The Buzz

This SC GOP lawmaker isn’t running for re-election. Here’s why

Tommy Stringer
Tommy Stringer

South Carolina Rep. Tommy Stringer has decided he will not seek a sixth term in the S.C. House of Representatives.

The Greenville Republican and pension accountant announced his decision on Thanksgiving in a post titled, “A Season of Reflection, Thanksgiving and New Beginnings.”

A Bob Jones University graduate, Stringer was elected to the S.C. House in 2008 after running as a conservative reform-minded Republican, he said. “I believed that our state government cost too much, delivered too little and was not accountable to the taxpayer.”

Stringer told The State he never intended to make legislating a career. He originally thought he would only be in Columbia for eight years, but decided to stay longer when the Legislature started discussing pension reform.

The 51-year-old lawmaker said beyond work it “just seemed like the right time to let a fresher mind tackle those problems.”

In his post, Stringer also wrote the country has since changed when he was elected.

“We live in a different America now as compared to 2008: an America that has closed its mind to hard truths learned through decades and centuries of even harder experiences; a childlike America enamored by a glittery virtual reality but who has forgotten the faces of its ancestors,” he wrote. “Our community has a bright future but only if we stay grounded in the values that made us who we are today.”

Stringer said he has been particularly concerned with free speech issues that have appeared on various college campuses across the country.

Stringer — who serves on the House’s Education and Public Works and Legislative Oversight committees — noted on his website his reform efforts that became reality, including the creation of a state inspector general to investigate fraud.

“More importantly, I sponsored legislation and voted to expand protections for unborn children, pushed back against encroachments on our freedom of speech, freedom to worship and freedom to bear arms,” he said.

Stringer said more often he wrote about the issues closest to him — “a habit that I will continue with greater enthusiasm once I am out of office,” he said.

“I came down (to Columbia) to address a specific set of issues — some we got, some we didn’t,” he told The State. “There’s nothing wrong with letting someone else have a try.”

Maayan Schechter: 803-771-8657, @MaayanSchechter