Warren takes aim at Columbia “swamp”

Warren takes aim at Columbia “swamp”
May 12 18:05 2018 Print This Article

President Donald Trump has popularized the term “Drain the Swamp” with respect to the career politicians and entrenched bureaucracies in Washington. Several candidates for state offices spoke at the Lowcountry GOP Breakfast Club at Kelly’s BBQ near Summerville and moved the swamp analogy to our state government in Columbia. The featured speaker, Governor candidate John Warren of Greenville, specifically took aim at Republican and Democrat Senate leaders Hugh Leatherman and Vincent Sheheen and said South Carolina needs new leadership.

Warren, a decorated Marine combat veteran who led more than 300 combat missions against Al Quada in Iraq, is running on his outsider status and his desire to overhaul what he views as an inefficient and ineffective state government. Two of Warren’s top policy objectives, imposing term limits on state legislators and overhauling property tax laws which punish small businesses and commercial property owners, will require a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate and a successful referendum vote in a general election. The South Carolina Governor’s office is limited to two four-year terms.

Small business is the focus of Warren’s campaign. After his four-year stint as a Marine officer, Warren was told at several job interviews that he lacked “real-world” experience. With experience in the real estate business, Warren decided to start his own company, Lima One Capital, which loans money to real estate investors. The business now has more than one billion dollars in capital investment. Warren often hires fellow veterans, stating that their military skills, leadership and values “improve the culture and profitability of the company.”

Warren criticized state bureaucracies for limiting opportunities for its citizens. He said, “South Carolina’s people are God-fearing, hard-working, honest and conservative. Columbia is the antithesis of that.” He noted that South Carolina spends more than $13,000 per student on K-12 education, yet ranks at the bottom in student achievement. He wants at least 70% of education spending going to the classroom and less on highly-paid bureaucrats. He also wants to expand school choice opportunities for parents, stating, “No parent should have to send a child to a failing school.”

Citing the recent $4 Billion in debt incurred by state-owned utility Santee-Cooper, Warren said he would fire the entire board and replace the members with people who have experience in the utility industry and finance. He said most of the board members are large political donors with no relevant qualifications. The Santee-Cooper board recently allowed the CEO responsible for the $4 Billion debt to retire with an annual $800,000 state pension. Warren also said our state highway system has the second-highest cost per mile for paving roads in the country and says it needs to be overhauled.

There will be two Republican Gubernatorial debates next week – Monday at 7 pm live-streaming on Greenville’s 106.3 WORD radio and Wednesday at 7 pm live on Charleston’s WCIV-TV (ABC News 4), WACH Fox 57 in Columbia, WPDE in Myrtle Beach, and WLOS in Asheville.