Articles by: Andy Brack

BRACK:   Let’s refocus our state, nation on the “common good”

BRACK:   Let’s refocus our state, nation on the “common good”

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |  In today’s media-saturated culture that focuses on appealing to individuals through greed and ego, the notion of “common good” may seem as charming and antiquated as the horse and buggy.

It is, however, fundamental to our nation, as highlighted in preamble of the U.S. Constitution, which listed our values in forming a more perfect union:  to “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

by · 07/21/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
BRACK:   Is Washington reaching a political tipping point with Trump?

BRACK:   Is Washington reaching a political tipping point with Trump?

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |   Are congressional Republicans in Washington reaching a tipping point over the continuing political theater and water-tortured presidency of Donald Trump?

If recent public comments by prominent South Carolina Republicans are any indication of the diminishing stature and respect in which Trump is held in Washington, then the president should be worried.  Despite his party’s control of Congress, the hyper-sensitive, Twitter-impaired Trump can’t seem to climb out of a Washington swamp of his own making to be a player in promoting his agenda.  For the first time in my lifetime, the president seems like a B-team sideline player watching a game being played on a muddy field in the rain.  None of it is pretty.

by · 07/14/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
BRACK:  South Carolina is still hungry

BRACK:  South Carolina is still hungry

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |   Summer’s bounty of everything from juicy red tomatoes to eggplants, squashes and corn fill farm stands and grocery stores across the state.  At this time of year, you’ve never seen so much good fresh food.

But its availability belies a cold, hard fact:  South Carolina is hungry despite decades of food assistance programs.  But without them, things would be way, way worse.

Ninety-two-year-old Thelma McKay Dudley of Darlington remembers growing up hungry in the Depression as her family moved from one sharecropper cabin to another, year after year.

“We grew up mostly on fatback and grits,” she said this week.  “Sometimes we had an egg.”  There were always biscuits, but if the flour ran out, she, two sisters and parents would eat lace cornbread.  A savior in her home, just as in millions of rural households across the South, was the family garden. 

by · 07/07/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
NEWS: High-speed Internet in rural areas becoming a reality

NEWS: High-speed Internet in rural areas becoming a reality

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |  Business people and residents in poor, rural South Carolina have been dreaming for years of accessing the same kind of high-speed Internet service commonly found in urban areas.  Now, it’s starting to become a reality.

AT&T announced this week that it is offering its new “fixed wireless” Internet service in more than 70,000 locations across nine Southern states from Louisiana to the Carolinas.  Announcements on when the service will be available at specific locations in the Palmetto State are forthcoming, a spokesman said.

“Taking 10 years [to do this] is not an option,” said Connect SouthCarolina’s jim Stritzinger said. 

by · 06/30/2017 · News
BRACK:  State needs to ramp up its commitment to small businesses

BRACK:  State needs to ramp up its commitment to small businesses

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |   With all of the big news in late June about $1 billion in new foreign investment in South Carolina, it’s time for the state to pay more attention to the little guy and small businesses.

The new state budget includes $40 million as a “closing fund” to seal deals with big new companies such as Samsung, which announced a $380 million investment this week in Newberry County that will create 950 new jobs.  Also in recent days, BMW announced it would invest $600 million more in its Upstate car plant, which will add 1,000 more jobs by 2021.

by · 06/30/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
BRIEFS:  Happy Fourth; Swaimming with the current

BRIEFS:  Happy Fourth; Swaimming with the current

If you’re going to be on the coast on Tuesday, look skyward for the annual Salute from the Fourth.  Hundreds of thousands of people will witness an air parade of F-16s and other military aircraft as they fly down the state’s coast. 

Also, Barton Swaim, a speechwriter for former Gov. Mark Sanford who recently has served as communications director for the S.C. Policy Council, is moving on to a “dream job.”

by · 06/30/2017 · News, Palmetto Politics
Entrance to Allendale Elementary School.

NEWS: Supreme Court to hear, review rural school cases

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |  State officials will have until July 11 to answer a lawsuit by the Allendale County School Board that seeks to nullify this week’s state takeover of the school district, according to an order filed this morning by the S.C. Supreme Court. 

Today’s order is the latest in a series of developments about rural education splattered in newspapers throughout the week.  Last week, Statehouse Report highlighted a national report that illustrated urgent, critical needs of rural schools in the Palmetto State.

On Monday, S.C. Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman declared a state of emergency for Allendale County schools and announced a takeover of the countywide school district. Allendale County is one of the plaintiff districts in a school funding lawsuit filed more than two decades ago by poor districts against the state.  It also was under state control in the early 2000s for performance and other issues.

by · 06/23/2017 · News
BRACK:  Special elections have better news for Dems than you might think

BRACK:  Special elections have better news for Dems than you might think

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |   Boy, listening to the talking heads and sputtering pundits, you’d almost think the world was ending for Democrats after narrow losses in two special U.S. House elections in South Carolina and Georgia.

But the world’s not ending.  In fact, Republicans should be a little worried.

Yes, the Democrats lost again.  But they lost in safe, strong GOP districts  – contests for which most people never thought Democrats could get so close.  In November, Tom Price won his Georgia House seat by 23 points over his challenger.  In South Carolina’s 5th congressional district that includes Rock Hill and Sumter, Mick Mulvaney won by 20 points.  Both became part of President Trump’s cabinet, which prompted the special elections.

by · 06/23/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary