SCDOT slammed by GOP Governor challengers

SCDOT slammed by GOP Governor challengers
May 16 20:59 2018 Print This Article

In the second forum this week with Republican challengers for Governor, the candidates all seized on the ineffectiveness of the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT). The forum was held Wednesday at College of Charleston, just days after a structural failure shut down a bridge connecting Mt. Pleasant and Daniel Island and clogged traffic throughout the Charleston area. The SCDOT estimated that the bridge will be closed for at least a month.

The forum was moderated by ABC News 4 morning anchor Tessa Spencer Adams and the panel consisted of College of Charleston political science professor Gibbs Knotts, WACH Fox 57 (Columbia) anchor Brian McConchie and College of Charleston student Alexandra Helfgott. The event was broadcast statewide. Conspicuous by his absence was Governor Henry McMaster, who appeared at a Mt. Pleasant Rotary Club meeting earlier in the day. McMaster also skipped a forum in Greenville on Monday.

The challengers agreed that SCDOT should be a cabinet agency without the Congressional District Commissioners, who are elected by legislators. Lieutenant Governor Kevin Bryant noted that the current structure doesn’t allow people to know who to hold accountable for the bridge failure. Former state agency director Catherine Templeton said the Governor needs to be in charge of the most important state issues – roads and education. Greenville business owner and Marine combat veteran John Warren said career politicians are not capable of making the tough decisions needed to fix the SCDOT. Former Lieutenant Governor Yancey McGill claimed that the agency has plenty of money and that the funds have been poorly managed and must be audited.

The candidates all agreed that state prison guards are underpaid and need more training, our education system needs to train students for the jobs in demand, our state needs to do more to reduce domestic violence, the utility companies must be held accountable for the failed nuclear reactor project which increased consumer bills, and that gun control won’t stop mass shootings.

There was also agreement about the need to clamp down on corruption in the state in the wake of a statewide corruption probe, leading to the indictments of several former state legislators. Several candidates pointed to McMaster’s link to Quinn and Associates, a lobbying and consulting firm at the center of the corruption investigation. Bryant said it was an insult to the people of South Carolina that former State Representative Rick Quinn “was caught selling his votes for millions of dollars and only had to pay a $1000 fine.” Warren called for stricter income disclosure requirements for public officials who receive government contracts. Templeton noted that McMaster was never elected Governor (he was promoted from Lieutenant Governor after President Donald Trump appointed Governor Nikki Haley as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations). She suggested that voters don’t know if McMaster will get indicted in the corruption probe.

The primary elections will be held Tuesday, June 12. Democrats will also have a primary for Governor with State Representative James Smith, political consultant Phil Noble and attorney Marguerite Willis. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, a runoff election will be held June 26.