Miller Bucks Conservatives

County GOP News
May 1, 2008

In the following letter published in yesterday's Georgetown Times, Katon Dawson, Chairman of the S.C. Republican Party, sets the record straight concerning Democrat politician Vida Miller's
"radically liberal record."

Republican Jill Kelso is the one to represent Georgetown County's conservative values in Columbia.

Miller Bucks Conservatives

Vida Miller's supporter from the Upstate, liberal Oconee Democrat activist Mike Evatt, quoted me out of context in his recent letter to the editor. So let me today set the record straight: State Rep. Vida Miller's radically liberal record make her wrong for House District 108.

House District 108 constituents support the conservative reform agenda of fiscal responsibility that Republicans in Columbia are fighting for. They voted overwhelmingly to re-elect Gov. Mark Sanford in 2006. Yet Rep. Miller bucks conservatives in the General Assembly time after time. She voted against state spending caps that would have required Columbia politicians to make tax cuts a priority if revenue exceeds a state spending limit. She would rather give excess government revenue to Columbia bureaucrats instead of returning it to hardworking taxpayers. And Rep. Miller voted to kill a resolution that would have stated the General Assembly's firm support for South Carolina's right-to-work laws. Fortunately, there were many more pro-business legislators than Rep. Miller's small minority of labor union apologists.

This year, Georgetown County voters have an opportunity to replace Vida Miller with a leader who will actually represent their values in Columbia. I hope they will do so.

Katon Dawson
Chairman, S.C. Republican Party

Sanford Needs Kelso, says GOP Chairman

County GOP News
April 28, 2008

The article below from last week's Pawleys Island Coastal Observer highlights liberal Democrat Vida Miller's extremely poor record of supporting Governor Mark Sanford's ongoing efforts to cut wasteful spending from the state budget- a budget that has grown a whopping 41% over the last three years.

The South Carolina Club for Growth, "a group of citizens dedicated to expanding the prosperity of working families through the Reagan Doctrine of lower taxes, smaller government and strong free enterprise," compiled a "Lard List" of the 50 most egregious "pork" projects contained within the 2007 state budget.

Vida Miller supported all 50 of the pork barrel projects, giving her according to the Club for Growth, "the worst record in the House."

Click here to see an overview of the Lard List spending projects.

The Club for Growth also does annual voting scorecards for House and Senate members. With 100 being the top score, Miller earned only a 7.61 ("F") in 2005-2006 and just a 3 ("F") in 2007.

Click here to see House and Senate members' voting records in support of Governor Sanford's budget vetoes and their scorecards.

Politics: District 108
Sanford Needs Kelso, says GOP Chairman

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer- April 24, 2008

Electing a Republican in House District 108 will give the party control over key appointments to local boards and provide another vote to help Gov. Mark Sanford's efforts to cut government spending, the chairman of the Georgetown County GOP told party members this week.

"It's a really important race," the chairman, Tom Swatzel, said.

Jill Kelso of Murrells Inlet is running to replace the incumbent Democrat, Vida Miller.

Miller chairs the county's state legislative delegation, which includes Republicans Sen. Ray Cleary and two Democrats, Sen. Yancey McGill of Kingstree and Rep. Carl Anderson of Georgetown.

If elected, "Jill and Sen. Cleary would control the delegation because of weighted voting. We would have control over these appointments," Swatzel said.

The delegation nominates members of the Georgetown County Water and Sewer District board and appoints members of the County Transportation Committee and Election Commission, among others.

"Everything we can do here is controlled by the General Assembly," Swatzel, a former County Council member, said.

He told party members he wants to get more information out about Miller's voting record on state spending. He cited figures compiled by the S.C. Club for Growth, a group that supports tax cuts and spending cuts, that show Miller rarely votes to sustain Sanford's budget vetoes.

"We need to give him some help up there," Swatzel said. "Vida Miller is not helping. Admittedly some of our Republicans are not helping."

Of 407 vetoes between 2004 and 2007, Miller only voted to sustain eight, according to Swatzel. She earned an F on the Club of Growth's legislative scorecard last year. So did 71 of the other 124 members of the House. Of the 46 members of the Senate, 32 received F's on the club's scorecard, including Cleary, who is unopposed for a second term.

Miller, reached by phone in Columbia, said the estimate of her votes sounded accurate, and that most of Sanford's vetoes are overturned.

"I vote with the Republican Party," Miller said. "The governor does not have the support of his party to sustain the vetoes."

That's at odds with the support Sanford, a former congressman from the 1st District, has on Waccamaw Neck. He won 70 percent of the vote in 2006, Swatzel said.

"If you support Mark Sanford, you've got to support Jill Kelso," Swatzel told party members.

He drew chuckles from the audience as he read from the list of items that Sanford has vetoed, like a pottery degree program at Piedmont Technical College, a museum in Florence, cultural centers and several festivals. Actually, the festivals were funded through a $35.3 million competitive grants program that the governor opposes, Swatzel said.

He cited earmarks in the appropriations bill that passed the House this year: $1.5 million for the Center for Ethical Leadership in Spartanburg, $850,000 for a fishing tournament in Greenville, and $500,000 to "dredge mud from a lake."

All three were sponsored by GOP House members, according to legislative records. The bass tournament funds were added to the budget by the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.

The "mud" in the lake is silt that has formed around the intake for the water supply for the city of Laurens.

"These are specific projects that our constituents have asked us to support," Miller said.

She pointed out that she has voted to override vetoes of funding for the Waccamaw Higher Education Center of Coastal Carolina University in Litchfield, beach renourishment, and the McClellanville Arts Council.

To sustain the vetoes "I think is contrary to what your constituents want you to do," Miller said.

But Swatzel said local Republicans need to stand up for fiscal responsibility. "We need to work hard to change this if we believe in lower taxes and limited spending," he said.

Kelso said afterward that "Gov. Sanford's in the right arena as far as limiting spending."

She believes the support he won from area voters is a mandate to do that.

But Kelso said she can't commit to supporting every budget item Sanford vetoes. Of the Waccamaw Higher Education Center, she noted, "Coastal Carolina always gets the short end of the stick."

Kelso said she would like more attention paid to putting a satellite campus of the university in Georgetown County.

Swatzel says Republicans have shot at winning

By Scott Harper
Georgtown Times- April, 4, 2008

Firing up the female Republican base -- that was the goal of Georgetown County Republican Party Chairman Tom Swatzel when he spoke to the Georgetown County Republican Club at a luncheon in Litchfield Thursday.

"We need more help at the precinct level," Swatzel said, encouraging the two dozen women in attendance to volunteer to help the GOP candidates this year.

"Walk through your neighborhoods and introduce (the candidates) to your neighbors," Swatzel suggested. "Write letters to the editors about how you think things should be. We need to get our message out."

Swatzel reminded the gathering the Republicans will have a primary on June 10 in the Georgetown County Sheriff's race between incumbent Lane Cribb and newcomer Jay High. There also will be a primary for the House of Representatives District 1 between incumbent Henry Brown and newcomers Katherine Jenerette and Paul Norris.

Republican Lindsey Graham faces Buddy Witherspoon on the June 10 GOP Primary ballot.

Swatzel said the Georgetown County Council special election for District 5 is important because this could be the year that Republicans gain a majority of council seats.

He said he feels Republicans "have a good shot" of winning that seat that has been held by Democrat Sel Hemingway who had to resign when he was hired as the new county administrator.

Swatzel also took a few minutes to talk about the importance of helping Jill Kelso defeat Democrat Vida Miller for the S.C. House 108 Seat.

"Right now there are three Democrats and one Republican on the local Legislative Delegation. They make a lot of decisions and appointments to boards and commissions. It's important that we get Sen. Ray Cleary some help on the Delegation," Swatzel said.

He said Kelso, unlike Miller, will vote to uphold Gov. Mark Sanford's vetoes on wasteful budget items.

He said Sanford is very popular on the Waccamaw Neck where he received 70-percent of the vote in 2006.

"He is very good at going through the budget and looking for wasteful spending and I say good for him," Swatzel said. "Vida Miller hurts Mark Sanford because her voting record of upholding his vetoes is zero. We need to help Governor Sanford by electing Jill Kelso."

Swatzel also repeated his disappointment that the Georgetown County School Board elections will now be nonpartisan.

He said he was surprised the Georgetown County Democratic Party did not join the local GOP in calling for the elections to remain partisan.

"This leads me to conclude that they do not feel they are relevant in this election. I know we are relevant and we will make a difference," Swatzel said.