State and local leaders have praised the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce’s decision to honor State Rep. Gary Simril with the organization’s 2017 Public Servant of the Year award.
Simrill, , R-Rock Hill, and majority leader of the S.C. House of Representatives, pushed for a new gas tax to pay for road repairs. A new gas tax increase, which began this summer, is expected to raise roughly $630 million a year to repair state roads.
The gas tax increase will top out at 12-cents-on-the-gallon in five years, eventually rising to 28.75 cents per gallon in 2022.
Simrill received the award earlier this week at the 38th South Carolina Chamber of Commerce Annual Summit on Kiawah Island.
State Chamber President and CEO Ted Pitts said Simrill’s leadership brings policymakers together.
“We now have a long-term, sustainable solution for our state’s roads and bridges,” Pitts said. “It was an easy decision to name Representative Simrill the Chamber’s 2017 Public Servant of the Year. South Carolina’s business community thanks him.”
House Speaker Jay Lucas, R-Darlington, said Simrill was a “true leader” for the state. Winthrop Board of Trustees member Kathy Bigham called Simrill “rock solid” and a leader she could go to in order to help get work done.
S.C. Rep. Tommy Pope, R-York, said Simrill was effective because of his character, calling Simrill a consensus-builder.
“He’s a man of integrity and character,” he said.