Democratic state Sen. Thomas McElveen followed GOP Gov. Nikki Haley’s State of the State address Wednesday by asking his legislative colleagues to set aside partisan politics to solve the state’s long-standing problems.
“The people that I talk to – everyday people of different backgrounds and different stations in life – are tired of watching the same old cans being kicked down the road due to partisan bickering and political grandstanding,” the Sumter attorney said in the Democratic response to Haley’s address. “People become frustrated and lose faith in government when their priorities are ignored by those who control government.”
McElveen urged lawmakers and soon-to-be Gov. Henry McMaster to find money to repair the state’s crumbling roads. He also called for better educational opportunities for students in poor schools, expanded access to health care in rural areas and a fix to the state’s unfunded pension debt.
“You don’t have to be a genius to figure out that the longer a problem goes ignored, the more difficult and expensive it becomes to fix,” McElveen said.
Those fixes require Democrats and Republicans to cooperate, something that has been lacking in recent years, McElveen said.
“We have achieved our greatest successes when we have worked together,” McElveen said. “That’s what our fellow South Carolinians want, and it’s what they deserve from us.”
Reaction to Gov. Haley’s final State of the State
‘A nice, touching thank you’
“It was a farewell, but it was also a nice, touching thank you from a small town Southern girl for giving her the opportunity to be vocal and ... to have an impact. .. The thing ... she’s going to be remembered for is jobs — job announcements in every county in the state — especially considering where we were when she became governor.”
– Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey, R-Edgefield
‘Her leadership through the tragedies ... was great’
“As far as the strides we made, we really don’t have a lot to write home about as far as rural South Carolina and educating children in rural South Carolina. We’ve still got a long way to go. ... As far as the governor’s image as healer-in-chief, I think she has been wonderful. Her leadership through the tragedies ... was great for the state.”
– State Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg
‘Looking forward to working with Gov. McMaster’
“We’re going to miss her. She’ll do us proud in the U.N. Looking forward to working with Gov. McMaster.”
– State Sen. Kevin Bryant, R-Anderson
‘Republicans have failed’
“As we await Henry McMaster’s Trump-orchestrated takeover of the Governor’s Mansion, tonight’s speeches made abundantly clear that Republicans have failed. ... As South Carolina begins its 15th consecutive year of Republican government, too many of our roads are crumbling, too many of our schools are failing, too many of our people still need health care, too many of our state government agencies and employees lack the resources they need to serve us effectively, and too many of our Republican politicians are corrupt.”
– S.C. Democratic Party chair Jaime Harrison