Rep. Kirkman Finlay is being challenged in the Nov. 8 election by Tyler Gregg for the House District 75 seat in Richland County. The State’s editorial board sent questionnaires to both candidates. Mr. Gregg’s responses are below.
Year of birth: 1984
Political party: Democratic
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Please limit your response to each of the following questions to about 100 words.
1. What makes you the most qualified person to hold this position? (Be specific.)
I am qualified for this position because I will honestly do my best to represent the people of District 75 and put their interest in front of my own. As an active member of the community and a small business owner, I believe that I can relate to the people of my district. I was taught growing up that hard work is the only way to get anything done. I still believe that virtue to be true and I will work tirelessly for the people of District 75 to fix issues in our community. As an attorney, I understand the ways the laws work and how to properly implement them to best suit our community. I believe it is time to move South Carolina forward and I running to do exactly that.
2. What will be your top three priorities if you are elected? (100 words for each issue)
1. Fixing our roads & Infrastructure:
South Carolina road repairs are massively underfunded. In order to truly fix our State’s infrastructure, we have to pay for it. That’s why I favor a small increase in the gas tax to tackle the massive price tag that comes with fixing our dilapidated roads and bridges. I would also require that all funds created through this tax be applied solely to the repair of roads and not to the expansion of our roads. I am fiscally conservative. Part of being fiscally conservative is demanding elected officials refrain from using “easy money” and burdening future generations with debt service on bonds.
2. Fixing our education system:
Politicians at the state house have once again underfunded S.C. public schools this year by $500 million dollars. SC teachers make some of the lowest salaries in the country. Some have even had to start GoFundMe accounts just to raise money to buy school supplies for their classrooms. This has to stop. As your legislator, I’ll be a constant advocate for our schools and teachers so they have the resources and support they need to effectively educate our children. The legislature needs to pass legislation addressing the Abbeville lawsuit and come up with a more equitable funding formula for rural schools. I believe we should raise teacher salaries to the national average. I support significantly decreasing the amount of standardized testing in schools. I will not support sending money from our public schools to private academies.
3. Government Reform:
I am a strong supporter of term limits for the entire General Assembly. If elected, I will call on my colleagues to pass comprehensive legislation to limit the proliferation of the career politician. America was founded on the principle of the citizen legislator – it is time we get back to that notion.
South Carolina needs real ethics reform. Fraud and corruption are ubiquitous throughout the General Assembly. If elected, I promise to promote, support and adhere to all legislation aimed at cleaning up our politics.
Under our current system, politicians in power have the ability to draw their own district lines. This practice has to stop. Gerrymandering promotes an environment in which politicians ideologically shift to the extreme of their party’s platform as a result of their electorate being more monolithic
3a. For non-incumbents: How would your approach to your job differ from the incumbent’s?
I will put the interests of the state and community before my own interests. I’m tired of politicians only concerning themselves with their next election and not the next generation. Unlike other legislators, I will not flip flop on issues just because it’s an election year. I will always keep my door open to citizens so that I can listen to their needs and concerns. Access and transparency will always be in high supply.
4. Describe at least one significant political position you hold that demonstrates your willingness to work across party lines even if that’s at odds with your political base.
All though I am a democratic candidate I consider myself to be a moderate who believes in small but efficient government, low taxes, and fiscal discipline. I am a firm believer in voting for what’s right, even if your party doesn’t agree with it.
5. Have you ever been convicted of a crime, been disciplined by a professional licensing board or organization or had an ethics complaint filed against you? If so, please give the details.
I have never been convicted of a crime, been disciplined by a professional licensing board or organization, or had an ethics complaint filed against me.
6. Have you ever filed for bankruptcy or been delinquent on your federal, state or local taxes? If so, please give the details.
I have never filed for bankruptcy or been delinquent on my federal, state or local taxes.
7. Are there any personal details about you that voters would be interested in knowing?
My wife Laura and I attended School here in Columbia, SC at the University of South Carolina. I am a huge Carolina Baseball Fan. We also have two English bulldogs, Barnaby and Roosevelt.
Number of years living in the district you seek to represent: 4
Family (name of spouse, number, and ages of children if at home, number of grown children): Spouse: Laura Gregg
Education: Charleston School of Law, J.D. University of South Carolina, B.S.
Current occupation/employer: Bell Carrington & Price, LLC
Employment, military and volunteer history: Volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Please list all public offices to which you’ve been elected, when and where: N/A
Please list year and office of any unsuccessful runs for public office: N/A
Other political and government experience: Board of Zoning Appeals
Key endorsements you’ve received: Planned Parenthood and SC Equality