Local legislators were optimistic Monday when they talked about business opportunities in York County at an annual legislative luncheon hosted by the York County Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Theron Pickens, chairman of the chamber, said the annual luncheon is an opportunity for local businesspeople and legislators to communicate transparently about their concerns. And he said it's obvious the legislators in attendance take the concerns seriously.
"They've got their hands full," Pickens said.
He said the lunch, sponsored by Carowinds and Comporium, gave York County residents an opportunity to hear about the "critical issues" lawmakers in the York County delegation are concentrating on.
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"We don't see that when we're in our own cocoon," he said.
U.S. Representative Ralph Norman, R-Rock Hill, spoke at the luncheon and said he believes recent tax cuts will, and already are, having a positive impact on local businesses.
He said local businesses will especially benefit from government cutting regulations, something he said is important to him.
"This president is cutting regulations for everyone," Norman said.
He said his legislative priorities in the coming year, if re-elected, will be creating term limits, stopping congressional retirees from accessing perks and balancing the national budget.
"I wasn't sent to Congress to bankrupt the county," he said.
And Norman said getting the chance to talk with residents is important to him.
"Before I got this job I didn't realize that we could affect so many people in so many ways," he said.
Norman said he and his staff are in office to serve the community, and urged locals to give him a call.
S.C. Sen. Wes Climer said there have been several big changes the business community should celebrate.
He said legislation changed the framework for construction to reduce activists' ability to slow construction with frivolous lawsuits.
South Carolina representatives also spoke about tax reform and education during the luncheon.
"We have a pocket of educational excellence in York County," S.C. Rep. Raye Felder said.
She said this comes from community and parental support and strong school boards. She said she hopes to replicate school success throughout South Carolina.
And S.C. Rep. John King said legislature must focus on increasing teacher pay, but he said he is confident in the York County delegation.
"We have a very strong delegation," King said. "And our voices are strongly heard."
Norman said many constituents have asked him how it's possible to get anything done in Washington when everyone seems to disagree.
But he said lawmakers take time to come together.
Norman said the press never reports on it, but every day, lawmakers get together to pray — "Democrat, Republican, black and white."
And once a week, lawmakers get together for Bible study, he said.
"Those are the good things happening in Washington D.C.," Norman said. "And the only way we're going to get a meeting of minds is through prayer."