Who’s running for School Board Special Election?

Earlier, I shared information on important dates for that upcoming election as well as voting locations . Stay tuned, there may be a change in some of the locations and as soon as that gets finalized, I will let you know.

To see who has officially filed to run, click here.

There are Town of Chapin and Town of Irmo elections later this year (November 2, 2021) and filing for those offices will open on later this month (August 23)

Everyone knows that I do not endorse locally and stay out of local races. Why? Because local candidates have plenty of opportunity to get their message out, meet with voters, and be seen around town.

I hope you’ll continue to stay informed of what’s happening at the State House and around our community by visiting Nathan’s News often during the month. If you do not receive my regular COMMUNITY UPDATE email, please let me know by emailing me at NathanBallentine@schouse.gov and I can add you to the distribution. I’ve been sending regular updates to our community for more than 15 years. That email usually goes out the first week of each month.

16th Annual Irmo Community Prayer Breakfast


Hope to see you there! RSVP today and let Desiree know if you’d like to sponsor a table!

First time at East Lake Community Church!

For information past Prayer Breakfasts, please click here .

2020 Gateway Baptist – speaker Rob Settle, Executive Director The Providence Home
2019 St Andrews Presbyterian – speaker Brittany Maier & Tammy Maier-Scher
2018 Riverland Hills Baptist – speaker Jose Alvarez, retired Atlanta Braves Pitcher, FCA
2017 River Springs Church – speaker Dr. Wendell Estep, retired First Baptist Church of Columbia
2016 Union United Methodist Church – speaker Marcus Lattimore
2015 St. Paul AME Church – speaker in memory of Senator Clementa Pinckney
2014 Gateway Baptist Church – speaker Chris Joye
2013 St. Andrews Presbyterian – speaker Shelley Bryson King, Miss South Carolina 2006
2012 Riverland Hills Baptist – Jim “Soni” Sonefeld – member Hootie and the Blowfish
2011 Seven Oaks Presbyterian – Steve Arnold, operator Chick-fil-A Ballentine
2010 First Baptist of Irmo -speaker Adrian Despres, chaplain USC football team
2009 St. Mary’s Episcopal – speaker Eddie Walker, then principal of Irmo High School
2008 Gateway Baptist – speaker Jeff Davis, former Clemson football player
2007 St. Andrews Presbyterian – speaker A.V Strong, director A Better Way, Project Gang Out
2006 Riverland Hills Baptist – speaker Bob McAlister, McAlister Communications

Open Carry Law – what you need to know August 15th

For background information, click here .

School Board Election Update – where do I vote?

Earlier this month I shared important date information regarding the upcoming special election to fill a void on our School Board.

That information is now also up on the Richland County Election website along with voting precinct locations.

See photo above and be sure you know where to show up on election day. If you aren’t sure what your precinct name is, please check your voter registration by clicking here and then BE SURE YOU CHECK PHOTO/WEBSITE LINK SO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU WILL VOTE ON ELECTION DAY. IT MAY BE DIFFERENT FROM WHERE THAT PRECINCT NORMALLY VOTES.

Redistricting – what does it mean to you?

For an thorough summary, you can click here to see what Ballotpedia says about it.

In simpler terms, I’d say it means that you may have a different Representative or Senator here in South Carolina. Or maybe a different US House member. It’s a long process that has to go through the courts once we finally approve a plan for the State. The plan must be approved (like all laws) by House, Senate, Governor.

Ten years ago, I was around when we did this the last time. I ended up “losing” some of my constituents over on Lost Creek and the Harbison area. I still stay in touch with many; but they have been represented by Rep Chris Hart since that time. When I say “lose” it means they no longer see my name on their ballots when they go to vote.

This time around, I may “lose” some more constituents because House District 71 has grown a lot in the past 10 years. Once the data comes in, other districts may have seen numbers shrink. The goal is to have each Representative serve the same amount of people across the state (as close as possible). Same with the Senate.

Currently (rough estimate), a House member represents around 35,000 individuals in SC and a Senator Represents 100,000. The math is: Take total population and divide by 124 for House. Take total population and divide by 46 for Senate.

To this day, many people don’t know who their elected officials are. If you are one of those, you can find out very quickly by going to the State House Website . Look down at the bottom of the screen (if on laptop) and type in address under FIND LEGISLATORS. (*If you are using mobile device, just go click on Find Your Legislators and input your address.)

Many folks out here also don’t know if Chip or I are their representative. Which is perfectly fine. We are deskmates and work well together and usually help whoever comes our way, regardless which district they live in. Rep Huggins represents House District 85 and we literally have streets where I represent one side and he represents the other.

You can see on the memo from House Judiciary Chairman, Chris Murphy, the House AdHoc Committee will convene soon. The Senate started their meetings earlier this month.

As we move through the process, I will keep you posted. If you have any questions, you can certainly reach out to me and I will get answers for you.

Golf Carts on our roads – did you know?

I’ve had several people ask, so here is a summary & links to more info.

“Before you or someone you know takes a golf cart for a drive, be sure to follow the checklist below:

✔️The golf cart must be insured, permitted, and registered with SCDMV using the following link, http://scdmvonline.com/Vehicle-Owners/Types-Of-Vehicles/Golf-Cart.
✔️The golf cart must remain within 4 miles of your home, where it is legal to drive.
✔️The golf cart may be operated on roads with posted speeds of less than 35 mph only.
✔️The golf cart may be operated during daylight hours only.
✔️The driver must be at least 16 years old with a valid driver’s license.”

Here is the SC law. I suggest checking with local governments for their ordinances as well.

BE SAFE OUT THERE!

SPECIAL ELECTION: Lexington/Richland School District Five

Everyone knows that I do not endorse locally and stay out of local races. Why? Because local candidates have plenty of opportunity to get their message out, meet with voters, and be seen around town.

I have endorsed statewide and nationally before ( Romney for President , my friend Nikki Haley for Governor , and Rubio for President ) but will always let our community form their own opinions on the men and women right here that should be out hustling for support and spreading the message of why they should earn our vote.

Tonight I did want to be sure that everyone knew important dates relating to the recent vacancy on our School Board.

1) Filing opens – Noon: Friday, July 30, 2021

2) Filing closes – Noon: Monday, August 9, 2021

3) Election Date – Tuesday, October 12, 2021

This is a RICHLAND COUNTY seat up for election so only those in Richland can vote. To check your voter registration, please click here.

Once I hear from the Richland County Elections Office on their staffing and precinct openings, I will certainly pass that information along. It would not surprise me to see precincts voting together at certain locations due to the nature of a special election.

Behind the Scenes: State House Office

This week I stopped in my State House Office and realized I haven’t had many visitors due to Covid in the last year or so. Not much of a tour, but wanted you to share for any curious. We aren’t back in session until January, so looks like I won’t see anyone here until then – but, as always, call me (803-734-2969) or email me anytime at NathanBallentine@schouse.gov

I’ve shared a few behind the scenes before; but never here at the office. It hasn’t changed much (if any) over the years.

If you ever want to stop in, please call ahead of time. I’d hate for you to just show up and I not be there. Honestly, I’m rarely in that office. Between my paying job and family, I spend more time at my home office than my State House Office. I usually stop in before or after committee meetings; but that’s about it. Most the time I pull into the garage 15 minutes before session starts inside the Chamber and then head out right afterwards.

I used to stick around years ago for receptions and things like that; but living nearby – I prefer to be at home instead. If you work for any of the groups hosting a reception, always call me and I can meet you there – otherwise I pass.

Want you to also know that State House tours are open again. If your family/friends, church group, civic group would like to take a tour, please call my office (803-734-2969) and we can help arrange that as well. These tours are FREE.

Hopefully next year, we can have visitors again inside the chambers. I know many of our local state championship teams have missed not being able to come downtown for their special moment of recognition. Over the years, Rep Huggins and I have hosted many champions from Chapin, Dutch Fork and Irmo. #PrideIn5

Please call me (or June!) anytime 803-734-2969 OR you can email me at NathanBallentine@schouse.gov – but PLEASE put the word CONSTITUENT in the subject line. Those emails stand out over the thousands of others across the state we receive regularly.

Thanks again for the honor to serve you in Columbia!

News from last night’s School Board Meeting

I was shocke to hear the news from last night’s meeting. Dr. Melton’s departure means our district will have our 7th Superintendent in the past 16 years.

From The State

Just weeks after she was named South Carolina superintendent of the year , Christina Melton has resigned as superintendent of Lexington-Richland 5.

An emotional Melton made the announcement at the end of Monday’s school board meeting, after board members met in an executive session and one member resigned mid-meeting.

Melton said her last day as superintendent will be June 30.

“This is a bittersweet message,” said Melton who called Lexington-Richland 5 her home and the staff and faculty there her family. “It truly is a privilege to lead District 5. … We’ve been tested, but we are resilient and student-centered.”

Vice chairman Ken Loveless, presiding over the meeting, accepted Melton’s resignation and said the board will hold a special meeting in the future to replace her by July 1. He said the district wishes Melton well.
Melton had been with Lexington-Richland 5 for more than a decade, starting as an elementary school principal. She won principal of the year in 2012 and district-level administrator of the year in 2016 from the S.C. Association of School Administrators. Just last month she was named S.C. superintendent of the year.

School board member Ed White announced during the meeting that he was resigning from the school board because of his disagreements with the school district’s handling of Melton’s resignation. White then got up and left the room.

After the meeting, Melton quickly left the room with other staff members for an adjoining room where crying could be heard.

CRITICIZED FOR COVID RESPONSE

Despite her accomplishments, Melton was criticized by some parents for her cautious response to the COVID-19 pandemic. School board members were criticized for deferring to Melton on when and how students could return to in-person classes at the beginning of the 2020-21 school year.

After the school board elections in November shook up the board majority, Lexington-Richland 5 starting moving more quickly to return to normal operations. When the board decided to move forward with a reopening timetable against Melton’s advice, it led to student protests and a walk-out of teachers at three district high schools that caused the schools to close.

For more from The State, click here.

For Dr. Melton’s statement, click here .

Meet your Dutch Fork Silver Foxes (Football): July 31st

SAVE THE DATE: Meet your Dutch Fork Silver Foxes on July 31st. More details to come! #Shoot4Six