Taxpayers Are Ready for Active Leadership
June 10, 2010
Video: Tommy Pope’s Online Town Hall
June 22, 2010

To the Voters of House 47

First and foremost I want to thank you for your tremendous support in the Republican Primary.

To win outright with no runoff is a true honor. I would also like to commend Brett Boyd and Vance Stine for a race well run. All three candidates focused on the issues at hand and how we can help our state and our community rather than resorting to the type of personal attacks that have become all too common in South Carolina politics..

As I spent the last several months going throughout the district talking to the people about the issues that were most important to them, there were several recurring themes.

The primary concern in our area is jobs, both for those who had lost their jobs and for those who were still employed but lived in fear of their future prospects. As your representative, I will fight in Columbia to make sure that our businesses have a level playing field and that York County is not viewed as simply a suburb of Charlotte.

However, ultimately we cannot look to Columbia or even Washington to bail us out of our current situation. We in York County are going to have to work to help ourselves.

We have done it before. Regardless of how you may feel about the administration of Pennies for Progress, no one can deny that we would not have the roadways we have in York County today had we waited on Columbia to address our transportation needs. When I lead the Solicitor’s Office we transformed the worst criminal backlog in the state into a statewide model of efficiency.  Again this was accomplished through a combined local effort in conjunction law enforcement, the courts and local leaders.

I believe that together we can do the same for our economic infrastructure in York County. I think it will require bringing together strong teams, listening to creative ideas and pushing common sense reforms coupled with a lot of hard work. It will require active leadership and a willingness to embrace innovation and seek out new options.

We need to take advantage of our local resources to create a business friendly environment. We must continue to reinforce our infrastructure. We must engage in developmental partnerships with Winthrop University and York Tec to attract and retain business. Our leaders must join together to position our community as one attractive to business. We must join our economic development forces to make sure the needs of the entire County are addressed.

Equally important is the concern over the current plight of our educational system. We must make education a priority. We must restore and stabilize funding for public education. However we must continue to strive for efficiencies within that system. We also have to recognize that one size doe no fit all in the educational process. Once we have addressed the funding issues we must embrace educational alternatives both within the public system and without. The education of our children is too important to bounce around as political football while their needs continue to go unmet.

The first step in addressing both of these issues is getting our fiscal house in order in Columbia. As citizens we must recognize that our government cannot be all things to all people. In order for our state to prosper we must refocus on the core functions of our government; public safety, education, infrastructure and economic development. We need common sense zero based budgeting, spending caps, strong spending transparency and comprehensive tax reform. It will take a tremendous effort in the legislature to get this done. However, there comes a time when simply saying “no” is not enough. Based on our current circumstances I believe that time is now.

Candidates make a lot of promises during campaign season and rarely do we see those promises become reality. I won’t promise that I can singlehandedly change Columbia. That will take a supreme effort by a coalition of like minded individuals. But what I do promise is to work as hard for you as I would for my own family. I’ll put York County families before special interests and people over politics.

As we move toward the November election I will continue to work as hard as I have the past few months to meet as many of you as possible and to truly listen to your concerns, not just to gain your vote, but to truly understand District 47’s needs so I can be the most effective representative possible. We may not always agree on every issue, but I can assure you I will always be willing to hear your point of view.

With the support of my family, I’m ready, willing and able to do the hard work it takes to change the way business is done in Columbia. I have proven as your Solicitor that I can provide the positive leadership to change the way business is done within our government. I believe I have the energy and ability to get things done both in Columbia and in our community. I hope you’ll let me exercise that leadership as your next State Representative.

Tommy Pope

Republican for State House 47