COMMUNITY UPDATE: September 2012

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STATE HOUSE
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Last week I made a quick trip to Charleston for our House GOP Caucus meeting. We hold these meetings every summer to prepare an agenda for the upcoming session. The agenda, while drafted by us, comes from our conversations and discussions back home with our constituents. The GOP House caucus will unveil our agenda in January; however, each member obviously works for his/her constituent on other matters.

As always, I encourage you to contact me here to share your ideas/suggestions about how to improve South Carolina. Every session I’ve served our community, I’ve been able to work to pass significant legislation as the primary sponsor. It’s not all about “who gets credit” though. For that reason, I lend my name, support, and work to pass other great ideas from around our state and let other colleagues champion those causes.

What would like to see us do for South Carolina next session?

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YOUR MONEY
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You’ve probably noticed more attention to the possible tax increases on the November ballot for both Lexington and Richland Counties. These proposals are designed to improve our local infrastructure. Be sure you study the issues and get the information you need to make an informed decision this fall. This Monday, September 17th, Richland County will have an informational meeting right here in our community ! I hope you’ll join me there so you can be better informed when you cast your vote in November.

Also, I want to give everyone a heads up about another huge funding decision our state will face whether we opt-in or opt-out of the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) when we return in January. Regardless of what direction our state chooses, there will be a huge cost for either option. Opting-in has less cost (for the next couple of years) but will eventually come with a much higher pricetag AND an influx of $10 billion from the Federal Government by 2020. (Think of it as a “teaser rate” on a credit card that eventually goes up much more than had you not chosen that option to being with) Similar to the stimulus debate a few years ago, we’ll have a heated debate and, as we get closer to that time, I want to hear from you especially. One thing to add for consideration, even if SC opts-OUT, our state still faces an enrollment boom of over 170,000 citizens who are eligible at this moment but not in the system. Keep that in mind.

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COMMUNITY
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7th Annual Irmo Community Prayer Breakfast is less than two weeks away. This year’s speaker? Jim “Soni” Sonefeld (Hootie and the Blowfish). I can’t believe the vision Representative Huggins and I had years ago is still going strong each September! Here’s video from last year’s breakfast and we look forward to seeing the same sponsors and many new neighbors join us again on Tuesday, September 25th at Riverland Hills Baptist Church (site of the very first breakfast years ago)! To reserve your spot (FREE thanks to our many sponsors), please contact Elizabeth Donehue at elizabethdonehue@gmail.com or by calling her at 843-864-9414.

2012 Okra Strut is just days after the Prayer Breakfast! Be sure to sign your group/organization up for the annual parade and take the whole family out to the Irmo Town Park (new site for this year’s event)

Irmo Chamber of Commerce : To see a list of upcoming events click here.

Chapin Chamber of Commerce announces new Executive Director! If you don’t know Karen Owens, here’s a little bit about a wonderful lady who works hard everyday for the Chapin area!

Meet your neighbor : Please be sure to email me news of accomplishments of your friends and neighbors in the community! Previously I would regularly update the website with people I knew around town who were doing great things right here in Irmo, Chapin. I’m willing to help promote their work/cause and simply need you to let me know what’s going on!

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OUR SCHOOLS
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I took the kids last Friday night to the Chapin football game for their 9/11 Salute and to see their NJROTC cadets receive their NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP trophy! Karen and I will also be at Dutch Fork and Irmo during the season and hope to see your family at the fields supporting our student athletes and band members.

Filing for School Board Members has closed and there will be 4 names (for 2 spots) on the ballot for Lexington voters to consider and 2 names (for 1 position) on the ballot for Richland voters to consider. I should go ahead and remind everyone that I do NOT endorse in local elections as I feel everyone in the community has sufficient access to the candidates (debates, campaigning door-to-door). To be clear, I do sometimes endorse statewide or nationally because of the lack of access to candidates based on the scale of those races.

A constituent brought something to my attention that I must have overlooked last month in the news regarding the ACLU and South Carolina School Districts. I’ll direct you to what I wrote earlier today .

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THANK YOU
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Thanks again for the privilege you give me to represent the Irmo/Chapin/Ballentine/Dutch Fork community! If you have events or people you’d like me to share with our community right here 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!

Nathan Ballentine
www.nathansnews.com
House of Representatives, District 71
Richland-Lexington Counties
320B Blatt Building
Columbia, SC 29201