Commentary

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
FEEDBACK:  Carr’s commentary describes Comey’s actions well

FEEDBACK:  Carr’s commentary describes Comey’s actions well

David Sweatt, Greenville: “[Former FBI Director James] Comey’s disclosure was premeditated and executed in spite of his very specific and detailed knowledge of the U.S. Constitution and executive privilege. Judge [Robert] Carr describes the events directly and clearly.”

by · 06/23/2017 · Commentary, Feedback
OUR TURN:  7 secrets for dealing with press interviews

OUR TURN: 7 secrets for dealing with press interviews

By Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene, republished with permission  |  We’ve been conducting interviews for an alarmingly long time and the last 25 years of have been largely devoted to talking with state, county and city officials. Based exclusively on personal experience, we’ve developed a solid sense of the things that our interviewees can do that will optimize their chances of communicating their message well.

Important note: We’re not talking about a lot of the things you might hear in media training; like how to pivot from the question asked to the one you want to answer. Speaking for ourselves, when someone is pivoting away from our questions, we’ll just ask the question again and again and again, and finally we’ll just go to another source.

McMaster

FEEDBACK:  McMaster’s leadership encouraging; Solar legislation might hurt

Dale M. Rhodes: “I believe many readers of Statehouse Report will be aware of the importance of the State Fiscal Accountability Authority in reviewing and approving the authorization and expenditure of certain state funds. Those who have had the opportunity to view the authority’s webcasts may also appreciate the technically complex nature of the transactions under review in that forum, and the concomitant need for detailed preparation and strictly attentive participation by the members.”

Will Williams: “I enjoy your writings and musings. I don’t always agree with them, but what a boring world we would have if everyone agreed on everything. Your column about the environment from the Friday edition is good, but I do disagree with you on solar panel legislation that was proposed.”

by · 06/16/2017 · Commentary, Feedback
The capitol building in Kansas looks similar to South Carolina's Statehouse building.

BRACK: Let’s learn from failed Kansas tax experiment

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |  The conservative political mantra of “cut, cut, cut” government to spur economic growth has been exposed for what it has been all along:  a load of hogwash.

In South Carolina, political leaders charmed by aggressive tax cuts should just turn to Kansas to see the fallout of taking an ideology to the extreme.  Republicans, in control of the Kansas House and Senate, this month ditched years of austerity by raising taxes by $1.2 billion over two years – more than $200 for every man, woman and child in the state.  Just to make up for lost ground, a family of four will have to pay an average of more than $800 a year following years of tax frugality that strapped schools and crippled delivery of services that Kansans wanted.

by · 06/16/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
James Comey speaks at the White House following his nomination by President Barack Obama to be the next director of the FBI when Director Robert S. Mueller’s term ends on September 4.

CARR:  Comey’s leak and constitutional protections, privilege standards

By Robert S. Carr, special to Statehouse Report  |  The recent revelation and subsequent articles concerning the leak by former FBI Director James Comey to the New York Times  via a “friend” and the testimony of Attorney General Jeff Sessions highlight the complex world of privileged information and the lack of understanding of the serious nature of those privileges.

First, it is necessary to remember that privileges and secrets are protected, whether written or oral, and belong to governments and protected individuals  While it may be of significance who prepared a written document, it is the information that is subject to protection, not the piece of paper it is written on or who created the document.  For example, if I write a memo to our enemy following a top-level military meeting about a classified military operation, it is of little defense for me to say, “it is my memo.”  Indeed, it is even more damning.  And national security has been compromised.

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg spoke out earlier this year about the dangers of offshore drilling.  Photo provided.

BRACK: South Carolina needs to find environmental courage

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | With so much that could be done to protect the South Carolina’s special places and put the state on a stronger, more renewable energy footing, you may sometimes wonder whether we just have too many environmental cowards.

Maybe that’s a bit harsh. But look at some recent stories that show that technology exists to transform how we power our economy from the traditional dirty oil and coal to a blend of renewables plus nuclear power with natural gas as a backup for peak usage.

Across the world, there are more than 2 million electric cars on the road. China, which is the largest electric vehicle market, has 200 million electric two-wheelers and 300,000 electric buses, according to the International Energy Agency.

by · 06/09/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
HAMMOND: With online service, Secretary of State’s office always open for business

HAMMOND: With online service, Secretary of State’s office always open for business

By Secretary of State Mark Hammond, special to Statehouse Report | This year, Chief Executive Magazine ranked South Carolina fourth in its annual list of “Best States for Business.” This ranking was based on a survey of CEOs throughout the country, and is our state’s highest ranking to date.

The Secretary of State’s office is the first stop for businesses seeking to incorporate or obtain a certificate of authority to transact business in South Carolina. Most statutorily-required corporate documents are filed with the Secretary of State’s office. As secretary of state, my goal is to make South Carolina as business-friendly as possible by continuously improving the business filing process.

by · 06/07/2017 · Commentary, My Turn