Opinion

Gullick for District 48

In the Republican primary for the District 48 seat in the state House of Representatives, we endorse Carl Gullick.

Gullick, 55, the incumbent, is opposed by Kyle Boyd, 33, a political newcomer from Fort Mill. With no Democrats running, the primary will determine the winner of this election.

District 48 includes most of Fort Mill, Tega Cay, Lake Wylie and the northern part of Rock Hill. Gullick, president of a Lake Wylie consulting firm, is running for his second term.

Gullick is well known in York County for his eight years of service as chairman of the York County Council, from 1993 to 2001. As council chairman, Gullick played a key role in promoting sensible land use, ushering in the "Pennies for Progress" road projects, dealing with county water and sewer issues and getting contentious council members from both parties to work together.

Gullick has brought the same independence and good sense to the job of state representative. He opposed Act 388, which substituted a penny sales tax for local property taxes to fund school operations statewide. Gullick notes that fast-growing school districts such as Rock Hill's and Fort Mill's suffer from the system. He would prefer to have uniform per-student funding, which would more accurately reflect the size of the districts.

He thinks the state should invest more in higher education and laments that, while research institutions with endowed chairs do well each year, others, such as Winthrop University, get little or nothing.

He voted for the state immigration bill. But, he said, until the nation does something to secure entry points, all the state can do is discourage illegal immigrants from coming here.

Gullick voted to increase the state cigarette tax. He also favored using the revenues to help fund Medicaid and health insurance for lower-income workers.

Boyd, his opponent, calls himself a "true conservative" who hews closely to the agenda of Gov. Mark Sanford. He labels Gullick a "RINO" -- or "Republican In Name Only." Boyd said he would have voted against the increase in the cigarette tax, saying any tax increase runs against his conservative philosophy.

Boyd, who is founder and principal of Walnut Grove Christian School in Charlotte, favors using tax credits to provide money for tuition at private schools. Gullick opposes diverting any public funds to private school tuition.

The use of public money for private schools is a key issue in this race. Boyd has received $2,000 from organizations connected with Howard Rich, a New York multimillionaire who is one of the nation's most avid proponents of vouchers or tax credits. Boyd also is backed by South Carolinians for Responsible Government, a conservative Columbia-based interest group targeting Gullick and other moderate legislators around the state -- most of whom oppose vouchers. Mailers and phone calls criticizing Gullick's record were paid for by SCRG.

Gullick is a sensible, moderate conservative. His biggest donation, $5,000, came from the state Republican caucus, which is made up of most, if not all, Republican House members. And he has been endorsed by state Sen. Wes Hayes, R-Rock Hill.

Gullick also has received the endorsement of the League of Conservation Voters, and the S.C. School Boards Association.

We think it is important to return able, moderate lawmakers with strong local ties to the Legislature. We strongly support Gullick in this race.

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