VOTERS GO to the polls today to select Republican and Democratic party nominees for congressional, legislative and county offices from a court-shrunken list of candidates. Here’s a recap of The State’s endorsements in the primaries:
• Senate District 18, Republican. Sen. Ronnie Cromer has been working for more oversight of state spending and understands that our schools aren’t nearly as bad as critics claim, but that they need support and reform. He recognizes how changing one part of the tax code can have unanticipated consequences on other parts; he’s not out to raise taxes or to cut taxes, but to fix them.
He understands that a legislator’s job is to write state law, not dictate local government decisions, and recognizes that a state senator is first and foremost a state senator, whose job is to look out for the needs of the entire state. Indeed, it’s difficult to understand how anyone who recognizes that the state needs to stop frittering away money on local projects — the main thing that legislators do for their districts — would be fixated on the home address of their legislator. On the whole he has shown himself to be, as he puts it, “a commonsense conservative with an open mind” — which we need a lot more of.
• House District 77, Democrat. As candidates in both parties lurch to the extremes, Rep. Joe McEachern retains his role as a pragmatist first. If there’s one thing that defines him, it’s a lack of definition. He won’t be pigeonholed, not as a “Democratic representative” or a “black representative.”
Mr. McEachern advocates comprehensive tax reform, recognizes the vital role the public schools play in improving our state, and the corrosive effect of paying people to abandon the public schools, advocates difficult budgetary choices, is passionate about getting the Legislature out of local decision-making and wants to make many autonomous state agencies directly answerable to the governor, so they can be more closely watched and held accountable for their performance.
• Lexington County Council District 6, Republican. Councilman Johnny Jeffcoat is a solid council member who has served the county well. He clearly understands the needs of the county’s residents as well as government’s role in meeting those needs. He supports regional cooperation, looks out for broader county interests and not simply those of his district, and seeks a balance between being conservative in taxing and spending with the need to provide services that meet the demands of a fast-growing county.
• Richland County Council District 7, Democrat. Challenger Torrey Rush offers voters a break from incumbent Gwendolyn Davis Kennedy’s politics of horse-trading in support of unnecessary, parochial projects. Mr. Rush, who served on the county’s Zoning Board of Appeals for seven years, says positive relationships with other elected officials are key to improving regional cooperation and the Midlands, wants a proposed sales tax to focus on the bus system and pledges to be more accountable — something the council needs a heavy dose of.