Issues

Transportation

We will fix South Carolina's roads, and we will not raise your taxes to do it.

Spending on new construction versus maintenance of current roads is out of balance – and taxpayers are paying the price.

Why? The Department of Transportation is a rigged system where funds are being funneled to select counties in order to benefit a handful of politicians and get them re-elected at the taxpayers' expense.

Currently, money for transportation is being poured into select areas whose representatives have near total control, which means most South Carolinians are paying taxes in their communities for roads that are being fixed in other counties. The tax revenue meant for transportation should be more evenly distributed so that every road across our state is developed and maintained with the same level of care. Developing and maintaining our transportation infrastructure is vital to our economy and public safety.

We can do better, and here are key elements of my plan to ensure that transportation funds are used responsibly:

  • LET LOCAL GOVERNMENTS CONTROL SPENDING ON LOCAL ROADS: By creating transparency so that a handful of politicians can no longer hide transportation money, we will establish true accountability and eliminate corruption. We will more equitably return funding to each of South Carolina's 46 counties, where more local control means more transparency and better decision-making. Local governments will be able to prioritize new construction and maintenance of their roads and bridges based on how the people see fit.
  • AUDIT AND REFORM THE DOT: The South Carolina Department of Transportation is awash in money. We will conduct a complete audit of the Department of Transportation, share this information with the public, and present a reform plan. This will increase transparency, spend money smarter, and improve overall efficiency. We will eliminate political favors, end special earmarks designed to secure re-elections, promote more competitive contract bidding, and ensure a fair and balanced distribution of funds.
  • MORE COMPETITIVE BUILDING PROCESS: We will promote more competitive bidding by local contractors to fix our roads and infrastructure, improve quality, and lower costs for taxpayers. We will also seek out new, but proven, construction techniques to get more years, and more miles, out of our roads at a better cost.
  • CITIZEN INPUT: A group of citizens and transportation experts will come together to find the best solutions for traffic congestion all over South Carolina.
  • IMPROVE PUBLIC SAFETY AND SAVE MONEY: If we create safer and more efficient roads, we will lessen the burden on local and state law enforcement agencies as well as emergency services. That will lower costs for taxpayers and, most importantly, save lives.
  • Our roads and our infrastructure are vital to our economy, safety, and everyday lives. Together let's hold our politicians accountable, shed light on wasteful corruption, and give South Carolina some of the best and safest roads in the country.

Budget and Taxes

The hidden truth about our budget is something that no one in our state government likes to talk about. There is weak oversight, minimal accountability, and rampant fiscal irresponsibility.

Currently, the legislature is responsible for auditing all 80+ state agencies. These audits are not independent or transparent, so the public receives limited information. This is another example of the rigged system.

Every year, the state budget goes up, taxes go up, costs go up, but you do not see results to match the spending. It is not acceptable that our state government tries to borrow and beg for money when it can't even adequately tell the people where their tax money has gone.

We will make South Carolina more transparent, more accountable, and much stronger. I will not allow mismanagement and corruption in the State House to risk South Carolina's credit rating.

Here's are some elements of my plan to reform South Carolina's budget and lower taxes:

  • ANNUAL AUDIT OF STATE BUDGET: We will initiate and enforce a yearly, transparent audit of the state budget and expenditures in conjunction with a yearly audit of each state agency. This will help put an end to the corruption and gross mismanagement of your tax money. By eliminating waste, we will free up millions of dollars, and be able to lower taxes.
  • FULL AUDIT OF STATE PENSION FUND: We will enact a full audit of the state's pension fund and investments, and share those results with the public. We must restore accountability by making sure that the Investment and Retirement Commission answers to the entire state, not just individual districts. I led the fight year after year to keep the state Treasurer, the only elected official accountable to the people, part of the Investment and Retirement Commission. Now, the Treasurer has been removed from the Commission, and it is controlled by a handful of individuals who are not accountable to the voters. This lack of accountability has led to the state's pension fund becoming a black hole, and we are now being told we must borrow our way out of it. This is unacceptable.
  • SHRINK THE SIZE OF MOST STATE AGENCIES BY 5%: I will evaluate every state agency, cut back bloated budgets, eliminate chummy contracts, and shrink the size of our state government. Core services such as law enforcement and first responders will not be affected.
  • MORE LOCAL CONTROL: An expanding, mismanaged government leads to excessive spending, unnecessary regulations, higher taxes, and a culture of corruption. We will return more power to local governments to restore more control to local communities. We must give the people of South Carolina more power to decide where tax money goes on a local level.
  • LOWER TAXES: Previous acts of state government have encouraged larger businesses to locate here by offering lower corporate taxes. But we must ensure these incentives do not work against South Carolina’s small businesses. We must lessen the burden on small businesses by lowering corporate taxes in general.

Join me in the fight to shed light on these issues and restore control of our state budget and taxes to you, the people of South Carolina.

South Carolina Seniors

The quality of life for our seniors must be a top priority.

Due to the corruption and wasteful spending within our state government, the full needs of our senior citizens are not being met. They deserve respect and real reforms that will make their lives better.

South Carolina’s senior population is approaching 1 million, but only about 4% are served by the government. We can do better, and we must do better.

As South Carolina's Director of the Office on Aging, I always kept the needs of seniors first in my heart and in my actions. I visited every senior center in South Carolina as part of my personal assessment of the quality of service provided to our seniors. I worked to directly support direct service providers. I initiated an outside audit of the Office on Aging that enabled me to reorganize staff, re-set priorities, improve communication across all levels of the Office, and improve food safety and training processes.

Here are a few elements of my plan to improve and protect the lives of our seniors.

  • FULL AUDIT OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA OFFICE ON AGING: As I did when I was South Carolina's Director of the Office on Aging, I will conduct a full audit of the agency to increase accountability, making sure that our tax dollars are being properly spent on the needs of our seniors.
  • ONLY QUALIFIED APPOINTMENTS: Chummy political appointments of unqualified individuals will come to an end. The Office on Aging is not a revolving door for politicians to make subpar political appointments for friends and allies.
  • STRENGTHENING SENIOR CENTERS: Many seniors within our state live well below the poverty line. Many of them go hungry and are alone with no one advocating for them. We will support senior centers across this state and expand their outreach to the communities they serve.
  • INCREASE THE HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION: To ensure that our seniors can enjoy retirement with fewer financial burdens, we will responsibly increase the homestead exemption for our seniors.
  • PREVENT ELDER ABUSE AND PROTECT SENIORS FROM ONLINE SCAMS: Elder abuse and exploitation is a plague within this state. We will strengthen programs to prevent elder abuse by giving law enforcement agencies the support and training they need. We will also create a special statewide task force of both law enforcement and cybersecurity experts. No longer will the pillars of our society be the prey of despicable predators.
  • INCREASE VISIBILITY OF AND ACCESS TO EXISTING PROGRAMS: Tens of thousands of our senior citizens depend on home-delivered meals. Thousands more depend on transportation to senior centers, which provide them with healthy meals, social activity, and an all around better quality of life. We will bring awareness to the needs of senior center and home programs in order to better serve our seniors.
  • IMRPOVE ACCESS TO HOME HEALTH CARE: We will ensure that all senior citizens, whether in rural or urban areas, have equal access to much-needed home health care.

South Carolina seniors did the work, paid the taxes, and laid the foundation for so many of the good things we see in our state today. It is our turn to fight for them.

Jobs, Business and Economic Development

In our great state, we must continue to encourage and support large industries and outside investment in order to create good, new jobs. However, we cannot continue to do this on the backs of small business owners and local entrepreneurs. These individuals face ridiculous and inconsistent regulations, unfair lending practices, and steep taxes. Instead, they should be given many of the same opportunities, freedoms, and exemptions as large corporations and businesses.

Here are some of the things I will do to be a partner in economic development and job creation for South Carolina:

  • RESTRUCTURE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE - WITH A MAJOR FOCUS ON NEW JOBS IN ALL 46 COUNTIES: When I become Governor, the South Carolina Department of Commerce will be completely restructured. I will create a South Carolina Small and Local Business Authority which will focus on investing in our small businesses so they can thrive, and create jobs in our communities.
  • RECRUIT LARGE BUSINESSES: Recruiting large industries into South Carolina typically produces a good return on investment. However, we will also create programs that aid South Carolina's small businesses' access to capital. We cannot keep supporting a few large-scale "select" businesses at the expense of our small businesses.
  • FOCUS ON SMALL BUSINESSES: We will create a Small Business Reform Act which focuses on eliminating unnecessary regulations, lowering taxes on small businesses, and making responsible loans more accessible to small business owners and entrepreneurs. This will ensure our state government is a proper partner with our businesses so we can create good, new jobs.
  • BOOST TOURISM AS A DRIVER OF OUR ECONOMY: Destination Tourism is a major part of our state's economy, and we have an opportunity to bring even more tourism dollars to South Carolina. We will examine a new funding formula which returns revenue more fairly to the counties where funds were originally generated. We will redirect any agency surplus at South Carolina's Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism to make nationwide marketing and advertising campaigns more effective. And we will also examine the potential positive impact on jobs and our economy of shifting the current two (local) to one (state) funding match program to a one-to-one match.
  • MORE LOCAL INPUT AND CONTROL: During my time as a small-town mayor, I became familiar with the importance of local governments. As governor, I will encourage economic growth by working with local governments and empowering them to make decisions that best serve their communities' needs.
  • LOWER TAXES: Previous acts of state government have encouraged larger businesses to locate here by offering lower corporate taxes. But this meant effectively raising the corporate taxes on small business owners. We must lessen the burden on small businesses by lowering the corporate taxes.
  • ELIMINATE JOB-KILLING REGULATIONS: As part of our audit and review of state agencies, we will identify and eliminate burdensome, job-killing regulations.
  • RURAL JOBS DEVELOPMENT: We will create a rural economic jobs and development strategy which will ensure that all parts of South Carolina can see good job growth.
  • KEEP SOUTH CAROLINA RIGHT-TO-WORK: South Carolina has a tradition of being a Right-to-Work state -- and I will keep it that way. By remaining a Right-to-Work state, we encourage job growth, and the growth of businesses, both large and small.
  • LOOK AT RESTRUCTURING THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL: As part of a review of all agencies, we will consider breaking the Department of Health and Environmental Control into two smaller agencies, taking it from one of the largest and most bureaucratic state agencies and making it work more efficiently.
  • REMAIN A STRONG PARTNER TO AGRIBUSINESS AND FORESTRY: 212,000 jobs and more than $40 billion a year – that is the economic impact of agribusiness and forestry on South Carolina's economy. As governor, I will ensure that South Carolina remains a strong partner in helping these industries thrive and grow.

The battle to grow South Carolina's economy and create new jobs is a fight that we will make together.

Education

Tons of money is dumped into South Carolina's education system every year, and we are still ranked at or near the bottom, nationally.

According to the US News and World Report's ranking of all 50 States, South Carolina is dead last in education. This is despite spending 11.7 billion dollars a year on government-run schools, which breaks down to $16,211 per student per year.

South Carolina is also known as the home of the "Corridor of Shame." This is unacceptable. Together, we will eliminate the inefficiency and corruption rife within our education system and focus on preparing South Carolina's children for the challenges of the 21st century.

Here are some ways we will improve education in South Carolina:

  • AUDIT AND REFORM THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION: The Board of Education and individual school districts will be thoroughly audited as a part of the overall audit of state agencies. In some areas, funds allocated to districts on a national, state, and local level are not being used to help better the lives of our students. Many students are forced to sit in classrooms with broken desks and ride in run-down buses. When children see that they are part of a system that isn't looking out for them, education is no longer a gateway to the future but a task they must suffer through.
  • MORE TEACHING. LESS TESTING: Not all kids are the same, not all kids learn the same, not all kids test the same. Every student should be able to show their strengths instead of being judged based on an endless string of standardized tests that are created by a corporation that isn't even based in the state. By refocusing our education system on teaching our kids to think and solve problems, we will create the leaders of tomorrow.
  • SUPPORT FOR STEM, VOCATIONAL AND TECHNICAL PROGRAMS: By supporting and promoting STEM programs throughout the state, we can build an education system that meets the demands of a 21st century jobs economy. We will also encourage and support programs for students who excel in vocational or technical fields.
  • FIX THE TEACHER SHORTAGE: South Carolina faces a teacher shortage. We will develop a plan to bring more good teachers to South Carolina.
  • STRONGER INPUT FROM PARENTS: We will make sure parents and local communities have a strong voice in education decisions by conducting statewide listening tours so we can hear directly from you.
  • LISTEN TO EDUCATORS: Many teachers feel bullied into remaining quiet about the problems in their schools and districts. To combat this, we will conduct statewide listening tours for educators to freely discuss the issues they face in their schools.
  • SUPPORT PROVEN PROGRAMS THAT WORK FOR PARENTS AND STUDENTS: In general, the more choices parents have, the better. Competition can lead to better schools. We will support proven, responsible programs that strengthen our public schools, support home schooling, and promote school choice, charter schools, and magnet schools. We will give parents more choices to find the best education "fit" for their child.

South Carolinians know that children are our future. Let's fight to make our future bright.

Pro-Life

Biblically, we are called upon to protect the unborn. When it comes to defending the unborn, I choose a Heavenly focus. We can and must do a better job of protecting the most innocent among us.

  • I am Pro-Life.
  • God tells us in the Book of Jeremiah 1:5: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart." Because of these words, the life of a child, from conception, is a life that I choose to serve.

Let's continue the fight to put the lives of children, born and unborn, first.

2nd Amendment

We will not weaken our right to self-defense or surrender the freedom to bear arms, whether for safety, hunting, or recreation.

  • I believe in our right to bear arms and strongly support the 2nd Amendment.
  • Our Constitution acknowledges what most South Carolinians know to be true: We have a God-given right to protect ourselves, our families, our homes, and our property.

As Americans, the Second Amendment is what protects our sacred liberties, and I will fight to help you protect those liberties.

Immigration

Since September 11, 2001, more than 400 Americans have been killed or injured by foreign-based or inspired terrorist attacks. This horrific number doesn't even take into account the terrorist attacks thwarted by state police and the FBI, saving many more Americans.

Just this year alone, the number of people worldwide who have been killed or injured through acts of terrorism is in the thousands. We will do everything possible to keep the citizens of our state from falling victim to this crisis. Our concern has always been and will always be the safety of South Carolinians over the unnecessary influx of dangerous or illegal immigrants who could potentially put our people in harm's way.

We encourage lawful and responsible immigration for people coming to our country and our state seeking a better life for themselves and their families.

But we will do everything within our power to support and aid our law enforcement agencies in preventing illegal immigrants from entering and residing in our state. We will not allow any refugees from known terror-ridden countries or regions into this state without a full and thorough vetting process. Period.

Unite with me in the fight to keep South Carolina safe for ourselves and future generations.

Veterans

They served. They sacrificed.

And we owe them a debt of gratitude and respect.

Even though the federal government sometimes fails our veterans, South Carolina will not. We will work to bridge the gap.

We will make sure veterans and their families have awareness of and access to the benefits they have earned in order to improve their quality of life.

Law Enforcement, Firefighters and Emergency Service Workers

Our brave law enforcement, firefighters, and emergency service workers will receive our full support.

We rely on our first responders and we will make it clear that they can rely on us.

Tourism

Tourism is a major driver of our economy, supporting 10% of South Carolina jobs, and generating $20 billion a year for our state.

As part of my overall jobs and economic development plan, we will boost tourism as a driver of our economy. Destination Tourism is a major part of our state's economy, and we have an opportunity to bring even more tourism dollars to South Carolina. We will examine a new funding formula which returns revenue more fairly to the counties where funds were originally generated. We will redirect any agency surplus at South Carolina's Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism to make nationwide marketing and advertising campaigns more effective. And we will also examine the potential positive impact on jobs and our economy of shifting the current two (local) to one (state) funding match program to a one-to-one match.

Agribusiness and Forestry

212,000 jobs and more than $40 billion a year – that is the economic impact of agribusiness and forestry on South Carolina's economy.

As governor, I will ensure that South Carolina remains a strong partner in helping these industries thrive and grow.