Sheheen commentary: Now is time for leadership

Special to The StateAugust 27, 2013 

SC Governor Debate

Democratic candidate for governor Vincent Sheheen

MARY ANN CHASTAIN — AP

As a kid, I used to spend days with my grandfather, working to fix things around his house. He once used a washing machine motor to fix a lawnmower. It wasn’t pretty, but it worked just fine. No matter what was broken, he could fix it because he thought outside the box, put ego aside and just got it done. That’s the lesson I learned at a young age, and that’s the kind of leadership South Carolina needs to get our state back on track.

Under the Haley administration, S.C. families and small businesses are struggling more than in other states around the nation. Our state has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country and the highest industrial property tax rate in the nation. And, since Gov. Nikki Haley took office, we have been named one of the hardest places in our country to earn a living and achieve the American Dream.

But what’s worse, Haley has created a culture of secrecy and pattern of incompetence in her administration, with no accountability or common sense in government. Millions of citizens and businesses had their most personal information stolen due to the incompetence in Gov. Haley’s Department of Revenue. Then, the governor waited two weeks to inform the public, said nothing could have been done to avert the debacle and still refuses to release the full report of what occurred. And, recently, in Greenwood, Haley’s Department of Health allowed children to attend school for two months without their parents being warned that a tuberculosis outbreak was occurring in their classrooms.

We can do so much better. We can put South Carolina back on the path to honesty, integrity and prosperity, and move forward together. But we need new leadership.

I am proud to have pushed to address the real challenges our state faces. I have worked across the aisle to offer increased 4-year-old kindergarten opportunities, reform government to reduce waste and bureaucracy, support small business growth for local companies and create a taxpayer protection fund to help those (who) lost money as a result of the hacking scandal.

Together, we could create stronger schools for all of our children and form the next generation of highly skilled workers. Together, we will build an economy from within and support South Carolina’s own small businesses as much as those we recruit from out of state. Together, we will have a fiscally responsible approach to government that abolishes useless offices, leaves politics on the sideline and protects precious tax dollars. Most importantly, we will return common sense and integrity to South Carolina’s leadership.

Throughout its history, South Carolina has defied the odds and risen to the challenge time and again. Former governors like Dick Riley, Carroll Campbell and Fritz Hollings led us forward in the past, and together we can be successful again. That’s why I’m running for governor, and I ask for your support in 2014.

State Sen. Sheheen, D-Kershaw, ran against Haley in 2010 and is expected to oppose her again in 2014. Gov. Haley will have the opportunity to write a response when Sheheen announces his candidacy.

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