Governor Supports Ethics Reform, Lawmakers Reporting Income Sources, More Spending on Reading, Technology, Teacher Training, School to Work, Charter Schools
Greenville County Women’s Club President Linda Slaton and her board launched their 2014 speakers program with South Carolina’s first Republican Woman Chief Executive, Governor Nikki Haley. Upstate Republican Women joined in sponsoring the event that filled the Poinsett Club to capacity.
It was Governor Haley’s first major address of the New Year in the Upstate – a year in which she is seeking election to a second term as Governor of the Palmetto State. She has an announced Democrat opponent and noted that this is the first gubernatorial election rematch in South Carolina History.
The Governor proudly reviewed her first term accomplishments and laid out her goals for the future. She also responded to questions submitted by members of the audience.
Opening with her traditional slogan: “It’s a great day in South Carolina,” The Governor continued: “Three years ago, I asked you to take a chance on me. Ever since that day, I have felt extremely committed to make you proud,” Governor Haley told the supportive crowd.
She said the message she got was that South Carolinians wanted her to make her priority “jobs, jobs, jobs.”
One of her first tasks was to pass tort reform to “make us more competitive.” Then state employees were instructed to answer the phone with: “It’s a great day in South Carolina, How may I help you?”
She emphasized recruiting new businesses for all parts of the state, she said.
“We can celebrate now because we have added almost 43,000 jobs in 45 of 46 counties in South Carolina. These are fantastic jobs,” she emphasized. South Carolina is now the fastest growing state in the Southeast.
Governor Haley boasted that South Carolina is the first state to manufacture flat screen TVs in the United States. The factory is in Fairfield County and employs 500 people.
She described how each county in the state was asked to develop workforce training and become “Nationally Work Credit Certified”. Four requirements were necessary to achieve National Certification:
1. A certain number of national certifications.
2. Pass certain percentage of job skills.
3. Have set graduation rates and approve them.
4. Have a certain number of private/public partnerships.
Governor Haley said they made changes to the state retirement system that reduced pension liability by $2 million dollars.
In recent months 20,000 people have been removed from welfare rolls by asking them what their skills are.
“South Carolina is on fire, but we have more to do,” she said, as she outlined goals for the future.
She proposes eliminating the 6 percent tax bracket this year, and said it is “long past time” we had ethics reform is South Carolina. She said there is something wrong with Senators and House members overseeing themselves. She called for an independent ethics committee to oversee lawmakers.
Governor Haley has adopted the call for members of the legislature to report their sources of income. You need to know where legislators are getting their money if you want to understand what is going on in Columbia, the Governor suggested. If any lawmaker hesitates to provide income sources, we need to reconsider “whether they should be reelected.”
Governor Haley said that she got some of her ideas for improving education from the International Auto Show in Germany and from former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Her plan calls for much more money for schools.
She proposed adding a teaching coach to each elementary school. Increasing funding for adult education because there are 800,000 adults in the state without a GED. More money for poor schools to bring technology to same level as wealthy schools. She proposes more funding to teach teachers how to use technology before they teach students how to use it. She would provide much more money for Charter Schools because 62 percent of charter school students are in poverty and a 27 percent increase in enrollment is expected this year. There will also be loans for charter school facilities in her proposal.