Here’s this month’s regular update to keep you informed of what’s going on in the State House and in our community! If you have events you’d like me to share on the site, please email me at BallentineN@scstatehouse.net and be sure to put the word CONSTITUENT in the subject line so that I can reply to your email before the hundreds of others I receive daily.
January 8th will be here in a few weeks and the House/Senate will begin our session in earnest. Honestly, I’m not sure what to expect this session from my colleagues because it’s an election year and I’m not sure some folks may have the courage to take up issues we need to be dealing with. Sad – but true. House members are elected every two years and Senators are elected every four. This is the year when all 170 elected officials in our state will be on the ballot.
In my opinion, I believe you’ll see the House focus on the following items: illegal immigration, earmark reform (my push since day one!), education testing and funding, and roads and bridges.
As you can see, these are many of the same items you have shared with me either in email, phone calls, or at your homeowner’s meetings/churches or in passing at the mall/grocery store. Again, the seat I hold is not mine – it’s yours. I continue to be able to be effective by listening to you and your neighbors and taking the message to Columbia.
On a personal note, I am presently campaigning for a seat on the House Ethics Committee which will be voted on by House members in January. It’s my desire to work to restore dignity and honor to the word “politician” and I feel this is a manner that can help me work towards that goal.
You can help me with this, too! In mid-January, I will be mailing you my annual Constituent Survey. This year, I will focus on getting your ideas and opinions on what we need to do to “fix” state government. It’s important to me to hear from you and I need you to take the time to give me your personal, honest feedback. I hope you will help me!
In Sunday’s paper you’ll read an article about Earmark Reform. As you know I have been pushing for this for quite some time and am glad that several like-minded colleagues have joined the effort to help it advance. I’m pleased that the Speaker of the House is also behind this type of accountability and I honestly believe we will see something pass this year. If not a state law, perhaps a House Rule to help provide more sunshine on where your hard-earned tax dollars are going and who is spending them.
Shelley Halstead and Logan Ross (both Chapin High School graduates and presently students at USC) will serve as my page appointments this year. These ladies will represent our community well while seeing the ins and outs of state government on a daily basis this session.
I recently nominated Jack Cook, Irmo, to the Southern Growth Policies Board. Jack has a wealth of experience, talent, and ideas and I was honored to give his name to the Governor for consideration. Shortly after his paperwork had been completed, Jack was appointed to this prestigious board.
Gwendolyn Strobel and Christine Shelton (Dutch Fork High School) have been named one of only five national finalists in this year’s Alive @ 25 Allstate Insurance Contest. If you haven’t seen their video yet, please check it out on my website.
The Incorporation Efforts of many in our community has resulted in the question being place on the ballot in the next few weeks! At that time, voters in the proposed area will not only vote on whether to incorporate or not; but also vote on the name: Ballentine, Dutch Fork, or Lake Murray.
Library coming! A grand opening celebration of the Richland County Public Library’s newest location – The Link, Ballentine – will be held Tuesday, December 4th at 1321 Dutch Fork Road.
The Town of Irmo will host their annual Tree Lighting Event in Irmo Town Park, December 4th at 6pm with music by the District Five Elementary Honors Choir.
The Chapin Chamber Christmas Party will be December 11 at 6:15 pm at The Bomb Island Grille. (The event is sponsored by BB&T and The Bomb Island Grille).
Lastly, Exit 102 B will soon get a name. This “Exit to Nowhere” will be designated at Lake Murray – Blvd EAST. The sign should be updated by February 2008.
There is always so much going on in our schools that I could do a complete update on those every week! Due to space limitations, I’ll just mention two schools this month:
Dutch Fork Middle School and Oak Pointe Elementary School.
This past month I’ve been an “educator for the day” at DFMS as well as participated in Career Day. I was very glad to hear 3 young men tell me they want to serve in the Marines when they graduate high school.
While shopping at Publix one night, I walked into OPES Family Reading Night. I really thought this was a great thing in our community. I’m sure other schools and business participate as well and I’d love to hear more from our other schools when they have their events!
Thanks again for visiting the site! Please let your friends and neighbors know about it so that they can stay as informed as possible.
As you can see, I try to write often and regularly update photos from our community as well as videos.
You have given me a great honor by choosing me to represent you in the South Carolina House of Representatives and I remain as committed as ever to staying in touch. Please contact my office, 734-2969, or email me at BallentineN@scstatehouse.net anytime I can be of service to you or your family.
I hope you and your family have a WONDERFUL Christmas and a very safe and happy New Year!
House of Representatives, District 71
320A Blatt Building
Columbia, SC 29221