Andy Patrick is about to finish his fourth and final year as a member of the S.C. House, so of course his colleagues have decided to honor his long and faithful service in the way S.C. legislators deem meet and right: in asphalt.
As the resolution the House passed on Tuesday explained, “he has faithfully served the citizens of District 123 in the House of Representatives since 2011” and “he has provided genuine concern and thoughtful deliberation to his colleagues in the House of Representatives,” which means that “it would be fitting and proper to name an intersection on Hilton Head Island in his honor as a lasting tribute to his faithful service to his community, state, and country.” Specifically, the House requests that the Transportation Department name the interchange located at the intersection of the Cross Island Parkway and Spanish Wells Road on Hilton Head Island “Representative Andy Patrick Interchange.”
There is, unfortunately, nothing unusual about that sort of self-aggrandizing action on the taxpayer dime.
There, is, however, something a little unusual about Mr. Patrick. Like the fact that he was supposed to be the guy to beat in this year’s Republican campaign for superintendent of education, but he dropped out of the race, and announced his “retirement” from the House, just two days after entering it, after The (Hilton Head) Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette published a story in January that exposed deep financial troubles, including claims that he had burned some financially. Court documents showed a legislator who spent more than he made, whose children receive support from government programs including food stamps, and who has been living outside of his district.
Mr. Patrick said we should consider the fact that he’s going through a difficult divorce, and that all the nasty stuff was taken out of context, and that might be true. He might very well be not as bad as the records indicate. Let’s give him that.
But that leaves this question: What is it about his four-year service as a back-bencher in the House that is outstanding enough to overcome all of the smoke and make him worthy of having public property named for him? Because, that is an honor that the overwhelmingly majority of South Carolinians never will receive. Why, there might even be a handful of former legislators who don’t have anything named for them.
Yes, yes, of course: He’s worthy because of the fact that he has “faithfully served the citizens of District 123 in the House of Representatives since 2011” and “provided genuine concern and thoughtful deliberation to his colleagues in the House of Representatives.”
Well, that and the fact that our legislators live the Golden Rule, at least when it comes to perks and protections of the office: They do unto others as they hope those others will do unto them.
Oh, one more thing: Reps. Bill Herbkersman, Weston Newton and Ken Hodges introduced the intersection-naming resolution on May 7. That was the day after a process server came to the House chamber to serve Mr. Patrick with legal papers requiring him to appear in court next month to explain why he has not paid all the money a judge ordered him to pay the attorney who represents his estranged wife.
The Senate still has to approve the resolution before the intersection is renamed. Surely someone there will notice just how inappropriate this is. Right?