Anderson Independent Mail: SC Senate 3

independent.mailMudslinging caps Anderson GOP race between Bryant, Burdette

Voters received fliers in their mailboxes this week attacking both candidates in a high-profile race for the South Carolina Senate District 3 seat.

Sen. Kevin Bryant and former Pendleton Mayor Carole Burdette will meet in the Republican primary on Tuesday. The
winner is not expected to face any opposition in the November general election to represent the district that covers the northern half of Anderson County.

A group called Free Speech Unites went after Bryant in a mailer that says he has “raked in over $15 million for his company doing business with and getting contracts from the state of South Carolina” since he was elected 12 years ago.

“Is it any wonder Kevin Bryant opposed Ethics Reforms that would make this type of personal profiteering while in public office illegal?” states the group’s flier.

Bryant fired back with own flier seeking to discredit the “dirty, dishonest attacks.”

“Anonymous, dark money groups aligned with Kevin’s liberal opponent and the Establishment are using last minute attacks to smear our conservative fighter, Senator Kevin Bryant,” his mailer states.

Bryant, 49, is president of Bryant Pharmacy and Supply on North Main Street in Anderson. His business and other pharmacies in Anderson and throughout the state have nonexclusive contracts with the Medicaid program and the South Carolina Public Employee Benefits Authority.

The state contracts are not particularly profitable, Bryant said in an interview Friday. He said 87 percent of the fees that he receives for Medicaid prescriptions go to drugmakers.

Bryant has voted for ethics bills that would force elected officials to disclose private sources of income and also require independent investigations of complaints against legislators. He opposed a measure calling for groups like Free Speech Unites to identify their contributors, arguing that such a rule would infringe on free speech.

Bryant said he suspects Burdette helped coordinate the delivery of the Free Speech Unites flier.

“If you can’t defend your liberal record, you resort to this,” he said. “If you can’t attack my very conservative record, you resort to this.”

Burdette, 56, denied the charge.

“I didn’t have anything to do with it,” she said. “My goal has been to run a very clean campaign.”

But Burdette said she does have concerns about Bryant’s pharmacy doing business with the state while he is serving as a senator.

She also criticized him Friday for failing to support legislative term limits.
Bryant said he has sponsored a bill that would impose a two-term limit on senators but that the measure failed to pass. He said he is seeking a fourth term because current Senate rules place a priority on seniority.

According to the latest state disclosure reports, Bryant has raised more than $116,000 in campaign cash for his re-election bid. Burdette has received nearly $50,000 in campaign contributions.

In his campaign mailers, Bryant has criticized Burdette for approving tax increases and water-rate hikes and abolishing Pendleton’s police department while serving as the town’s mayor. Besides accusing her of wasting $24,000 in tax money to buy a plastic Christmas tree, he claims that she supports Planned Parenthood, a national group has come under scrutiny for allegedly selling fetal tissue harvested during abortions.

Burdette said she does not support Planned Parenthood.

She expressed pride in her 12-year tenure as Pendleton’s mayor, citing her success in obtaining $13.4 million in grants for public improvements and the paving of 40 streets in the town. She said the decision to have the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office take over law enforcement in Pendleton worked well initially, though town officials subsequently decided to re-establish the Police Department. She also said buying an artificial tree for the town was a wise investment.

“The town of Pendleton was better off when I left,” she said.

Burdette has held leadership positions with the Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce, the Municipal Association of South Carolina and South Carolina Association of Non-Profit Organizations. She has worked to promote child literacy and lessen teen pregnancies.

“I not a talker, I am a walker,” she said.

She said she would be more effective than Bryant in working with other legislators and state officials to tackle problems such as the need to improve South Carolina’s roads.

Bryant said he succeeded this year in building a consensus in the Senate for legislation that would make groups that resettle foreign refugees in South Carolina civilly liable for crimes committed by the refugees. The bill died in the House after winning Senate approval.

But he said he is unwilling to compromise on tax increases and measures that boost the state’s debt. He has opposed efforts to raise the state’s 16-cent per gallon gas tax and he was one of 10 senators who voted against a road-bonding bill that Gov. Nikki Haley signed into law on Wednesday.

Bryant has been endorsed by U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan while Anderson Mayor Terence Roberts is backing Burdette.

Burdette said her campaign has momentum heading in the GOP primary. She is hoping for support from some Democrats on Tuesday.

“I am encouraging everyone who wants to have a voice to come out and vote in this race,” she said. “I probably will need some people to cross over.”

Follow Kirk Brown on Twitter @KirkBrown_AIM

response to dark attacks


conservative fighter vs. liberal opponent


Gov. Haley signs roads bill: disappointed on lack of reform

Gov. Haley signed the roads bill (S. 1258), but chastises the General Assembly for not truly reforming the Department of Transportation. I concur with this message from the Governor’s Office. Take a look:





Independent Mail Letter to Editor

I recently discovered that Senator Kevin Bryant is being attacked because of his pharmacy’s business with the State of South Carolina. My wife and I are retired state employee teachers and have chosen Kevin’s pharmacy to meet our healthcare needs for many years. State employees can take their business to any pharmacy in the state, but we choose Kevin’s store because we get excellent service. He takes care of his customers as well as his constituents. Kevin and his wonderful staff treat us just like family.

My wife, Sandra needed a prescription item that was difficult to find, but Kevin’s brother, Craig (who is also a pharmacist) was kind enough to order it for me, and I had my medication the next day. On another occasion, there was a product that we needed that Kevin didn’t have in stock. They were kind enough to call five or six pharmacies to locate the item we needed, even though that meant a sale for another store. I believe having people of different backgrounds in work and business representing us in Columbia is an advantage for the voters.

We have an overabundance of lawyers there. Should we ask them to recuse themselves from any votes that might involve the law? Of course not. I hope we can deal with facts in this campaign rather than insinuations.

Kevin’s pharmacy has no monopoly on the business of state employees, and in Anderson, the retail pharmacy market is very competitive. We could go anywhere, but Kevin’s team goes above and beyond to satisfy their customers. We like having him in Anderson, and we like having him in Columbia.


fix our roads!


Lawyer Referral Service

Law school

Law school

This morning I was on local talk radio and I had a caller ask for a referral for a lawyer. Below is some useful information:

What is the Lawyer Referral Service?
The Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) is a public service of the South Carolina Bar that provides referrals to individuals needing qualified, prescreened lawyers. You may call for a referral from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The number to call, both in state and out, is 1-800-868-2284. (In Richland and Lexington counties, call 799-7100.) An online referral service is also available 24/7 and may be accessed by clicking here.

The LRS can refer you to a qualified, prescreened attorney in one of more than 100 areas of law, including the following:

Personal injury
Real estate and landlord-tenant
Family law, including divorce, custody, alimony and child support
Criminal defense
Employment law, including discrimination, wrongful termination and unpaid wages
* Most other areas of law

How does LRS work?
The LRS offers referrals by the type of law and by the area or location in which you need a lawyer. Each participating lawyer agrees to charge no more than $50 for a 30-minute consultation. If the consultation extends past the 30 minutes or you hire the lawyer to represent you, the lawyer will charge you his or her normal fees. The lawyers do not take pro bono cases.

fact vs. fiction

fact.fictionKevin has a clear, consistent, conservative record: fixing our roads without raising your taxes, defending: life, your 2nd amendment rights, your right to free speech, however, they choose not to attack Kevin’s record.

When they can’t defend their liberal records, they result to personal assaults on one’s character.

Here’s a few clarifications on the most recent attacks:

Fiction: Kevin Bryant has made millions from contracts with the State of South Carolina
Fact: Kevin Bryant and Bryant Pharmacy are approved Medicaid & State Health Plan (state employees’ & retirees’ healthcare) vendors, not exclusive contractors. Bryant Pharmacy serves these patients who can take their business to any pharmacy in town. He’s proud and privileged to have their business.

Fiction: Kevin Bryant opposed Ethics reforms
Fact: Kevin has voted for every ethics bill.

Fiction: Kevin has voted on HHS budget issues to enrich himself.
Fact: Kevin has voted AGAINST all HHS sections in his 12 years of service. Kevin also cosponsored legislation to CUT the reimbursement rate for healthcare vendors. It passed in 2009. Kevin has also voted against every Medicaid expansion proposal (including Obama’s).

Fiction: Kevin has kept over $3m in Medicaid money since 2009
Fact: When filling these prescriptions, the first thing pharmacies do, is turn over 87% to pharmaceutical manufacturers. Then there’s payroll, taxes, utilities, etc. Not much room for profit there.

Big Pharma? That’s another story. Kevin sponsored legislation (and passed) to try generics first, picking a fight with big pharma and saving your tax dollars.

Fiction: Kevin Bryant worked tirelessly to protect the Retirement System Investment Commission that lost billions of the public’s money.
Fact: Kevin Bryant chaired special hearings for two years that led to comprehensive reform legislation passed unanimously by the SC Senate. Those hearings also led to Ethics Charges against one commissioner that are scheduled for adjudication on June 15.

Live election results: Republican primary June 14, 2016

We’ll be posting election results as we get them Tuesday. Please refresh for updates Tuesday night. Thank you so much for visiting.

Bryant on taxes…never!