched system; however, it’s these next few years that gives me hope. I give everyone the benefit of the doubt and, until proven otherwise, I look forward to seeing my colleagues work together to deliver what the people have been demanding for years. Recently the rhetoric has been turned up by those seeking re-election or those wishing to serve. I hope, and trust, this rhetoric will be followed by actions consistent with their words.

We, as elected officials, have the opportunity to lift our state to prosperity. We can (and should) attract and retain more employment opportunities for our citizens, more educational opportunities for our children and families, and begin to prepare for a long-term vision for the governing of our state. I’m glad it appears this can happen soon (even with the flames of discontent being fueled the past several weeks and months).

As you know, I’ll be casting my vote for Representative Nikki Haley to lead our state as Governor. I know she has the right vision for our state and I know that she will work with our state leaders to make this happen. I hope you’ll join me as well this Tuesday and support her.

*** YOUR MONEY ***

Earlier this month, I wrote about the Tax Realignment Commission . It’s been quiet on that front (in wake of all the elections) but look for a return to the spotlight soon. The Commission is scheduled to deliver their proposal to the General Assembly next month for our consideration. To make changes of this magnitude, there must be give and take. If we can put the political rhetoric behind us, hopefully we can make improvements to South Carolina’s tax structure – at all levels. For those wanting to know why Act 388 isn’t being included in discussions , ask your Senator. The House included it; the Senate did not.

Closer to home, Richland County voters will choose Tuesday whether to pay a Transportation Tax for the next 20+ years.

In other news, I’m hearing state revenues are actually AHEAD of BEA (Board of Economic Advisors) projections. While this sounds good (and is), our budget debate will again be very difficult as this year we’ll lose the $350m/year prop-up that was provided by the federal stimulus in the past two years’ budgets.

*** COMMUNITY ***

We have two community members who will come before the General Assembly for consideration on various boards and judicial positions. Reggie Gallant (Irmo) is up for re-election to the SC State University Board. Tara McGregor (Irmo) has made me aware of her interest in the Circuit Court At Large Seat Number 9 in our state. These elections will be held in the early months of 2011 and are voted upon by the entire SC House and Senate.

Our community has other ways to get involved as well. I hope you’ll consider serving in the capacity of a Board Member for a new museum being created in our state and contact me soon. If you know of a local college student wishing to serve as a page in the State House starting January, please be sure they contact me as well.

Irmo Chamber of Commerce News : The 15th Annual Chuck Larsen Live and Silent Auction will be held Tuesday, November 9th beginning at 5:30pm at the Raddison Hotel & Conference Center. Tickets $25 single, $40 couple (includes food and drinks). To reserve tickets, call 749-9355.

Irmo Chamber Monthly Luncheon is Wednesday, November 10th from 11:45 am to 1pm at St Andrews Presbyterian. Cost is $7. This month’s speaker is Karen Brosius of the Columbia Museum of Art.

The Chapin Chamber of Commerce’s 19th Anniversary Annual Awards & Auction On the 19th of November at 6:30 p.m. Timberlake Country Club. Heavy Hors D’oeuvres, Wine & Beer (Cash Bar also available) Silent & Live Auctions Awards for Business Person of the Year, Non-Profit of the Year, and Annie Epting Volunteer of the Year Business Attire RSVP by November 10th Reservations are $35 per person

*** OUR SCHOOLS ***

A reminder that we get to vote for our Lexington/Richland School District Five School Board of Trustees on Tuesday. For a profile of each candidate (as written by The State), click here .

Chapin Elementary’s 3rd Annual Veteran’s Day Program will be Thursday, November 11th at 10a.m. at the school’s auditorium. I’ve attended the previous two programs and it really is a patriotic service with several veterans in attendance!

All three local high schools are faring well on the gridiron this season. Every Saturday morning on Twitter and Facebook I try to update you with who won the night before and their overall record. If you haven’t seen one of these teams play yet, make time soon before the regular season ends!

** THANK YOU **

Thanks in advance for the privilege to return to Columbia and represent the Irmo/Chapin/Ballentine/Dutch Fork community! If you have events or people you’d like me to share with the community through Nathan’s News, please let me know and I’ll do my best to help!

I’m always eager to spend time with you at your Homeowners Association Meetings, Churches, and other civic events in the community! Let me know dates and times and I’ll work to be there!

During the next few months, please contact me here through Nathan’s News anytime
I can help!

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