Art Kaldas, an enthusiastic blogger on the Anderson Independent’s Cocklebur blog, sums up this weeks town hall meetings quite well. You may visit Art’s section of the Cocklebur here
On Monday, July 21, 2008, 7:00 pm, Senator Kevin Bryant conducted a town meeting at Hopewell Fire Department. Approximately 70 residents were in attendance. Among the attendees were County officials, County Council members, elected and reelected, and some of Dr. Marshall Meadors supporters. Some of the Senator’s replies to questions were the following:
• All State agencies should respect the fact that English should be our only official language. I do appreciate all our legal immigrants, not the illegal ones. However, it is not practical or wise to use any other language for State business.
• The picture of Osama and Obama, which I have on my blog, is used as satire. I definitely do not believe that Senator Obama is a partner of Osama bin Laden. Furthermore, if too many people are offended by this picture, I will take it off the blog.
• I have fought very hard against dual water rates in Anderson. Residents outside the City do not have any say in these rates. Consequently, a municipality can raise the rate to $8,000 if they wanted to. There has to be an oversight to protect residents outside the City.
• I have succeeded in passing a State law to allow Capital Punishment for Child Rapists. But the Supreme Court, to my astonishment, decided that this law is unconstitutional.
• Parents who have children in a failing public school should have options. I do believe in giving parents tax credits, so they can exercise their options.
• I abstained from the vote to increase cigarette tax because of conflict of interest, since I am a pharmacist who would benefit from an expansion in Medical Aid. However, if I chose to vote, I would have voted to increase the tax, as long as the revenues are used to support a “health saving account”, to assist citizens in purchasing their own health care plans.
• At the beginning, I did not support building the East/West Connector, which is to connect Clemson Boulevard and Highway 81. At the present time, I simply have mixed emotions on the project.
• Pay Day Lenders should be allowed to practice, but only if they have a clear process to explain the terms of their loans to borrowers. The practice simply has to be well regulated.
• Dr. Marshall Meadors, my opponent, is a great “old fashioned” medical doctor. He is loved by all his patients. However, he and I have sharp political differences. I look forward to our political debates.
On Wednesday, July 23, 2008, 7:00 pm, at Anderson City Hall, Senator Kevin Bryant conducted his second town-hall meeting. Over 100 attended the meeting, which included many supporters and some highly charged opposition.
Although Senator Bryant attempted to stay on message, the meeting was full of spectacular fireworks. Obama/ Osama image on the Senator’s blog attracted most of the debate, with some in audience asking him to apologize for his poor taste in implying that Senator Obama is a terrorist. However, Senator Bryant refused to apologize, which drew cheers and applause from his supporters. He explained that although he does not believe that Senator Obama is a terrorist, he strongly opposes his views on foreign policies and his friendly attitude toward nations that support terrorism.
A member in audience suggested that in order to curb the dropout rate in schools, permanent drivers licenses should be given only to high-school graduates, while others should be given drivers licenses with restrictions. Senator Bryant thought that the idea is worth consideration. In addition, he emphasized that school choice also curbs the dropout rate.
Senator Bryant message can be summarized in the following points:
• Smaller government
• Less regulations
• Greater transparency and accountability in local governments
After the meeting, both supporters and critics of Senator Bryant agreed that he is a very experienced public official, who is willing to face his opponents directly, rather than hide in corners