September 24, 2010

A Run for Congress

September 21, 2010: S.C. Rep. Tim Scott, the Republican nominee for the first district seat for U.S. House, told Rotarians that he valued cutting taxes, less government and regulatory.

The Democratic candidate, Ben Frazier, was invited but did not attend the club's meeting that focused on the position that's open due to the retirement of Congressman Henry Brown. Minor party candidates were not invited.

"We are in a pretty good position in America," Scott said. "Our brightest days are still ahead of us."

Scott delivered a well-honed, party-driven message. He said he would focus in Congress on working to limit the role of government, lower taxes and try to get colleagues to spend less.

"In D.C., we do not have a revenue problem," he said. "We have a priority problem."

Among his targets would be to reduce the federal influence on education and allow states to keep more education money, which he said needed to be directed to the classroom, not administration. He also said the Energy Department had 4,000 programs that needed to be reviewed for "waste, fraud and abuse."

Scott said he would work to reinvigorate America's manufacturing base: "If we don't start making things again, we will have a very hard road ahead of us." He pointed to Michelin, BMW, Boeing, Bosch and Force Protection as major industries in the state that were key to a growing transportation cluster of jobs. Other observations by Scott:

On earmarks: The House Republican Caucus is opposed to them so there wouldn't be any support for them. "The earmark system leaves us (in South Carolina) with crumbs while others get loaves." Instead, he is for "congressionally directed funding" that apparently would let members of Congress cherry pick projects for funding in home districts.

On gridlock: If the House is taken over by the GOP, Scott said he expected political gridlock for a couple of years.

Tea party: "I have no problem with the tea party. They believe in a conservative value system, limiting the role of government, free markets and reducing government debt."

Term limits: A supporter of term limits, Scott said he would limit his congressional service to four terms.

-- Andy Brack, Keyway Committee

September 16, 2010

We Are Their Voice

September 14, 2010: Today, we had the pleasure of hearing from Joe Elmore from the ASPCA, and Sgt. Carey Stout from The City of North Charleston Animal Control, about animal welfare in the Charleston Area. The topic was especially pertinent as today we presented a gift from our club to the John Ancrum SPCA to support spay and neuter clinics. Mr. Elmore began his presentation with a brief history, dispelling common misconceptions. He elaborated on how animal welfare defines and effects communities and why Charleston was chosen as one of 9 cities to receive over $1,000,000 to better the lives of animals.

The ASPCA is the first and oldest animal organization in the U.S. They run the poison control center and the oldest animal research hospital in the nation, housed in New York City. The non-profit also spends much of its energy working with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies prosecuting animal crimes, such as dog fighting and puppy mills. To further its outreach, The ASPCA has chosen nine communities to invest in and increase positive outcomes for "at risk" animals. Charleston is one of the nine.

Elmore observed that Charleston was chosen because it values its animals, but struggles with over population, as does much of the deep south. The key to reducing euthanasia, is eliminating over population by diligently spaying and neutering cats and dogs. The association's goal is that future generations not be faced with the difficult decision of which animals live or die, solely because they are unwanted.

After the overview, Mr. Elmore addressed these common misconceptions: animal rights vs. animal welfare, animal activism vs animal advocacy, no kill facilities vs no kill communities and animal cruelty priorities. ASPCA is about animal welfare supporting spaying, neutering, leash laws, they are not supporting "animal rights" to pro-create at will, wonder at large etc. They support no kill communities and state that "no-kill shelters" do not exist as we must euthanize sick and dangerous animals. Additionally, ASPCA focuses their resources on cruelty priorities which are dog fighting and puppy mills, not eating meat and hunting; choosing to fight the battle of over population and not horse drawn carriages. In summation, it is my belief that the association is striving to make the most impact in the worst areas!

The goal in Charleston is to reach a 75% live rate (up from a starting 37%) from April 1, 2008 to March 31, 2011 with the option to continue the program until March 31, 2013. Some ask, Why Charleston? Elmore responds because we can affect change. Thirty years ago the country euthanized 28 to 30 million animals a year, that number has dropped to 5 million. "We are winning this battle, you would not find such staggering results in the fights against drugs or violence." Last year the JASPCA took in 11,500 animals and over half were put down. By the end of this year, the shelter plans to get the live rate above 50% - save more animals than we put down.

Pet Helpers and Humane Net are other partners in the battle to secure animal welfare. These groups work with the local John Ancrum SPCA to reduce euthanasia of healthy and treatable cats and dogs. Here are four ways you can help save a life: increase spay and neuter, financially support spay and neuter clinics, make room for one more pet in your home and heart and host a work place adoption fair! Help Charleston lead the way to be a no kill community and spare our children and our pets the agony of life threatening decisions.

Submitted by Elizabeth Burwell, Keyway Committee Chair

September 13, 2010

Vincent Sheheen - Vision of Next Governor's Priorities

Sept. 7, 2010: Mr. Sheheen was introduced by Andy Brack and swiftly ushered Tuesday's full house through his vision of what the next Governor's priorities should be and his personal commitment to the success of our state. But not without first establishing his regional heritage; as anyone can see on his website for governor, "Vincent Sheheen's South Carolina roots run deep. He was born and raised in Camden, where his family has lived for well over a century..."

"It bothers me deeply to see the state of affairs of our state," said Senator Sheheen. "We are at a crossroad, and we need 'to take the road less traveled.' We must innovate, and we must bring trust back into South Carolina's leadership." He succinctly outlined key elements of his agenda, which included:

Education: "We must invest in our local schools in order to build the foundation that will secure our future, he said. "South Carolina needs a governor who will work to improve our public schools."

Employment: "We have the highest unemployment rate in the nation. We have to turn that around. We have severe, severe problems that need to be addressed. And as the proverb tells us, 'without vision, we will perish.' We need a governor who will be deeply involved and committed."

Economic development: "We need to bring entrepreneurship back. We need to focus on the development of small businesses and providing the right incentives to attract and build industry in the state." He made the case that economic growth can co-exist with conservation and sustainable interests. Mr. Sheheen clearly intends to support agriculture and agriculture based businesses such as reclaiming not only the growing and harvesting, but the more lucrative downstream processing of South Carolina's commodities. "We must also do everything we can to support the deepening and expansion of the Port of Charleston," he said several times.

Government: "We need a right sized government that is driven by a common vision. Whether smaller or larger, it needs to be the right size, and we must make the legislature more accountable. It is imperative that the next governor 'walk the walk' and not just 'talk the talk'." It is very hard work, he said, "we must roll up our sleeves and get to work now." He articulated his commitment to working the process versus taking "a press conference approach to governing." With respect to cost management, Mr. Sheheen wants to evaluate ways to streamline various government services that might be redundant and needlessly expensive today. "Do we need duplicate services across agencies? Can we succeed with a centralized Department of Administration?"


After his brief remarks, Mr. Sheheen clearly answered several questions that were posed in advance of the meeting as well as several spontaneous questions from the floor. Further, on economic development, he said that a big role of the governor is to lead the charge to build the state's business base and serve as the chief business recruiter. "The governorship has been much less active, and the Commerce Department has shrunk ... we need to change that direction if we're to grow."

Among the sectors that South Carolina should consider as priorities are medical/healthcare and alternative energy. "I am not for offshore drilling in South Carolina, and I believe there is a lot of potential success for us in alternative energy development. There is job creation in both of these sectors that is much needed."

He emphasized the need to focus on supporting higher education. "Successful states have a clear emphasis on higher education. We must keep higher education within the reach of the citizens of South Carolina. We can follow the models of other states. But we have to reverse the trend of the last ten years and have a clear education agenda."

Answering last questions about his position on taxation and revenue generation, Mr. Sheheen said there is room to increase tax on cigarettes, but we cannot tax our people in ways that makes their lives more difficult. "We cannot increase taxes on gasoline, especially in today's economy, when our people are already having such a difficult time."

Footnote: The Program Committee made many attempts through several channels to invite candidate Nikki Haley to participate with Mr. Sheheen, but her schedule did not allow her to attend.

Submitted by Mark Danes, Keyway Committee

September 3, 2010

C-SPAN on the Cutting Edge

August 31, 2010: C-SPAN Marketing Representative, Jennifer Curran, began her Rotary presentation with an overview of C-SPAN's (Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network) history, purpose and funding. She also explained the networks recent expansions and social media presence.

Jennifer reported that over the past 31 years, C-SPAN has grown from 3 million to 100 million homes. She described this growth as a "huge milestone" for C-SPAN. As a non-profit, non-partisan organization, C-SPAN popularity is due in part to their ability not to air commercials as well as provide reporting on all political views. Jennifer also noted C-SPAN's recent upgrade to HD (High Definition) and its no-napping deterrent effect during House and Senate live coverage!

To provide a better understanding of C-SPAN's television presence, Jennifer explained the network's three channels:

C-SPAN provides uninterrupted live coverage of the United States House of Representatives and also airs Washington Journal live every morning.

C-SPAN2 provides uninterrupted live coverage of the United States Senate and also airs Book TV on weekends.

C-SPAN3 features other uninterrupted live public affairs events and airs a large amount of archived historical programming branded as C-SPAN3 History.

Although, most commonly known for their "gavel to gavel" cover, Jennifer described C-SPAN's popular American Perspective program. Celebrities and political figures ranging from Cher and Bono to Clarence Thomas have all appeared on the program. Jennifer recounted Cher's Washington Journal call-in that resulted in her American Perspective appearance where she spoke about her "Operation Helmet" efforts.

In addition to C-SPAN's television programs, Jennifer explained the network's free teaching and student resources. Coupled with their community outreach efforts, C-SPAN's new 45' customized "Digital Bus" engages visitors of all ages through interactive multimedia. "Digital Bus visitors will experience C-SPAN's unique public affairs content across high-tech platforms such as HD-TV, the internet, and radio, encouraging customers to follow 'Washington, your way.' Hands-on demonstrations will feature the C-SPAN Video Library and the network's social media offerings and there are special resources for civics teachers and their students." [source:]

After Jennifer's presentation, Rotarians were invited to board and explore the Digital Bus where visitors were able to experience C-SPAN's cutting edge media and educational technology.

Reported by Teal Van Saun, Keyway Committee