In recent weeks, you’ve read about several elected officials visiting Dutch Fork High School teacher Kelly Payne’s civics class. Most recently, Representative Nikki Haley , myself , House Speaker Bobby Harrell , Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom and also Attorney General Henry McMaster , have fielded questions and talked about the issues and challenges facing our state.

As the kids say on the basketball courts, who’s got next?

Ashley Landess, President of the South Carolina Policy Council, will be visiting with the students on Wednesday, February 11th.

In a state where females are scarce in elected office and equally scarce in the “political power circles”, Ashley ranks near the top of the “Who’s Who” in our state.

Since 1986 the South Carolina Policy Council Education Foundation has brought together civic, community and business leaders from all over our state to discuss innovative policy ideas that advance the principles of limited government and free enterprise. The Policy Council’s headquarters has served as the meeting place for groups from classroom teachers to our state’s top CEO’s, who share the goal of encouraging a positive environment in which South Carolina families can thrive, work and raise children.

No other think tank in South Carolina can match the Policy Council’s success in assembling the top national and state experts on taxes, education, environmental policy, health care and numerous other issues. That ability to bring new ideas to the forefront, lead the policy debate and create a broad base of support for sensible reform is what makes our organization the leader in turning good ideas into good state policy.

I recently got to know Ashley this summer when we spent time, along with Representative Haley, Governor Sanford and others, educating the state of the importance of accountability in state government. We have had success in recent passage of a House Rule for more roll-call voting but we’ll continue to push for a law to be passed. There are several other reforms our state needs, many have been talked about for years in state government but it takes work to get these reforms passed by our legislature.

In upcoming weeks look for Steve Benjamin (February 24th), Representative Chip Huggins (February 27th)and also State Superintendent of Education, Dr. Jim Rex (scheduled for February 25th), to pay a visit to this “must stop” in political circles.

These students are not only very bright and aware of the issues; but also, they understand the significance and importance of having state officials visit their school and classroom. The students know they are very fortunate to have a teacher like Mrs. Payne and also have state officials take time from their busy schedules to help educate (and prepare) tomorrow’s leaders about public service in our state.