PICKENS COUNTY — Anyone who follows the legislative process in South Carolina would not be surprised to find the issues on Rex Rice’s mind are part and parcel to the majority of the state, including Pickens County
Rice, who defeated Sen. Larry Martin in last week’s run-off for the District 2 seat, said there are several key issues to be discussed but none are more on the public’s mind than the condition of the roads system in South Carolina.
“Obviously, we have got to improve the quality and safety of our roads with an emphasis on safety,” Rice said. “First, I think there is a simple fix for some of the safety issues for the Department of Transportation. Rumble strips down the center line of our highways to warn drivers when they are veering off the road would be a good start. I’ve talked with the DOT and have had meetings with them on this already. I don’t know what the effort is going to be to get this done but I travel a lot and other states have these in place.”
Rice said the Local Government Fund and per student spending took a hit with the 2008 financial crisis, adding that those funding levels have not returned to their former numbers.
“We have to fund our local governments and our school boards in South Carolina because the budget does not allow for enough of the funds to make it to where we need it,” Rice said. “To begin with, I feel like when there are surplus funds those funds should be used to get some of this money back to the school districts and county council.”
Rice said he is also concerned with the federal budget and spending habits of elected officials in Washington, D.C. While not directly controlled by the state, it will eventually have a detrimental effect on South Carolina — and Pickens County — if left unchecked, he said.
“The federal government is spending at a level it shouldn’t be and eventually the issues with this spending will trickle down to the state and county levels and will even impact us here in the county,” he said. “We need to be prepared to deal with Washington because we can’t keep spending the way we are. This is something we need to be preparing ourselves for, especially if the federal spending levels continue as they have.”
Rice said there is only one way these issues can be resolved: through a new attitude of working as one at the legislative level and county level throughout the state.
“It appears up until now everyone has had their own agenda but this election the people sent a wake-up call to Columbia and locally,” Rice said. “Three senators were beaten that most people thought would never lose their seats. The people are tired of legislators sticking around for years and years and not getting done what the people want in all of that time.
“We need to get together as a delegation along with county council and sit down and find a way to work together,” he added. “We need to discuss what our goals should be for Pickens County. It’s far too easy for people to use social media these days, they can say anything but it becomes more difficult face to face. We have to sit down and figure out how to get along better.”
Reach D. C. Moody may be reached at 864-855-0355.