Articles by: Andy Brack

Septima Poinsette Clark in 1956 after a testimonial dinner by her sorority.  She noted, however, in a memoir that her sisters didn't want to get their picture taken with her then because she was controversial.  (She had recently been fired for being a member of the NAACP.)

BRACK: Let’s be thankful for Septima Clark’s leadership

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |  All South Carolinians – white, black, brown, newcomer and native – can stand to learn more about a real homegrown patriot, the late Septima Poinsette Clark. 

The mere mention of her name today invokes reverence in the black community.  But white Southerners seem to forget that she was so respected for her work in the civil rights movement that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. asked her to accompany him to Oslo, Norway, in 1964 when he accepted the Nobel Peace prize.

“In a sort of casual way he would say, ‘Anything I can’t answer, ask Mrs. Clark,’”  she recalled in a 1986 memoir.

by · 11/17/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
BRACK: Thwart the dumbing down of American citizenship

BRACK: Thwart the dumbing down of American citizenship

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |  If you periodically read commentaries like this one about public policy, you are probably considered a pretty good citizen – somebody who cares about how our society operates and is governed.  You probably vote, fret about tax rates, get roused by bureaucratic incompetence and care about issues of public importance.

But what about people across our state and nation who don’t read much, pay little attention to what’s going on in neighborhoods and towns – people who tune out, not tune in?   What about other people, liberals and conservatives, who have perverted American principles for their own ends to make America less than what it has been?

With everything from another mass shooting, this time in Texas, to a United States senator attacked on his Kentucky lawn, something odd is going on in these United States.  We may be, I fear, experiencing the dumbing down of American citizenship. 

by · 11/10/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
Race still matters across South, Winthrop Poll suggests

Race still matters across South, Winthrop Poll suggests

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |  Race still seems to matter across the South, but maybe not as much as it used to in some areas, based on results from a new Winthrop Poll released today.

Overall, black and white Southerners have different ways of looking at how the country is doing and with how they perceive slavery, discrimination, success, religion and Confederate monuments.  But the two races agree on their views of liberty, success, Southern qualities and some extremists. Consider:

Country’s track:  Seven out of eight blacks (88 percent) said they thought the country is headed in the wrong direction, compared to 55 percent of whites.  Three in five black respondents think the country’s economic conditions are getting worse, compared to 28 percent of whites.

by · 11/08/2017 · News, News briefs
Francis Marion University students in a human anatomy class.  (Photo provided by FMU.)

BRACK: State needs to give more love to higher education

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |  South Carolina public colleges and universities are between a big old rock and a very hard place. 

Because the state’s share of tax dollars spent on higher education has dropped precipitously in recent years, public colleges have had to raise tuition so much that they’re now the highest in the South.  Meanwhile, campuses have $2.5 billion of infrastructure needs and deferred maintenance.  On top of that, the way scholarships are awarded generally are counter to a national trend.

As outlined in recent Statehouse Report coverage by Lindsay Street, the state’s financial support for higher education over the last 30 years has dropped from 17 percent of the state’s general spending to an average of 7 percent.  In reality, this means the generally accepted concept that our our colleges and universities are “state-supported institutions” rings hollow. 

by · 11/03/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
Former Congressman John Jenrette and his former wife, Rita, in front of the Capitol in Washington during the 1970s when he served.  Photo provided.

MY TURN:  Jenrette saga was uplifting, comical, tragic and always exciting

By John F. Clark, special to Statehouse Report  |  When I first met my future boss, Congressman John Jenrette, none of the highly-publicized episodes that would later guarantee him a permanent place in the folklore of the nation’s capital—having sex on the U.S. Capitol steps, becoming entrapped in the FBI Abscam sting operation, experiencing his beautiful second wife, Rita, get naked for Playboy—had taken place.

Indeed, everything I initially knew about him was positive. He was progressive, intelligent, charming, perceptive, hard-working, kind, compassionate and possessing of many other positive attributes. My new book, Capitol Steps and Missteps; The Wild, Improbable Ride of Congressman John Jenrette

by · 11/02/2017 · Commentary, My Turn
BRACK: Will S.C. Dems squander political opportunities in 2018?

BRACK: Will S.C. Dems squander political opportunities in 2018?

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |  With Statehouse Republicans reeling from an ongoing corruption scandal and moderate GOP voters questioning their support of a president who can’t keep away from confrontation, South Carolina Democrats have enormous opportunities in 2018.

The big question, though, is whether they will squander their chances.  Based on past performance, there’s a good case to be made that they will fumble again.

First, the biggest hurdle state Democrats have is structural: There are so many gerrymandered districts across the state that Republicans automatically are favored in a majority of legislative districts.  …

by · 10/27/2017 · 2018, Andy Brack, Commentary

HISTORY: Bennie Lee Sinclair, poet laureate

S.C. Encyclopedia  | Bennie Lee Sinclair was born on April 15, 1939, in Greenville to Graham Sinclair and Bennie Ward. While she was in the first grade, her first published poem appeared in a teachers’ magazine. Overwhelmed by the attention she received, she stopped writing poetry and returned to it only after the deaths of her father and her brother. A 1956 graduate of Greenville High School, Sinclair entered Furman University, where she received her B.A. in English and later received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1996. In 1957 she married Thomas Donald Lewis.

by · 10/23/2017 · Features, S.C. Encyclopedia
BRACK: Cast of characters grows in corruption probe

BRACK: Cast of characters grows in corruption probe

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |  With three politicos added Wednesday to the ongoing corruption scandal at the Statehouse, it’s getting kind of hard to keep up with the cast of characters.  Here’s a handy guide for what’s going on:

To date, seven Republicans – six legislators or ex-legislators and uber-consultant Richard Quinn Sr. – have been indicted in the probe that goes back to 2014 when state officials started looking into the campaign finances of the sitting House speaker. 

In 2014, Attorney General Alan Wilson appointed First Circuit Solicitor David Pascoe to be the “designated prosecutor” in a case against then-House Speaker Bobby Harrell.  After a state investigation uncovered other possible corruption involving Statehouse players, Wilson cited a potential conflict related to an investigatory report and recused himself.  His office continued to manage the case.  But Pascoe was kept in the loop. 

by · 10/20/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary