Representative District 36
Representative District 36
I truly felt led to run for elected office. I spent many years on a school board, volunteering, and working in our community. These public service initiatives gave me insight to our citizens and our communities. I believe in our community and state, and I know we are experiencing positive growth, but it also brings so many problems and issues that must be addressed in order for us to also grow with the change.
Sometimes after taking a tough vote I am called ugly names, have people swear they will never vote for me again, and some have even judged me personally. I have come to accept those emotional expressions from concerned citizens, because even in the heat of the moment I am appreciative they have demonstrated their care for our community in their own way. I have also heard from a great deal of supporters who understand my votes on complicated and controversial matters and want to see us better our region and state as a whole.
I listen to all my constituents, those who agree and disagree. Then, I try to research the facts, even when those facts say something different than what I hear from day to day. Then I pray hard for wisdom and direction. These are the reasons that I vote as I do. While it is not possible to agree with everyone 100 percent of the time, I try to do the right thing with the one vote I am given.
I seek to live a life of civility, care and understanding. I will always treat others — agree or not — with a civil tone that I believe God wants us to carry daily.
The past week has been very hectic, filled with several hard-fought issues. The facts will rise to the top as they always do, and I believe we will be better for it. I am thankful for the opinions, thoughts, ideas, and concerns from those who agree and those who disagree — I listen to each carefully.
Among the most challenging of topics I voted on last was the bill to fix our roads. It isn’t perfect, and if I had full control over the bill language, we’d have done a few things differently. But ours is a republic, not a dictatorship. As a result, oftentimes, the best option is still not a perfect option.
For years, the General Assembly has addressed our infrastructure needs in a piecemeal fashion, not actually focusing on long-term infrastructure issues that have created major safety concerns and eroded economic development opportunities. Last Session, the House led the way by passing a bill containing a long-term approach to fixing our roads and bridges. Due to political pressure, the Senate was unable to pass a long-term funding plan. Last week, the House once again passed a sustainable and reliable plan that not only dramatically reforms the South Carolina Department of Transportation, but first focuses on curbing our highest-in-the-nation motorist fatality rate by repairing our most deadly roadways in rural areas.
The bill is now in the Senate where I expect it will be amended in some manner and sent back for our further consideration.
Also last week, the House also gave bipartisan support to a piece of legislation that would bring our state-issued ID cards (such as a driver’s license) into compliance with federally mandated security standards. This is a piece of legislation I have worked on for a number of months. You may have seen signs posted in the airport giving ample warning that later this year the TSA will no longer accept the current South Carolina driver’s license as an acceptable form of identification for boarding a commercial aircraft. This bill makes sure that never happens and allows you and your family to travel without any issues. I also heard from some, who for valid personal reasons, did not wish to comply with the federal security minimums. This bill also included an opt-out clause, which would allow those residents to continue without any penalty and without conforming to the REAL ID federal standards.
The state budget as proposed, was printed and placed on our desk to be read and reviewed this week. On Monday we will begin the budget debate on the floor of the SC House. You can watch that debate on SCETV. The televised floor debate will give you a full update, and urge you to watch some or all of the debate if you can.
In closing, since 1987 the United States has officially observed National Women's History Month during the month of March, to recognize and celebrate American women and their achievements. In the early 1970s women's history was virtually left out of public school curriculum and in mainstream media but in 1978, a task force in Sonoma County, California initiated a "Women's History Week" celebration and within a few years had dozens of schools planning special programs as well as hundreds of community events. I am confident we all have reason to celebrate and thank God for the strong, loving, and resilient women in our lives today. Please know I am always here to serve when needed.
Because I care, Rita
• Representative Rita Allison, represents District 36, Greenville and Spartanburg counties. She is Chairman, House Education and Public Works Committee. Contact Allison at: