Just three years ago, you gave me a chance to make a difference and bring about reform in state government and also add a much higher level of constituent service to our community. I appreciate the honor and every day I look forward to improving our state and keeping you informed about what is going on.

Tomorrow we return to Columbia to begin what will be my fourth year as a member of the South Carolina House of Represenatives. In this short time, there have been several elected officials come and go. Some lose their re-election efforts. Some retire. Some choose to return to private life.

Today, Representative Bill Cotty (R-Richland) announced he will not file for re-election. This decision leaves Richland County with only one elected Republican House member with more than two terms of service in our state: Jim Harrison – Chairman, House Judiciary Committee.

Bill Cotty has served his constituents well. He’s been a staunch supporter of our public schools and I will most remember him for leading the fight for the Property Tax Relief Act we passed last year. His absence and knowledge will not only leave a void for Richland County on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, it will also leave a void in Richland County government – particularly from the Republican side. This means that the two other House Republicans from Richland and I will need to do even more to keep the Midlands are well represented.

Rep. Harrison has the most tenure of our Republican House delegation in Richland County; but look for Rep. Joan Brady (also elected 2004) and me to work even harder than before when issues become “territorial”. While every official serves the entire state, there are several instances where it still feels there are geographical undercurrents to certain votes: the Upstate, the Midlands, the Coast.

Of course, there are others who represent Richland County too. The Democrats on the delegation are: Leon Howard – Chairman of 3M Committee, John Scott, Joe Neal, Todd Rutherford, Jimmy Bales and James Smith.

I’d like everyone in our state to continue to share your ideas/suggestions with me about state government. The readership of this site has grown far outside of just House District 71 here in Irmo, Chapin, Dutch Fork, Ballentine area!

I need to hear from others throughout the community, region, and state in order to continue to make a positive difference.

Thank you for allowing me to serve you in Columbia! For those in the community, please check your mailbox over the next two weeks for this year’s Constituent Survey. I need to continue to hear from you in order to do my job better!