For far too long the SC Republican party has been demanding that we should be allowed to pick our candidates without cross over voters from other parties influencing the vote. However, we never seem to get any movement within the House or Senate to accomplish this very important goal. That’s because we do not yet have a large enough voice outside those bodies to push for such reform. Therefore, the Secretary of State must take the significant role of using the bully pulpit associated with his office to be a constant voice and articulate the importance of such reforms. To get closed party primaries, we have got to have the next Secretary of State take a leadership role to bring about such change. The Secretary has got to take this message to every member’s district and communicate the importance of having closed party primaries. For the last 16 years our Secretary of State has not lead on such reform and we clearly are suffering from the lack of leadership within such a vital role.
You probably didn’t know this, but you have no accountability as a citizen over our election process within this state. Those who run and are entrusted with protecting the integrity of our election process are un-elected bureaucrats. When something goes horribly wrong within our elections you do not get the opportunity at the ballot box to voice your concerns. Most of other states election process is overseen by the Secretary of State. Not here in South Carolina though.
We have known situations of voter fraud, voter intimidation, and voting machine mishaps, but you don’t have a voice in that process. In 2012, thousands of challengers were thrown off the ballot because of a technicality within the election law. This could have been avoided if we had a Secretary of State who oversaw the election process. When a constitutional office holder has a stake within a certain area of government they devote staff members to examine all legislation dealing with such areas. We must have a Secretary of State who is diligently reviewing legislation to prevent these types of mishaps in the future.
We see all the announcements of mega-corporations relocating to South Carolina, but we rarely hear of any advancement within our small business community. “Why is this?” you may ask. Well it’s because for far too long SC has overlooked our most important economic producers within the state. Regulation and tax reform have been nonexistent for the small business community. While I am thankful for the benefits provided by these large corporations, we have shifted our tax burden on the backs of small business owners to sweeten the deals for these corporations to relocate or expand here. Of course business recruitment is great for the state, but it must be done in a sensible and responsible way that does not shift the tax burden onto the small business community. You see, South Carolina is an appealing place in which to do business. As a result, our job in recruiting mega-corporations is already 95% finished before the first meeting. My point is that as conservatives, we must understand that for every action there is a reaction, especially with our tax structure. I believe one of the most important roles as the next Secretary of State is to be a strong voice for all our small businesses. We should foster ideas concerning how to improve the tax and regulation burdens for all business owners throughout our state. The small business community doesn’t have a fighter in their corner and we must change that.
As the next Secretary of State, I will direct my office to shape policy that will focus on improving our business climate for all sectors equally. I will use my 7 years of legislative experience to help build bridges with legislators and the business community. Most importantly, our next Secretary of State must take a leadership role in communicating the importance of the issues that face South Carolina’s small business community. Our state cannot afford to overlook our state’s most important economic engines. I am running to be that voice we desperately need.
Technology & Cyber Security:
Technology & Cyber Security must be at the forefront of very decision made in the Secretary of State’s office. Just about every day we hear of another cyber ransom or technology related crime, and it’s only going to get worse. These crimes end up costing consumers and tax payers billions of dollars every year. And would you believe that over the last 16 years under Secretary of State Mark Hammond the office has only had one technology upgrade – a cyber criminal’s dream.
Not only is the door wide open for cyber criminals, but as recently as two years ago, out of the 150+ forms the office processed, only two were available online. This is unthinkable. With all the tools that are now available for the office to utilize, Secretary Hammond refuses to modernize. Taxpayers should not have to wait another 14 years for the office to develop better ways to serve their needs. As your next Secretary of State, I will wake up every day asking myself, “what can we do to serve the public, and protect their data.”
Leaders lead from the front. The Secretary of State is a full-time working position. The public supports this position with an annual salary equal to the Governor. With numerous constitutional duties and statutory responsibilities, you would expect the Secretary to be in office 40, 50 plus hours per week. The current Secretary of State works on average 2.5 days per week, and uses a state car for his commute from Spartanburg to Columbia. This will end. As your next Secretary of State, I will drive my own car, and do whatever it takes to be in the office very day working for you. My responsibility will be to transform the office into the shining light of all state government. I want the public to be able to point to the office of the Secretary of State and say if Putnam can do that within this office then why can’t we reform other areas of government to serve the taxpayer of this state.
We will consider every area within the office where we can trim the fat and invest in areas that will continue to save the taxpayer funds for years to come. I personally have identified many areas where we can modernize functions of the office in order to save the taxpayer, at the same time delivering a much-improved experience with the office. Our first area of improvement will be with business filing fees. Over the last 16 years business filing fees within the office have increased by over 50%. Government should not look for every way to nickel and dime the public, we should be a helping hand to walk people through the challenging process of starting their business. Starting a business can be quite scary and the nightmare should not be dealing with your government. It always surprises me that we pay taxes to fund the government for the government to make simple solutions difficult. That will change on day one of my administration. We will install a culture throughout the office of the Secretary of State to serve to the public above all else.
“Looking back on my time within the South Carolina State House, my greatest achievement is probably staying true to who I first was when I ran for public office in 2010. When I examine my heart, I know with confidence that the reasons why I entered public service remain true today.
Far too often elected leaders lose focus of why they serve. It becomes about what they can gain from the service and not about what they can offer to the public. Those material things are not the reasons why I serve. It’s about making a difference so that our children have an incredible opportunity to grow up with every opportunity before them. My service is about moving our state forward, while holding true to our founding principles as a country”.