Politics & Government

More jobs, better schools top goals in District 29 race

Editor's Note: This is one in a series of articles looking at local races in Tuesday's election.

Job creation and better schools are among the issues being touted by the two Gaffney men vying for the District 29 seat in the state House of Representatives in Tuesday's election.

Democrat Dennis Moss and Republican Danny Stacy are running for the seat held by Dewitt McCraw, who did not seek re-election.

The district, one of the largest in the state spanning 85 miles, consists of parts of Cherokee, Chester and York counties.

Moss, 52, is concerned with creating jobs.

"The factories are closing, and we need to replace them with other industries," he said.

Moss wants to develop a comprehensive economic development plan to take an in-depth look at Cherokee, Chester and York counties to evaluate where each county is as opposed to where it needs to be to attract industry and other jobs.

"I want our citizens to be able to have jobs locally which will help the tax base," Moss said. "The unemployment rate is too high. It flows between 5 and 7 percent. If you're that person who is unemployed, it's 100 percent in your family."

Moss also wants to initiate a program geared to teacher recruitment.

"We need to recruit teachers in college," Moss said. "This program is critical if our public schools are to move forward and become stronger in the future. You can't have good education without having good teachers. That's where it starts."

Stacy, 63, also is concerned with the fate of education for South Carolina children. He contends better educated students play a role in growing the state's industry.

"We live in a highly competitive economy," Stacy said. "We're going to have to educate our children so that they will be able to go out and do those jobs."

He said the quest for a better education starts with improving the educational system statewide.

"We need to put more money in the classroom for the teachers because that's where education takes place," he said

Teachers' pay also plays a role, Stacy said.

"In order to attract good teachers, we're going to have to pay them well," Stacy said. "We can't attract the teachers we need with mediocre pay scales."

Stacy said students and teachers should not foot the school supply bill.

"I'm suggesting each school system buy supplies rather than teachers buying them out of their pockets or students going out having to sell gift wrap, greeting cards and fruit," Stacy said. "Children shouldn't have to go out and do that."

Stacy also takes issue with property taxes.

"With the escalating property taxes we currently have, elderly or people on a fixed income are being taxed out of their homes," Stacy said. "We need to totally eliminate the property tax on people's primary dwelling. The place where you lay your head at night, you should not have to rent it from the county."

Instead, Stacy suggested incorporating a sales or consumption tax to foot the county's operating expenses. "It's a basic economy theory: The more goods and services a person purchases, the more sales tax he would pay."

While both men want to earmark money for road improvement, they differ on school vouchers. Moss said he is against vouchers, while Stacy said he is willing to look at vouchers and "any viable option" to improve education.