BRIEFS: Party leadership; shorter session’s impact

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State parties get new leaders in 2017

Staff reports  |  Both major parties in the state will have new leaders for the 2018 elections.


Last weekend, Democrats picked campaign consultant Trav Robertson to serve as new chairman, replacing two-term chair Jaime Harrison of Orangeburg.  He bested two other candidates and won on the first ballot.   He also got something else:  A May 3 cartoon in the Greenville News that congratulated him for being the new chairman, which cartoonist Roger Harvell joked was good news – and bad news.  See the cartoon here.


On May 13, we’re told three candidates are vying to be the next chair to replace two-term chair Matt Moore.  The favorite appears to be Columbia political strategist Drew McKissick, who reportedly will face Mark Powell of Anderson and Rich Bolen of Lexington.   The convention will be in Columbia at the city’s convention center downtown.

Wonder if Harvell will do a similar cartoon for the new GOP chair?


Short session, longer accomplishments

Most years, the legislature can be counted on for one major piece of legislation every session in addition to producing a constitutionally-required balanced state budget. This year despite a session shortened for the first time by three weeks, the legislature should be able to point proudly to two skins on the wall: pension reform and a roads bill.

“The pension system was in crisis mode, as was the situation with our roads,” said S.C. House Majority Leader Gary Simrill, R-Rock Hill.

Pension reform occurred earlier in the session, and could mean that South Carolina won’t have to experience meltdowns taking place in multiple states across the nation. And with work almost complete on the roads bill, residents, tourists and truckers passing through may soon  begin to notice a more highway-friendly South Carolina.

But, more importantly, take notice of the way the legislature dedicated recurring funds for both problems. That’s a tougher sell, politically, and it means the politicians took a more head-on approach to dealing with crises.  And that’s a welcome change.


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