Andy Brack

BRACK:  Lawmakers, state residents must deal with opioid abuse now

BRACK: Lawmakers, state residents must deal with opioid abuse now

By Andy Brack, Statehouse Report | If you don’t think abuse of legally-prescribed painkillers is a problem in South Carolina, just keep this number in mind: 61 million.

That’s the number of powerful, synthesized narcotic pills, known as opioids, that medical professionals prescribed in 2014 in just three counties — Charleston, Greenville and Horry.

Opioids include synthesized oxycodone with trade names like OxyContin, Percocet and Percodan. These legal, synthesized drugs relieve pain, but produce highs like their vilified cousins, morphine and heroin.

by · 02/24/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
BRACK:  Being proud to be Southern ain’t going away anytime soon

BRACK: Being proud to be Southern ain’t going away anytime soon

By Andy Brack, Statehouse Report | Back in 2009, an Australian friend’s son wanted to learn about the South. He visited in Charleston for a few days. Then we piled into an old Ford Explorer and set off to see the South.

In eight days and 2,277 miles to Arkansas and back, we saw three Confederate flags, met with a former governor of Mississippi, visited a presidential library, trod on a Civil War battlefield, attended a service at a black megachurch, ate lots of good food and listened. By the end of the trip, my then-18-year-old friend came to a conclusion that lots of academics have spent lifetimes trying to understand: “Southern identity is a lot more complicated than it might seem,” he observed.

by · 02/17/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
BRACK:  Where’s the saber-rattling over the ask for a federal bailout?

BRACK: Where’s the saber-rattling over the ask for a federal bailout?

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | Two questions:

1. What is the state that was offered $11 billion from the federal government to provide better health care for the poorest of its citizens and said no?

2. What is the state that now wants the federal government to provide a $5 billion bailout for roads after not doing enough over the last 30 years to meet their infrastructure obligations?

Answer: South Carolina, also now known as the Hypocrisy State.

by · 02/10/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
BRACK:  S.C. is lucky to have Leatherman where he is

BRACK: S.C. is lucky to have Leatherman where he is

By Andy Brack, Statehouse Report | State Sen. Hugh Leatherman, president pro tempore of the Senate, never made it a secret that he didn’t want to be lieutenant governor.

When elected by Democratic and Republican colleagues a couple of years ago to the top organizational job in the chamber, he made it crystal clear that if a vacancy was imminent in the lieutenant governor’s position, he would step down as pro tem to remain chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

by · 02/03/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
It was a big week for South Carolina's top leaders as Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster, right, became governor when then Gov. Nikki Haley stepped down to become the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

BRACK: McMaster can learn lessons from past governors

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | South Carolina’s new governor, Henry McMaster, has boatloads of political and governmental experience. But that doesn’t mean he can’t learn a little, especially from people who have occupied the same seat that he took over this week.

From predecessor Nikki Haley, sworn in this week as America’s ambassador to the United Nations, McMaster can learn the lesson of being seen when it matters. Haley might want people to remember her for being a governor of job creation, but that was an obvious priority at the tail end of a recession. It might be better for McMaster to look at how Haley dealt with various crises – a hurricane, floods, shootings – during her six-year tenure and realize that part of effective leadership is taking charge in a crisis and being seen a lot by people to illustrate things are under control.

by · 01/27/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
BRACK:  State needs to get out of death spiral of not really governing

BRACK: State needs to get out of death spiral of not really governing

By Andy Brack, Statehouse Report | Over the last 14 years, two South Carolina governors pounded a philosophy on the stump and at the Statehouse that there was little government could do to be good or worthwhile.

This drumbeat against government, a child of Washington think tanks from the 1990s, seeped into South Carolina under Gov. Mark Sanford, who was obsessed against government borrowing to finance long-term needs. Then it found an erstwhile acolyte in his successor, Gov. Nikki Haley, now headed to the national stage. Using the bully pulpit of the governor’s office, they railed against big government, preached a gospel against taxes and proselytized for treating government like a business.

by · 01/20/2017 · Andy Brack
Haley, center, at the 201 State of the State speech with Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster at right.

BRACK: Haley reflects on accomplishments, but downplays flag

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | Gov. Nikki Haley took a victory lap around a legislature Wednesday with which she didn’t always get along.

“When I was first elected, I heard over and again from governors around the country that this would be the best job I would ever have,” she said in her final State of the State address prior to expected confirmation soon as the new ambassador to the United Nations. “I didn’t understand what they meant back then – and if I’m honest, some days, especially during the legislative session, I didn’t agree with them.”

by · 01/13/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
In this White House photo taken in July 2016, President Barack Obama hugged Eliana Pinckney and her younger sister Malana Pinckney, daughters of the late Rev. and Sen. Clementa Pinckney, who was one of nine slain in murders at Emanuel AME Church.  The girls’ mother, Jennifer Pinckney, looks on.  She testified this week in the trial of the man convicted of the murders.

BRACK: Obama deserves more credit than he gets

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | I’m going to miss President Barack Obama in the White House.

There. I’ve said it. Before half of you spit out your coffee or explode into a hysterical frenzy, consider that you still have your guns. He didn’t take them away, as many misled by the gun lobby feared.

Despite doom and gloom prophecies, Obama didn’t ruin America’s economy. Rather, after inheriting the worst recession in 75 years, Obama steered Congress to take measured, decisive actions to shore up the faltering automobile sector, deal with some of the power of the big banks and use $800 billion in a stimulus package for tax relief, education initiatives and much-needed investments in research and infrastructure. The strategy worked and kept a real depression at bay.

by · 01/06/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary