NEWS BRIEFS: Dems to convene on issues, Riley Institute to honor two

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Schiff, Landrieu to join S.C. Dems at issues conference

Staff reports  |  State Democrats say there’s nothing more importantthey can do right now to prepare for the 2018 elections than have deep discussions about issues.

On Friday and Saturday, more than 200 Democrats are expected to do just that at the Spratt Issues Conference in Columbia.

“We are going to talk about the issues affecting our state and not shy away from the difficult issues,” party chairman Trav Robertson told Statehouse Report.

Kicking off the event will be a Friday keynote dinner featuring U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, the California Democrat who has been leading the charge on the congressional investigation of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election.  The ticketed 7 p.m. event will be at the Coop, 1100 Key Road,  Columbia.

And then on Saturday comes several issues sessions plus a talk by outgoing New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who will discuss the organizing success he’s had in the Crescent City.

Among the issues Democrats will discuss are:

  • Creating an economy that works for everyone
  • Gerrymandering and how to fix it
  • The right to a healthy lifee
  • The politics of religion – faith without values
  • Every Student Succeeds Act and community schools
  • What’s the truth about the V.C. Summer nuclear plant
  • Confederate monuments: Preserving history or empowering hate?
  • Guns in our society

Attendees will also be able to participate in candidate training.

“Democrats have to win elections up and down the ballot in 2018,” said a party email inviting activists to the forum.  “In the age of Trump, we have too much on the line to let any election slip past us. The South Carolina Democratic Party is going to compete in Council elections, House races, Congressional races, and the statewide races that dominate the headlines.

“Democrats are right on the issues. But, to win, we have to bring those issues home. We have to make that relatable to the people of South Carolina.”

Riley Institute to honor Newton, Bolden

Furman University’s Riley Institute will honor S.C. Rep. Wes Newton, R-Beaufort, and former NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden for legislative and civic achievements during the Jan. 9 David H. Wilkins Legislative and Civic Awards Dinner in Columbia.

“At a time when civility in public discourse and cooperative bipartisanship are critical to making progress, South Carolina’s citizens look to their leaders to put aside differences and work together for the good of our state,” said Don Gordon, executive director of the Riley Institute. “Weston and Charles exemplify the kind of leadership that moves our state forward.”

Newton, elected to the S.C. House of Representatives in 2013,is known for working across the aisle on legislation that improves the lives of South Carolinians. He is the chairman of the Legislative Oversight Committee and also serves on the House Judiciary Committee.

Bolden, a retired Marine general, is a former astronaut from Columbia.  NASA’s 12th administrator from 2009 until January 2017, he retired from the Marine Corps in 2003. Among his military decorations are the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross. He was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in May 2006.

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