Search Results for: rod shealy

Prayers Needed – Rod Shealy, Sr.

I’m torn tonight whether to write about this. We obviously have many folks in our community in need of prayer. Some I get a chance to write about. Obviously several others, I do not.

But I couldn’t let it go without bringing this to everyone’s attention in our community and asking for everyone’s prayers for Rod Shealy, Sr.

The news first broke this morning after Rod wrote on his weekly blog, Doing the First .

I literally had to pull over in my car.

Rod Shealy – political consultant, businessman, and always a “Hawaiian-Shirt-Wearing-Guy” – has shared that he has a cancerous brain tumor.

Simply put – keep him and his family in your prayers.

Arguably one of the most brilliant minds in SC politics , Rod learned under the tutelage of “Republican Bad Boy” Lee Atwater . Everyone in political cirlces either loves him or hates him (opponents of his candidates, obviously the latter) but tonight, everyone joins me in sending their love and prayers.

Rod’s a laid-back, fun-loving guy but I know he’ll treat this battle like he does all his campaigns – aggressively, with everything he’s got, and pulling off another upset that many thought he couldn’t.

Never – never – bet against him!

UPDATE (8/6): Tonight, one of SC’s most popular blogs has put the first of a series of video interviews with Rod) Go visit at

Rod Shealy, Sr. – Voting "Yes"

Much has been said about Rod Shealy, Sr. and The New Irmo News in the past and I wanted everyone to have a chance to read his most recent column.

When I first ran for office, many of my friends and neighbors questioned why I would have someone who is “anti-schools” run my campaign. For starters, Rod was the only political consultant out there willing to stick his neck out for me. The others I contacted were scared of the “800 lb. gorilla” I was up against and said they “couldn’t risk helping me” even though they may have wanted to and wished me well in my efforts.

Next, when it comes to running campaigns, he’s one of the best! He’s been in the business for years and has worked closely with, among others, Lee Atwater. While he’s known for “winning at all costs”, he managed to run a clean, positive campaign for me and agreed to let me sign off on our materials. (Note: most consultants prefer to have autonomy and do things their way. To have someone with Rod’s credentials defer control to me, the candidate, was a huge step for him to make).

Mainly, Rod’s just an interesting character (as can be seen in the photo above and through his writings). I have NEVER seen him not wearing a Hawaiian shirt. (Is that sentence grammatically correct? Double-negative police, look out!) We rarely talk issues because his role is a campaign consultant. Consultants give advice on how to win campaigns – not how to vote.

While many viewed him as a lightening Rod, I viewed him as a campaign consultant first and a newspaper/businessman second. Like most people, I too can “read into” almost anything I want to and justify or rationalize what I think is actually going on. As he mentions in his column, his paper (as most journalistic mediums do) tries to be neutral. In our community though, we have so many people sharing opinions that inevitably if “one side” speaks more than another and the paper prints those – the paper appears slanted/biased.

Tomorrow’s a big vote in our community and with as much grief as he and The New Irmo News has caught in the past for being “anti-schools”, I think his column this week puts that to rest.

One thing we all learn early in life: don’t judge a book by its cover! If you did that in Rod’s case, you’d never get past Margaritaville!


Hopefully you’ve received our Christmas card this year and will be able to focus on the true reason for the season! From our family to yours: Merry Christmas and may 2011 be a wonderful year for each of you!


We’re a month away from the 1st session of the 119th South Carolina General Assembly where our state will see a new Governor for the first time in eight years along with 20 new State Representatives. It will definitely be different for me this session because every year I’ve been in office, I’ve been desk mates with Governor-elect Haley. The next several years she’ll work downstairs in the State House while I’ll continue my work in the chamber, sitting next to Representative Chip Huggins this session. Once again, I’ll share the same suite where I’ve been since the beginning, only this year Todd Atwater (R-Lexington) will move into the office formerly held by Governor-elect Haley and we’re not yet sure who will move into the office held the past six years by Nelson Hardwick (R-Horry County) . Nelson was recently elected as Chairman of the House Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee. Since Chairmen have their own office suites, he’ll be moving out. When I know our newest office mate, I’ll pass along to you. The fourth member of our suite is George Hearn (R-Horry)

Last month, the morning after House members voted for Speaker , I learned I was re-assigned to the House Agriculture Committee. I was assigned there along with six new freshman members. Honestly, as a banker (only one in House) employed in the financial industry for 17 years, I’m not sure Agriculture is my strength; but like I’ve done my other six years in office, I’ll bloom where I’m planted (my Mom’s wording) and look forward to being Subcommittee Chairman for Regulations. I’ve been asked by several in the media about this assignment but so far I’ve held my tongue unlike last session.

To see what’s on the mind of elected officials, click here for the bills that have been pre-filed in the House and Senate.

Since I’ll be back in session next month, you can contact me by telephone at the State House at (803) 734-2969 or email (or simply click “contact” here at Nathan’s News). Reminder to constituents in House District 71 , please put the word CONSTITUENT in your email subject line and list your home address so that I can respond to your inquiries more quickly than the hundreds of others I’ll receive each week.

Session begins Tuesday, January 11th with the Inauguration being held at noon the following day.

*** YOUR MONEY ***

I was honored to be asked last month by Governor-elect Haley to serve on her Fiscal Crisis Task Force . The past few weeks I’ve spent time listening to constituents in our community, speaking with several leaders and residents across our state, and combing through budgets, graphs and data to get the best picture possible on where our state presently is financially and how best to get our state back on the right track.

The short answer is we’re looking at a “hole” approximately $800 million in size, just get us through the 2011-2012 budget. During my time on the task force, the picture has become more clear that we, as elected officials, are not only responsible for five to seven billion dollars in General Funds appropriations, we’re also responsible for an additional fifteen billion dollars in appropriations and authorizations (federal and other funds) to run our state government.

I’ll share more as we approach the budget process (written in the House by the Ways and Means Committee), but it’s apparent very difficult decisions will need to be made. Decisions that will take political courage. It’s oversimplifying the process when I share my “lifeboat analogy” but in very simplified terms, that’s the decision process we face. When you have teachers, disabled citizens , senior citizens and law enforcement (4 groups) vying for 2 spots on a lifeboat, two will get left out…and that will hurt. Hurt not just those groups but the elected officials tasked with making those dire decisions.

It won’t make matters better in the General Assembly if we let divisive tactics politicize the process. It’s my hope we can make these decisions together: Republicans and Democrats, House and Senate, Legislature and Executive Branch.


It’s not often a member of our community appears in USA Today, but earlier this month our own Russell Meyne (91, Pearl Harbor survivor) did just that! When you see Mr. Meyne around town, be sure to thank him for his service and let him know you saw the article!

Congratulations and Thanks are in order for three members of our community who I was able to reappoint to the Richland County Foster Care Review Board: Charlotte Foster, Duane Harvin and Gary Williams . All work tirelessly for the children of Richland County!

Tuesday night (December 14th), the Chapin Chamber of Commerce will have their Christmas Party at the Visitor’s Center. I hope to see you there!

Saturday, December 18th at 2:30 pm, I’ll join Representative Huggins and SCDOT in memorializing Mari-Caite Miller, a student who died last year after being struck by a driver on Archer’s Lane. You may have noticed recent sidewalk improvements on Columbiana Drive and hopefully more to follow.

Thursday, December 23rd is the annual Irmo News Christmas Party where you can find several of our local (and state) elected officials as well as several members of the Irmo business community. This will be the first year without Rod Shealy but I know he’d want the party to go on!

The Ballentine-Dutch Fork Civic Association continues to keep an eye on the potential of a 216 unit Marina Bay Apartment complex being developed in our community. The association meets regularly at Ballentine Park, check their site for details.

I enjoyed meeting with approximately 100 residents around the Koon Road area earlier this month and thank Eric Boyer for putting the meeting together. At this meeting, I brought members of Richland County Law Enforcement as well as SC Department of Transportation officials . Look for me to host more constituent service nights in the upcoming months. If you’re Homeowners Association would like me to come visit, please let me know as well.


Tomorrow (December 13th), I’ll attend a “farewell reception” at Nursery Road Elementary School for Superintendent Herb Berg. As you know, our district has seen our share of Superintendents recently and I personally appreciate what Dr. Berg has done trying to bring the education community together.

Congratulations to our new Board of Trustees elected last month! Joining our re-elected members (Ed White and Ellen Baumgardner) are new comers: Kim Murphy and Jim Turner. Together, they’ll work with Robert Gantt, Jan Hammond and Beth Hutchison-Watson to set the course for our children and teachers. I would like to thank former Board Members Roberta Ferrell and Carol Sloop for their service to our community! In January, I’ll join other local members of the House and Senate delegation and meet with the Board to help assure we provide as much flexibility as possible to meet their needs during the upcoming year.

I also would like to congratulate our area high school coaches and student athletes on their great gridiron seasons! Both Irmo and Dutch Fork made it to the state playoffs while Chapin was able to have a great season under their new coach as well! The future continues to be bright out here in District Five as each school has/is building solid programs!


Thanks again 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!

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

SC’s “Bad Boy” has a good heart

I often get asked by folks “Nathan, why is Rod Shealy your guy?” As if Rod is someone I shouldn’t associate with.

The question comes mainly from those that have been in campaign races against him. I get it. Sure, the guy can get dirty with the best of them but the guy is really a good guy at heart.

Years ago, I was fortunate to run across him and asked for his assistance. You can imagine when I ran against a 16-year incumbent who happened to the current House Majority Leader, NO ONE, and I mean NO ONE, would touch my race. Sure, several folks were rooting for us for various reasons but Rod Shealy was the only consultant who would help.

Those that know me know that I can be loyal to a fault. And with Rod, that may be the case. He’s stood beside me and I stand beside him.

Yes, he’s the “bad boy” of state politics but he was there for me when no one else would be. He was there…cutting yard-sign metal, in the heat of summer, with an electric saw…sparks flying. I have several memories of my first race but that is one that stands out. The guy cares and if he’s your guy, he’ll do everything he can for you.

Sure I was leery of “negative tactics” and, as I’ve said earlier, SC political consultants can make an Eagle Scout look like a crack-addict ; but Rod stayed in-the-lines. When he called me early one morning to tell me he had a mail-piece ready to go out (with about 14 points of “interest” about my opponent), I cut it back to four that kept things in-bounds. Rod stayed true to his word that I would have final say over the mail pieces. The next day, that mail-piece went out with my consent…with none of the usual political crap that races often throw out.

Is he perfect? No. Are any of us? No.

Has he done some things he might regret? Maybe. Haven’t we all?

I share all this to pass along a piece he wrote last week that you can read on his blog, Doing the First. In it, you can find the side of the guy that I know. That many others know as well, but not as many that should.

He’d probably shoot me for sharing this because it might “tarnish” his “bad-boy” image but I wanted everyone to see the other-side to arguably one of the sharpest minds in SC politics.

From his blog last week:

In my prayers, incidentally, I always address that exact point: I simply ask Jesus to use me as is His will. If that means going to Heaven sooner rather than later, then that’s what I’m ready for. After all, it’s not this life that really counts… it’s the next one. I believe. I am saved. And I am ready.

I know it’s tough to “love your enemy” but if you’re taking time to read this, I’d ask you to say a prayer for Rod …and others facing challenges we never hope to tackle.

I’ve never seen the guy in a bad mood and never seem him complain. Two years ago he shared what he’s going through on his blog. To read more, click here . To hear him in his own words and learn more about the guy behind the persona, watch the following videos: One and Two .

The Speaker visits Dutch Fork High School

For immediate release
Contact Rod Shealy, Jr
(803) 757-0875


South Carolina’s House Speaker paid a visit to a Midlands high school on Thursday.

Speaker Bobby Harrell traveled to Dutch Fork High to speak with teacher Kelly Payne’s civics class. The Speaker had been invited by students who phoned in during his recent appearance on Keven Cohen’s The Afternoon Drive radio show.

Harrell answered questions from students, discussed his goals for the current legislative session and detailed new House rules for recording votes.

“This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these students,” Payne said. “The fact that the Speaker took time away from his important duties to speak to the next generation of public servants was not lost on them.”

Prominent leaders have become a fixture in Payne’s civics lessons. Her class’s previous guests have included state Reps. Nikki Haley and Nathan Ballentine, Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom and Irmo Mayor John Gibbons .

“Having spoken to her class, I am always impressed with just how engaged these students are and how involved they are,” said Ballentine, whose district includes Dutch Fork High.

Ballentine commended Harrell for taking the time to meet with students in his district. “I appreciate the fact that the Speaker of the House of Representatives was willing to meet with the students in Kelly Payne’s class. This was a unique experience for the students, who got to talk with one of the state’s most influential players, as well as for the Speaker Harrell to impact a group I am sure will one day define the future of our community and our state.”

UPDATED: Prayers needed – Jerry Fowler

We’ve alll followed his story over the past year in The New Irmo News. We all know the numerous ways he gives back to the community.

Rather than write all about those things, I simply ask you to pray for Jerry and Judy – right now.

UPDATE (1:59 pm, Thursday) I received a call that Jerry passed away around 11:15 this morning.

From The State

Radio Realtor loses battle with cancer

Jerry Fowler of Chapin, a self-employed real estate broker who pioneered the use of radio in the Columbia area to educate the public about buying and selling property, died today, a spokesman for the Lexington-Richland 5 school system said.

Fowler, 61, conducted a public battle with lung cancer and kept a diary of the ups and downs of his treatment. Until being hospitalized recently, the weekly installments were published in an Irmo weekly newspaper and posted on his company’s web site.

“My thoughts are always positive and I know by my prayers and yours, faith and belief that I will be totally healed and better than new after this is over,” he wrote in his last posting in mid-April.

Fowler’s death creates a vacancy on the District 5 school board, the second time in less than a decade the panel has lost an incumbent to cancer. Former board chairman David Eckstrom died from complications of brain cancer in 2000.

A political newcomer, Fowler enlisted the help of political consultant Rod Shealy in 2004 to wage a winning campaign for an at-large seat representing Lexington County on the District 5 board. He cast a key vote in a controversial June 2005 decision ousting former superintendent Dennis McMahon.

Fowler said he voted to fire McMahon because a majority of the board had lost confidence in McMahon’s ability to lead a district where skepticism about how public money is spent on education continues to linger. Fellow board members elected Fowler in late 2007 to serve as vice chair. His term on the District 5 board was set to expire this November.

In early 2007, he was diagnosed with lung cancer and won the admiration of many for persevering with a busy schedule of 14-hour work days in spite of debilitating treatments. Fowler even posted a set of “before and after” photographs of himself with and without hair.

Fowler sold real estate in the Columbia area for nearly two decades and in 1998 coined the slogan “the Results Team” to describe his newly formed company and its employees.

He was a regular on WVOC radio, offering real estate and related advice weekdays. He also was the host of a talk show on Saturday mornings that focused almost exclusively on the subject.

After graduating from high school in 1964, he attended what is now the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, majoring in marketing and psychology.

In addition to his many credentials and memberships in local, state and national real estate organizations, Fowler was a founding member of a local Business Development Club.

The South Carolina chapter of the Leukemia Society of America named him its “man of the year and he served on the organization’s board of trustees.

He also was active in the Better Business Bureau for 15 S.C. counties and was its board chairman from 2005 until 2007. He also was a past member of the Lexington Toastmasters.

— Bill Robinson,

What your neighbors are saying….

I’ve mentioned before that we have one of the most involved citizenry in the state! You can’t read The State Newspaper each week without at least a few Letters to the Editor from the Irmo/Chapin area.

In today’s Neighbor’s section, we heard from various community members about the upcoming bond referendum:

On the upcoming referendum


JIM GORDON, Chapin, former school board (1981-1985) and father of two District 5 graduates:

“People ought to vote on the merit of the bond referendum and not be misled by (superintendent) Scott Andersen’s comments that property taxes are going down and therefore you ought to vote for it.”

Gordon predicted those with commercial and industrial properties will take on a disproportionately greater burden to foot annual operations costs that go with expansion of schools, adding that “car taxes are going to go through the roof.”

Should the state’s economy take a nose dive, Gordon said he worries that District 5 homeowners could be in for “sticker shock” if state government is forced to rescind the property tax relief it adopted a year ago.

“I think a lot of this district,” Gordon said, “but I’m against wasteful spending. I think there are some things (on the list) that we could do without.”


JERRY WHITLEY, retired District 5 educator, lives in the Dutch Fork attendance area:

“I’m not going to vote for it. Two years ago, we had a $131.4 million bond referendum and now we’re talking about $256 million. How did it get so big?” Whitley said.

“The way they went about handling this is wrong. More people should have been involved (in choosing the projects on the ballot).”

Whitley said he’s skeptical of the future enrollment projections and thinks the district would have been wiser targeting improvements in areas of the district where the population is more concentrated.

“The location (in the Spring Hill) area where they’re eyeing a new school isn’t the best,” he said. “Some of the (older) schools were built to add on to and they’ve never done that.”


ROD SHEALY, JR., a political consultant working with a “grassroots committee” that opposes the referendum, an Irmo resident for the past 13 years:

“The broad consensus is that a new elementary school isn’t needed,” Shealy said. “They’ve never offered a rationale for doubling the referendum.”

Shealy said the bond opponents he’s advising “want all the facts. We want a level playing field. It seems like (bond supporters) gloss over things — like enrollment.”

“I’m talking to a lot of people who would vote for the older schools projects,” Shealy said of renovations to existing structures. “Instead, they lumped it all in together and people are concerned about that. The bond referendum seems like everybody’s wish list.”


LORA LEE DOERRING, Irmo, member of District 5 First and parent with children at Irmo High:

“It’s time. We have needs that have not been addressed,” she said.

Doerring said she’s concerned by students navigating their way through crowded halls and taking classes in portable classrooms.

“That’s how children are supposed to excel in the classroom? I think not,” she said.

She said that parents in the district have to be advocates for the students and consider their safety and their right to a good education.

“We have got to move forward in this district. If we don’t do it now, then when? It’s not going to get cheaper.”


PHIL STAMECK, Irmo, member of District 5 First and parent of children at Dutch Fork High and Dutch Fork Middle:

“It’s long overdue. We need to plan for the future of this area,” he said.

Stameck said he supports the referendum because it includes both renovations to existing schools and the building of new schools.

“The new educational space is needed as well as providing for the growth in our district’s schools.”


KAREN OWENS, Chapin, member of District 5 First Committee and mother of children attending Lake Murray Elementary and Chapin Middle:

“It makes better sense to expand existing facilities and to build the proposed high school, middle school and elementary school,” she said.

Owens has lived in the district for about three years and said parents within the district — and those outside the area looking for homes — are aware of the district’s reputation of having some of the best schools in the area.

But as parents continue to move to the area because of the schools, she said, school officials have to accomodate the growth and maintain high educational standards.

Owens said the construction plan, which will roll out over the next 10 years, is neccessary.

“We feel like that’s a better investment than just simply adding all the portables to existing facilities.”

— Compiled by Devon Copeland and Bill Robinson

2019 COMMUNITY COOKOUT – coming soon!

I still remember the first time I hosted a Community Cookout in our area.

It was before the election in 2004 and I didn’t know what to expect as far as turnout. It was my first time running for office and I was running against a 16 year incumbent who was my party’s Majority Leader in the State House. Who was going to come? I assumed it’d be my family and maybe a handful of campaign volunteers and supporters – and that would be it.

Much to my surprise it was packed at the Rusty Anchor! I remember running out of food and I thought “everyone will be upset and mad now”. My consultant told me “Are you kidding me?? It’s a GREAT thing you ran out of food. You had far more people than we ever thought would be here!” Fast forward, I won the election weeks later and decided that going forward, I would always have an event like that for our area .

The cookout has grown and after that first year, I began inviting local and state elected officials to come so that you and your neighbors could mingle with them in a casual setting here on Lake Murray.

Every Governor since I’ve been elected has attended. Along with other statewide constitutional office holders, our national Senators/Representatives, local state Senators, Representatives, Mayors, County Council, School Board, Sheriff, Coroner and more!

We’ll have food, drinks, music and a great time on the shores of Lake Murray right here in Chapin!

Here’s a video of our last cookout (I host these every two years). The weather was bad, but everyone enjoyed it!

The invitation is above. It’s free to attend thanks to many sponsors, hosts and supporters! Please contact DREA BYARS at 804-413-5951 or to RSVP. All cookout sponsors, hosts and supporters will have a pre-reception before heading outside to join everyone else.

All contributions are appreciated! You an easily donate in 2 minutes by clicking here – or you can send a check to Ballentine for House, 108 Tapp Pointe, Chapin, SC 29036.

Please RSVP so we have a good headcount for food. As always, Jim LeBlanc will be playing his guitar for the crowd (he’s been playing at every cookout…I think 7 cookouts so far!)

Hope to see you there!


There’s a lot to share this month!

ACCEPTING PAGE APPLICATIONS IN NOVEMBER: If I represent your family in House District 71 and your son/daughter is a college-student in the Midlands that would like to serve as my page for 2010 session, please contact me this month. Page work in the House is for 12 hours each week ($7.25/hour) and includes being assigned to a specific committee or the House floor, running errands, filing, some computer work and some research.


Last week was one of the most enjoyable weeks in my short-tenure as your state representative and I hope it’s the beginning of a new era in Palmetto State politics . First and foremost, we worked together for the benefit of our state with no partisan bickering and no “us v. them” finger-pointing. We also stayed focused on what is important to the people who elected us: jobs, jobs, jobs. Here’s a brief summary with details on what we accomplished in two short days.

Soon, we’ll be able to pre-file bills for the session that begins January 12, 2010. If you have suggestions for legislation or have bills of interest to you, please contact me directly through Nathan’s News (Click “Connect”) so I can research, consider drafting legislation and also watch those bills closely on your behalf. The pre-file dates are November 17 and December 15. Please know that this is the second-year of a two-year session so it would be extraordinary for a bill filed this month to become law in just five short months. We’re also expecting more furlough weeks this session: February 9, March 29 and April 6 which will also make passage of newly filed bills very uncertain.

As you know, a year from now will be another General Election for the House of Representatives and all statewide constitutional offices. Several campaigns are already in full-swing and, like all political races in South Carolina, it’s probably just a matter of time before the mud starts slinging . I’m hopeful for a new day in Palmetto Politics; but while we may have appeared to work together last week, you can bet that all will change when the two parties (and political consultants for each candidate) start campaigning against each other. Unfortunately, many campaigns use the “stragegy” of attack, smear and slander, in hopes that voters will believe anything and not actually focus on the issues and ideas that can improve our state. I’m sure I’m like you when I write I would rather hear candidates talking about their ideas and qualifications and not attack (factually or otherwise) their opponent. Hey, we can all hope; can’t we?


One year ago this month, 58% of voters supported a $244 million bond-referendum for school renovations and additions. District Five is keeping everyone informed of the progress you’ll be seeing over the next few years. The scope of the each proposed project is subject to change and I have learned that bids are coming in much lower than originally expected. [Read more…]

Wanted – Community Columnists

From this week’s New Irmo News (and “Doing the First” blog):

September 11, 2008

“This newspaper is planning to bring back an old feature: community columnists – the locals who contribute a few paragraphs each week or so about goings-on in your neighborhoods or social circles.

We’re currently looking for the folks to fill those slots, and you might be one of them. If you’re interested in a new hobby – writing your own short column about the people you know – shoot me an email and I’ll pass it on. My personal email is”

While you’re at it (with permission from the New Irmo News, of course) I’ll probably be able to add those columns to this blog site. Maybe sort of a “Guest Blogger” type post. To go along with the “Meet Your Neighbor” posts I’ve had here, here, here, here, here, here, and here over the past few months.

I join the local paper in asking you to give it a shot. Columns from locals make for much better reading. I hope you’ll consider it and I look forward to reading the columns soon!