Local voice: ‘(Romney) has been a businessman’

gnsmith@thestate.comNovember 4, 2012 

Joe Dugan of the Columbia Tea Party.

JEFF BLAKE — jblake@thestate.com Buy Photo

— The 2008 election of President Barack Obama was a turning point in Joe Dugan’s life.

“I was watching the news and pulling out my hair and getting depressed about what was happening to my country,” said Dugan, a retired efficiency expert. “I said, ‘You can’t live like this. You’ve got to get involved and work to change it.’ ”

Before long, Dugan was a full-time volunteer, working with the emerging Myrtle Beach Tea Party and S.C. Tea Party Coalition, telling voters about problems he sees in government and working to elect candidates who he thinks stick to the principles of the U.S. Constitution.

This election cycle, that list of candidates includes Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who Dugan thinks will turn around the country’s struggling economy by reducing the national deficit, cutting federal spending and repealing federal health-care reform.

Romney was not Dugan’s first pick for president. But the GOP nominee now is the only real opportunity to beat Obama.

“He has been a businessman. He knows what it means to meet a payroll, to be able to invest in things that will improve your operation and make your business and our economy grow. He believes in free markets,” said Dugan, 67. “It’s very clear that our current administration does not.”

Dugan fears for the country’s future if Romney does not win.

“We are in such tremendous trouble,” he said. “Our country is in a barrel like it has never been, not even going back to the Revolution.”

What kind of trouble?

Debt trouble: “The only way (the national debt) will be repaid is we’ll go totally bankrupt or we’ll have hyper-inflation.”

Jobs trouble: “Everybody talks about jobs, but nobody talks about what’s stopping us from getting jobs. We need to look at the root cause, not the symptoms. ... (W)e have sent so much manufacturing overseas. The fact that we have put so much regulation in place makes it absolutely impossible for businesses to grow. And Obamacare has frozen employers who are terrified to hire. They are talking about having to lay off employees.”

Reach Smith at (803) 771-8658.

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