August 30, 2014

GOP Big Bang BBQ

Patriotic_USA_Funny_American_Barbecue_Clipart-1

You’re invited to the

GOP Big Bang BBQ

with Keynote Speaker

Governor Rick Perry

Special Guest Governor Nikki Haley

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Miler Country Club

400 Country Club Blvd

Summerville, SC

Proud Republican Admission $50

Proud Republican doors open at 6:00 PM

VIP Reception and Admission $100

VIP Reception begins at 6:00 PM and program begins at 7:00 PM

Dress is Lowcountry Casual

Cash Bar Available

Contact: Jordan 843-330-8783 for more information and Event Host opportunities.

A message from Representative Mark Sanford.

MarkSanfordBanner

Message from Mark

I hope the start of your summer is treating you well.

It’s my favorite time of year, and as we both know this stretch at its start is particularly beautiful in the Lowcountry given its good breezes and it’s not yet too warm. Makes me want to hurry south each weekend, but in the meantime I just wanted to take a moment to share some interesting things that have been happening here in Congress.

The most recent political news obviously surrounds Eric Cantor’s loss in Virginia. It was significant in two ways. One, it is a reminder that for all our feelings of frustration at times on the difficulty of change, here was a guy who had a campaign budget of only $200,000 while Cantor raised over $5.5 million in this election cycle…and lost. It says each of us has more voice in our political system than we might believe – accordingly, it’s vital that each one of us make it a point to make our voice heard. From a political perspective, I think it derails the prospect of immigration reform which had been growing steam over the last few months.

The other big political news has been continued meltdown in Washington in the way that the federal government is meant to serve the people. I hear over and over again at home that people feel like the President has become imperial in his attitude, and has grown to little regard the Constitutional checks and balances in place with the Congress and Judicial branch. It increasingly looks like there will be a consequence to this in November, but in the meantime revelations from the IRS or VA serve to heighten people’s distrust of their government.

I came here to impact government’s growth and spending, and on many subjects I pray the Irish prayer each day in asking God to give me the wisdom to fight the things I can change, leave alone the things I can’t – and the wisdom to know the difference. In this vein we recognized early on that structural change could come to the NSA through a series of rifle shot reforms and accordingly I originally introduced in HR 3436 a reform that would give independence to the Inspector General at the National Security Agency. I am pleased to say it was included in the Intelligence Authorization Act, which passed the House. While I had some bigger concerns which led me to ultimately oppose the final bill, and I think there’s still further to go on reforming the NSA (you can read more on that here), our bill and its adoption, represents a win for liberty and better oversight at the NSA.

Important to Charleston and Harbor deepening, the President just signed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), which funds water infrastructure spending. I think the bill’s approach was important in the way they did it, as it was built on reestablishing the balance of power between the executive branch and Congress. For more thoughts on the details, click here.

Finally, last week another item I have been working on passed out of the Homeland Security Committee in the House. It’s another rifle shot, and this case only saves $17 million, but a journey of a million miles begins with those little first steps. Our bill would end a practice at the Transportation Security Administration where employees are paid higher wages for skills they don’t use. It’s a common sense idea that is predicated on the simple notion of paying people for the work they do instead of the work they could do. Click here for more on this.

It will be a busy summer with the House tackling many more spending bills and associated amendments over the next few months, and I’ll keep you posted as things develop. In the meantime, I wanted to share a few comments on votes I took over the last few months and some other things we’ve been working on in the Lowcountry. Additionally, this May marked one year since we took office! I’m grateful for the opportunity to represent the First District, and I’d encourage you to check out a quick summary of our first twelve months by clicking here. As always, if you have any questions or thoughts, please take a moment and email me by clicking here.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Take good care,

Mark

Primary Election Results

Primary Election Results

The official results for Charleston County can be downloaded by clicking this link PrimaryResultsChasCty

Graham for Senate Campaign Info

With the June 10th Republican Primary just 32 days away, we need volunteers to help spread Senator Graham’s conservative message today!

Here are some ways that you can get involved with the campaign:
Place a yard sign in your yard
Volunteer at a phone bank at your local Team Graham office
Call voters using our Team Graham “call from home” system
Write a letter to the editor supporting Senator Graham
Distribute literature door-to-door in your neighborhood
Help distribute yard signs in your area
Contact friends and family online via email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Volunteer at a campaign event
To get involved, sign up here. You can also drop by one of our local campaign offices in Clemson, Greenville, Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston and Myrtle Beach (addresses available here).

We hope to hear from you today!

Tyson
Tyson Grinstead
Political Director

P.S. It’s crunch time. Will you volunteer an hour of your time to help Senator Graham?

Dues Notice

3/28/2014

DUES         NOTICE.

The very first qualification to be designated as a “member in good standing” and therefore be able to serve as precinct officer as well as state convention delegate is having paid your annual dues.

Dues are due during April.  The amount due is the same this year as last—$35.00.

They can be paid online at Charlestongop.org.  Once on the site, choose “DUES” and choose to use your PayPal account or the credit card alternative offered.  IF POSSIBLE, INCLUDE YOUR PRECINCT INFORMATION.

They can be paid by cash or check at the county meeting by handing your payment to one of the leaders.  BE SURE TO GIVE YOUR PRECINCT INFORMATION.

Checks can also be mailed to me at 1551 Ben Sawyer Blvd., unit 1i, Mt Pleasant, SC  29464.          AGAIN, PRECINCT INFO PLEASE.

Thank you in advance for your timely cooperation and your loyal support.

 

Roger O’Sullivan, Treas.

704 547 4011

Mark Sanford Year in Review

Sanford

 

Shareholders’ Annual Review & Rating

It’s hard to believe we’re already a month into 2014, but it has indeed been a busy first month! Before we go too much further, just as businesses give their shareholders an annual review of their performance, I wanted to share an “end of the year” review of all that we worked on in the months we have had in Washington.

Here are a few of the debates and issues that have marked our time in DC since May:

• The Ryan-Murray budget deal: In December, Congress passed a budget deal which was followed by an omnibus spending bill just a few weeks ago. Both agreements removed tools for financial discipline that were already in place, while increasing spending now and promising to pay for it later. I wasn’t convinced that this was the best approach, and opposed both pieces of legislation.

• The government shutdown: The shutdown was in many ways the biggest news story in Washington over the last couple of months. I laid out my concerns with the broken budget process in Congress and the constitutional implications of the way the Affordable Health Care Act was being implemented in a few newsletters (which you can read here and here). I also objected to Congress writing the White House a blank check for raising the debt ceiling, and spoke on the House floorabout my concerns that the executive branch was overstepping its authority in a number of ways during the shutdown.

• The NSA and civil liberties: As information has trickled out over the last few months about ways the National Security Agency is overstepping their Constitutional limits, I took action and introduced a bill with over 30 of my colleagues that would bring reform to the NSA. I also joined the fight to protect civil liberties by signing on to an amicus brief requesting the release of secret court opinions regarding surveillance requests, and co-sponsored the LIBERT-E Act and the USA Freedom Act.

• The Farm Bill: Over the summer, the House took up a new Farm Bill which sought to eliminate direct subsidies to farmers, but the resulting crop insurance program could end up costing taxpayers a whole lot more because crop prices are at historic highs – when they drop to the average from here, taxpayers will be on the hook. In the first few weeks of 2014, Congress again took up this issue, and I wrote here about why I still don’t think this final version of the Farm Bill went far enough in addressing this and other problems.

• Flood insurance: Many in the Lowcountry have contacted me regarding how reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program made by the Biggert-Waters Act of 2012 are going to affect them. In most cases, the changes in premiums have been sudden and drastic, leading myself and others in Congress to work towards reforming the program. While Biggert-Waters was well-intentioned, I think the government needs to give people time to adapt to these sorts of changes. To this end, I co-sponsored the Homeowner’s Flood Insurance Affordability Act because it provided a path to continue the conversation about how to mitigate these effects while still bringing needed change to the NFIP.

• Syria: When questions arose over the use of force in Syria in early September, I spoke out against it (click here and here to see those interviews) and signed onto legislation that would require the executive branch to consult with Congress before taking any military actions.

• WRRDA: I supported the Water Resources Reform and Development Actbecause it took important steps not only for infrastructure, but for ensuring that Congress, not the executive branch, is in charge of determining spending priorities. The bill passed without earmarks and was a good first step toward building a strong system for developing and funding projects like the harbor deepening at the Port of Charleston.

• Local Issues: Though it’s been a point of some contention over the last few weeks, I ultimately think the idea of representation means hearing from the people you work for and being active and vocal on the issues they care about. As such, after hearing overwhelmingly from people all around the Lowcountry, I voiced my opposition to removing the trees on I-26 and to giving special treatment to one business over others as we’re seeing with the proposed Bass Pro Shops in North Charleston.

While this is by no means an exhaustive list of the many things we worked on over the last few months, I think it touches upon some of the particularly relevant issues to the Lowcountry. There are many issues we’ll be grappling with ahead, many of which the President touched on in his State of the Union last Tuesday night. While I was encouraged to see that we share some common themes, I wrote here about my concerns that the President is taking all too short a view of our nation’s financial future.

Ultimately, however, that’s a conversation for another newsletter! In the meantime, if you have thoughts on what we’ve been working on or any questions or concerns, please reach out by emailing me here. Also in this year, I want to do a better job of connecting with the people I represent, and for that reason, I’d hope that you’d forward this newsletter along to your friends or family who may be interested! If this newsletter was passed along to you, you can sign up to get my monthly newsletter by clicking here.


Take care,

Mark Sanford
Beaufort Office

710 Boundary Street, Suite 1D
Beaufort, SC 29902
Phone: (843) 521-2530
Fax: (843) 521-2535

Mt. Pleasant Office

530 Johnnie Dodds Blvd. #201
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
Phone: (843) 352-7572
Fax: (843) 352-7620

Washington, DC Office

322 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-3176
Fax: (202) 225-3407

Voter outreach Software – Gravity

By Chairman John Steinberger
One of the lessons learned from the 2012 Presidential election is that the Republican Party lags behind the Democrats in the ability to target its voters and get them out to the polls.  We must close the “technology gap” to maximize our voter turnout and capture State House and County Council seats currently held by Democrats.

We learned during the special election for Senate District 42 in 2013 that our GOP Data Base program is out of date and doesn’t capture many Republican voters who are new to the area.  The list is based on people who vote in Republican primaries, and we noted that our listed included many Democrats who vote in Republican primaries.

While we understand that the Republican National Committee is working on software that can be loaded on tablets and smart phones, it is not yet available to us.  We have decided to do a one-month free trial with an application called VoterGravity, which was successfully tested in several “purple counties” in the 2012 Presidential election as well as in Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s successful Recall election.

VoterGravity will enable us to equip up to 25 volunteers at a time with paperless walk lists which we can load on tablets and smart phones (no more clipboards).  It will also allow us to do phone-banking from home, conduct and compile data from voter surveys and capture voter contact information so we can send them text and e-mail messages.

I look forward to testing out the VoterGravity software during our Saturday precinct walks in support of our candidates for House District 119, House District 116 and County Council District 8.  We will soon be able to hold webinar training on this system for all Charleston County Republicans who are interested.  Look forward to working with you on more effective voter outreach!

To find out more about VoterGravity visit their website http://votergravity.com/features/

Common Core – Letter to the Editor

LETTER TO EDITOR –POST AND COURIER

12/26/2013

Re:The op ed article posted by Miss Strauss in your December 27th edition.

Miss Strauss has attempted to clarify some of the mysteries surrounding common core (CCSS), but has fallen short on supporting information on some of her assertions.

On myth #1: The standards were written by a co. named Achieve, Inc. who received a grant of $60 million from the Gates Foundation to do so.  To create the appearance of state and local education involvement Achieve enlisted the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) as partners in name only.  These two are trade associations having no grant of authority from the states to be involved in standards writing of any kind.  The connection was easily made by Achieve’s president Michael Cohen who worked for the (NGA) from 1985 to 1990.  Mr Cohen also worked for the US Department of Education (USDoE) from 1990 to 2003.

The US Board of Education (USDoE) began offering Race to The Top (RTTP) grants before any standards were drafted revealing their direct knowledge, support and involvement in the project. And now, the USDoE makes naked threats to cut off $billions in title I funds if states do not toe the mark in implementing CCSS.  And it was the USDoE who paid two assessment companies closely tied to Achieve, Inc. $360 million to help write the standards and to create the assessment tests to measure compliance and student (teacher) performance.

To say the Federal Government is not deeply involved in this takeover of state education is misinformed at best and naïve at worst.

 

On Myth #2: I concur.  Resistance is coming from every direction.  And this is because the program is deeply flawed.  There were no teachers or education professors present when the CCSS were written behind closed doors.  The standards as written (and for the first time in history copyrighted by NGA and CCSSO) have been weakened instead of made more rigorous. Members of the validation committee who were recruited to review and approve the standards refused to certify them.  Prof. Sandra Stotsky (author of the renowned Massachusetts state standards) stated that the english language arts standards would result in 12th grade graduating students reading at a seventh grade level.  Professor James Millgram (math professor at Stanford University) similarly would not certify, stating that the (CCSS) mathematics standards would set students in America two years behind competing higher level countries by the eighth grade.

 

On myth #3:  I concur that the assessment tests will fall far short of expectations, but not for lack of money.  The USBoE has paid the two testing consortiums a total of $360 million to develop the tests. And the testing entities even sat in on the closed door standard writing sessions.  The tests are to be “computer adaptive”.  That means that the way one answers questions on the fly, changes the future questions presented.  This to adapt the test to the students’ abilities.  Highly complicated endeavors.

This also means that the tests given to various students will be essentially different tests.  So much for comparability among any groups of students let alone comparability among states.

 

On Myth #4:  The facts are correct, but the conclusions drawn fall a bit short. The reading of one dimensional materials (manuals, reports, government documents, menus, song lyrics, etc.) deprive students of materials through which they learn to read critically and TO WRITE INTELLIGENTLY.   Flat word reading contains no complex sentence formations which need to be learned for use later as material for the students’ composition work.  There is no hyperbole or double entendre or allusions or alliterations, etc in manuals or government documents.  Moreover, passing government documents through the reading requirements opens up a potential “propaganda pipeline” for use by the unscrupulous.

 

On Myth #5:  CCSS will not save money for anyone.  The latest estimate of new costs for states to fully implement CCSS is $16 billion over 7 years, $7 billion on tech. costs in the first two years.  Whence the interest from the Gates Foundation???  These are all UNFUNDED MANDATES.  The comparable costs for South Carolina are $275million and $154 million.

 

We all truly appreciate Ms Strauss writing on the topic and hope she will continue to research and publish in the near future.

 

Roger O’Sullivan, Chairman

Greater Charleston Parents Involved in Education

Ben Sawyer Blvd, Mt Pleasant, SC

The Senate Finance Committee needs to support Investment Commission Reform

SCPensions

 

It has been revealed that the South Carolina Retirement System Investment Commission has been failing to serve the interests of the retirees of South Carolina. This pension board pay the highest percentage of fees in the country, which ultimately could cost both retirees and taxpayers.

Last year alone, South Carolina spent $427.5 in fees, which is three-times the national average. These fees, say the commissioners, are to have higher quality investments that will help the state. However, the Commission’s results are poor – regularly performing in the bottom 20% of public pensions terms of performance. This lack of judgment and oversight in the Commission is leaving South Carolinians with the bill. If these troubles continue, South Carolina’s retirees will be stuck with pensions smaller than they were promised, and current retirees will have to pay more for the same benefits.

Finally, South Carolina’s $17.3 billion in unfunded liabilities will continue to grow. The source of these problems is an unworkable structure and lack of oversight on the Investment Commission. The commissioners, especially Chairman Reynolds Williams, have absolute control over the nearly $27 billion dollars. The Commission operates independently of the State Treasurer, Governor, or any other body that could bring some valuable oversight to their actions. We need the Senate Finance Committee to grow the voice of the people by passing serious and meaningful reforms to the Commission.

Senator Kevin Bryant, (I say this as a fan of Senator Bryant) among others, needs to understand how unaccountable this pension board is to the people of South Carolina. Certainly, Sen. Bryant would not charge customers at his pharmacy three times the average price for an inferior prescription. Therefore, Mr. Bryant should extend the same courtesy to the hundreds of thousands of South Carolinians that are dependent on the performance of the state’s pension fund. Only when Senator Bryant and other members of the Senate Finance Committee support real reforms will South Carolinians finally get relief from the Commission’s irresponsible investments.

Kevin S Thomas
Chairman
Fairfield County Republican Party

used with permission

An “agenda of opportunity” to help America’s poor by Senator Tim Scott

TimScott2When I was growing up, my now 93-year-old grandfather would hold the paper – just right, in plain view – at the breakfast table every day. He looked like an executive, or a doctor, or an attorney, hoping an impressionable young man would see the benefit of education.

But my grandfather could not read. The circumstances of life forced him out of a segregated classroom in the third grade to a cotton field so he could help support his family.

He has now lived long enough to see a grandson elected to Congress, and a great-grandson graduate from Georgia Tech and start graduate school at Duke.

That is the power of opportunity in America. In a single lifetime, families can go from not being given a fair chance to read to graduating from college. We only need a level playing field to start from, a fair chance to succeed, and an appreciation for education and hard work.

Last week, I rode a public bus through Charleston. It is clear people are hurting. I consistently hear deeply personal and unique stories of struggle as I travel our state. People want to work, they want to get ahead and they want a better life for their children and grandchildren. They want to believe the greatest of all America’s promises: that life will be better for those who come after me if I do right.

America was built and is still being built by folks just like this. They stand up in the face of adversity and create a better life from it.

The questions for those of us in government are simple: Are we part of the solution or part of the problem? Are we an ally in this struggle to get ahead, or do we unwittingly make it more difficult? Are we trying the same tactics with the same results?

Those results – not motives – are worthy of challenge. After 50 years of a government-led “War on Poverty,” poverty rates are increasing. Our country faces a poverty rate of 15 percent as 46.5 million Americans live in poverty. Those numbers represent significant increases from 2008, when 39.8 million were living in poverty. In 1974, the poverty rate was 11.2 percent. These numbers reflect a hard truth: Regardless of intentions, government-centric efforts to alleviate poverty simply are not working.

Were this a military conflict we would have changed strategies decades ago. But somehow we fail to learn and continue to believe that if only we spend more, criticize others’ ideas more, and become even more dogmatic about our own perceived solutions, next year will be different. It has not been different in half a century.

So I propose a new way forward: robust initiatives giving our students and workers the greatest chance to succeed – an agenda of opportunity.

In the coming months, I will work with anyone else committed to building a better future to develop bold ideas that break away from our past failures. This includes targeting micro-financing and tax reform to increase economic freedom, expanding school choice so every child has a chance at a quality education, and providing alternatives for single parents to work their 40 hours a week by allowing for wider use of comp time.

I will also work to find ways to help redevelop our poorest areas without pushing current residents out, bring down energy costs that consume a quarter of after-tax income for families making $30,000 or less, help young offenders and those aging out of the foster care system to receive the vital opportunity for education, and ensure our kids who want to attend college can do so without incurring debilitating debt.

With these ideas, and others to come, communities can grow and thrive.

I have lived a family’s journey from cotton to Congress. I know the sense of empowerment and optimism it provides. I know that once the standard is set in a family, a community, a state, that generations to come will set even higher expectations for themselves.

Success is created in studio apartments and garages, at kitchen tables, and in classrooms across the nation – not in government conference rooms in Washington.