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Sen. Cleary and Rep. Hardwick speak to South Strand Republican Club

  • Wednesday, March 26, 2014

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It’s not every day that state lawmakers can tout their accomplishments in front of a friendly audience, but state Sen. Ray Cleary and Rep. Nelson Hardwick took advantage of the opportunity Saturday at the legislative breakfast sponsored by the South Strand Republican Club.

Cleary, whose term runs another two years, extolled the efforts that he and Hardwick completed in eliminating more than $1 billion in taxes, but also noted that while he is not a tax and spend person, he wants to see the state run more like a corporation.

He defended his vote on “3101, a bill that most people think would eliminate Obamacare in South Carolina.

“It didn’t eliminate the law,” he said. “We can’t eliminate a federal law.”

He also noted that sometimes the bill you hear about is not the one that the General Assembly votes on.

Cleary pushed his projects – upgrading roads, repairing bridges and the state’s infrastructure.

“Why do people come to a state?,” he asked. “Infrastructure and education,” he responded, adding that South Carolina is falling behind in those two key areas. “We need $1.5 billion of new revenue each year,” he said, citing Department of Transportation statistics that show it costs $200,000 a mile to fix a road, but only $20,000 a mile to maintain it.

Hardwick, who has been named chairman of the House Agriculture, Natural Resources & Environmental Affairs Committee, told the 40 or so people assembled at Inlet Affairs, that much of the early work this term has been in approving the state budget.

He indicated that he had some support for the Common Core standards being debated nationwide.

“I had to take a national test to get into college,” he noted.

Cleary pointed out that his main concern with education is that the state is cutting the percentage of spending it gives to higher education. “And it will get worse, as the federal government is running out of money,” he said.

The meeting was the last as chairman Chuck Ottwell, who is running for Horry County Council.

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