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.