EASLEY — South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster stumped in the Upstate on Tuesday beginning with a visit to the Easley Rotary Club in the Carr Conference Center of West End Hall.
McMaster is facing a wide field in the upcoming Republican primary with four names currently slated to be on the ballot: Kevin Bryant, the incumbent Lieutentant Governor; Yancey McGill, former Democratic Lieutenant Governor and State Senator; John Warren, a businessman and former Marine; and Catherine Templeton, former Director of the Department of Health and Environmental Control and former Director of the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.
Topic of the day? Industry.
“We’re what’s known as a ‘handshake state,’” McMaster said. “Whenever you have a big industry looking to relocate, they know South Carolina is where they want to be.”
The Governor said manufacturing was currently contributing $22 billion to the state — about equal with one of S.C.’s other leading industries, tourism.
Agriculture remains the number one industry in the state, he said.
“One of the major draw to S.C. is our universities,” McMaster said. “You’ve got Clemson, Carolina and MUSC (Medical University of South Carolina) right here. Investors see our emphasis on technology — on education — and they want to be a part of it. When Samsung came to Newberry, they came because they knew they were going to find people ready to fill those (job) positions. And sure enough, you’ve got a partnership now set up with Samsung and Clemson.”
McMaster said not to be fooled by geography, what’s good for the coastal regions is also good for the Upstate.
“The money that comes in, it all goes into the same pot,” he said. “Having tourism on the beaches is going to help finance your (Upstate) roads. It’s all connected, it all plays a part.”
McMaster reiterated his stance against off-shore drilling stating the risk to the tourism industry was too great.
“Could you imagine if we had something happen here like what happened in the Gulf (of Mexico)? It would be a disaster,” he said. “Not to mention we’re in ‘Hurricane Alley’ — remember what happened during Hugo? All those live oaks knocked over? Now imagine them covered in oil. No.”
But while he may be against President’s Trump’s off-shore drilling ambitions, he defended the President’s recent tariff plans despite the negative impact they could potentially have on the state’s manufacturing industry.
“I am 100 percent with President Trump,” he said, adding he was “hopeful” the actions wouldn’t impact the state. “We’ve got to trust him,” he said.