Sen. Sheheen in Rock Hill: SC is ‘laughingstock’ of TV

adouglas@heraldonline.comMarch 11, 2013 

— South Carolina Democratic Sen. Vincent Sheheen stopped in Rock Hill Monday afternoon to kick off his around-the-state book tour — a move he says isn’t an indication that he’ll run for governor again.

The 41-year-old Camden politician recently self-published “The Right Way: Getting the Palmetto State Back on Track.”

In 2010, Sheheen lost to then-Rep. Nikki Haley in the S.C. governor’s race. Haley captured about 51 percent of the vote.

His new book, which is free online and at stops on his book tour, isn’t campaign material and goes beyond party politics, Sheheen said.

“I don’t know what the future holds,” he said, in reference to whether he’ll challenge Haley in 2014.

“I call this a platform for policy and a revolt against the status quo and it very much is.”

In his book, Sheheen advocates for supporting public education in S.C. — not “attacking” schools and colleges by slashing funding, he said.

Colleges need to keep tuition prices low, he writes, and the state government needs to help ensure affordability.

“Our leaders are pricing the middle class out of a college education,” he writes. “The alternative has become hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt incurred by our future workforce. This is a dumb policy.”

Sheheen’s book also suggests ways to correct crumbling infrastructure in the state.

“The truth is we have a terribly-damaged system of roads in South Carolina. And there aren’t many ideas put forth by our leaders to fix it,” he said.

Sheheen also takes on S.C.’s tax system and economic development plans in his book.

“If your only strategy for job creation is recruitment, you’re not going to get very far,” he said. “We’ve got to grow jobs from within, as well as recruit from the outside.”

Policy ideas in his book are “common sense” approaches, he said.

An “absence of leadership” in the state for the past decade has put S.C. off track and kept good policy from implementation, Sheheen said.

“It’s not whether you have more government, it’s whether or not you have effective government — that’s really what we need,” he said.

Over the past 10 years, he said, the state’s been plagued by “embarrassing incidents” and recently become the “laughingstock of late-night television.”

“We have a treasurer that went to jail for drug dealing, an agricultural secretary who went to jail for bribery, we’ve had governors under clouds of ethics violations — you can’t be successful as a state if you don’t have leaders who are responsible in moving you forward,” he said.

“I talk in the book about effective leaders we’ve seen in the past--both Republicans and Democrats--and how they moved the state forward, back in the 70s and the 80s.”

Over the next three weeks, Sheheen will take his book tour to many S.C. cities, including Myrtle Beach, Columbia, Aiken, Greenville and Spartanburg.

“This book is specifically written not about Vincent Sheheen,” he said. “It’s about the state and what we can do.”

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Anna Douglas •  803-329-4068

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