Last week was a busy week in Columbia and it’s certainly been a hectic time in Washington, but what you might not know is how the actions of your state lawmakers last week could ultimately affect the constant debate on spending in our Nation’s Capitol.
Legislators returned to Columbia last week to finalize work on the all-important redistricting process that occurs once every ten years. This year especially, due to the addition of a new 7th Congressional District in South Carolina, this process proved to be time-intensive as lawmakers spent months traveling the state receiving public input on where the State House, State Senate and Congressional districts would be placed.
After the House and Senate passed two separate, but different congressional maps, legislative leadership went to work to reach an agreement on where the new 7th Congressional District would be placed. I’m pleased to report that after much work, both bodies agreed to the proposal and the General Assembly approved this map, which anchors the new 7th Congressional District in the Pee Dee and Grand Strand Regions of the state.
I can personally say that the members of the General Assembly showed remarkable dedication to draft a plan that truly reflects each and every region’s best interests, while adhering to a strict set of criteria rooted in judicial precedent for the reapportionment process. And, that the Governor did not hesitate to act on the legislature’s redistricting bill, signing the bill into law just a few days ago.
So, what does all of this have to do with Washington?
This past November, 76 Republicans were elected to the General Assembly, growing our majority in Columbia to its largest margin ever. Soon after, we quickly went to work, passing our largest, most comprehensive conservative agenda to date and passing a conservative budget focusing on our core government functions and paying down our state’s debt. And, of course, our Republican House members were dedicated to drawing a congressional redistricting map that would best serve the needs of their constituents and serving as their community’s voice in that process.
Because your Republican leaders in both the House and Senate were able to work together on a proposal that both bodies could agree upon, it greatly reduces the chance that this process would be decided by unelected judges rather than elected representatives of the people.
Given the never-ending debate in Washington over out-of-control spending and raising the debt ceiling, it’s important to see how something as routine as redrawing congressional lines may affect something as critical as our Nation’s financial solvency. Now, with the addition of a new 7th Congressional District and a new Congressman elected in 2012, South Carolina will become an integrally bigger part in the outcome of these important issues. Passing a redistricting plan in Columbia last week brought South Carolina one step closer to having an even stronger voice in Washington.
With the redistricting process now complete, your House Republicans will be busy at work in our districts and preparing for session to reconvene in January.
In the off-session, we’ll continue to update you on the latest news on redistricting and the reforms we’re continuing to work on. Don’t forget, you can always get the latest news via the Speaker’s Facebook Page and following the Speaker’s Twitter Feed, and see what your House Republican Caucus is up to via the SC House GOP Facebook Page and the Caucus Twitter Feed.
Thank you for letting your voice be heard this session, and I hope you’ll continue to stay involved in your government as we move forward.
I hope you and your family continue to have a wonderful summer. As always, please let me know if I can ever be of assistance.
SC Speaker of the House