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Letter to the Editor

Sen. Massey: "Our Work Begins in Columbia"

web posted January 22, 2008
Dear Editor,

Many of you have asked me what the first week or two has been like for a newly minted South Carolina Senator.

In the Senate, there’s no question that things move swiftly, and you have to be able to juggle a lot of information, pay close attention to what’s going on, and give careful consideration to every bill.  It’s a challenge, to be sure, but it’s a challenge that I am enjoying – mainly because I can represent you.

On the opening day of the Legislative Session, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer swore me in. (It’s actually my third swearing-in because the Senators want to see you sworn in as well.)  In my comments after the brief ceremony, I told the Senators that the frustration voters have been expressing in the country’s presidential primaries isn’t limited to national elections.  The citizens in South Carolina feel the same frustration – that our state government is missing the mark in many areas, as well.

When I talk with voters, I hear that frustration directly.  It’s time to fix it.

That’s why the first bill I introduced will ensure we all know which Legislator wants to earmark money for a pet project back home.  Don’t misunderstand: Some projects in this category are needed and necessary.  However, under our current laws, we don’t know exactly who is asking for funding and whether the project is worthwhile.

It’s called accountability.  We need more of it in state government. 

Also during the opening session, I was appointed to five committees: Judiciary; Fish, Game, and Forestry; Corrections and Penology; Rules; and the Senate’s General Committee.  I told the committee chairmen that I wanted to get to work, so they appointed me to several subcommittees.

The most significant appointment is the Judiciary subcommittee that is considering new, tougher DUI legislation.  Our law enforcement and prosecutors do great work, but our DUI laws are among the weakest in the nation.  Current laws are full of legal loopholes, making it extremely difficult to keep drunk drivers off our roadways.  We deserve better laws in this area, and I’m committed to doing my best to make that happen.

There’s plenty of other legislation in front of us – immigration reform, regulation of payday lenders, government spending restrictions.  We’ll talk about those and other issues in future communications.

Speaking of communications, I know being a good representative requires more than just getting involved in bills and committees; it also requires being accessible and helping you when issues arise.

As I said during the campaign, I am scheduling regular town hall meetings to stay in touch with you. 

We’re working on dates and locations right now, but I plan to hold the first of many town halls in the next few weeks.  You’ll see plenty of advertisements when I schedule these in your area, and I encourage you to attend.

In the meantime, you can always contact me by telephone (803-480-0419), email (shanemassey@scsenate.org), or regular mail (P.O. Box 551, Edgefield, SC 29824).  Or just pull me aside when you see me.

Being your Senator is an honor.  This position I hold is yours, not mine.  Together, we have an opportunity to create better government for us all. 

Our work has just begun.

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