Q&A With Vincent Sheheen - Democratic Candidate For Governor Of South Carolina
Author: Special To C2 Magazine
CH2: Why are you running for governor?
Vincent Sheheen: I am running because we need a governor we can trust. South Carolinians want something different from the last eight years. They want a governor who’ll bring people together to solve the problems that our state faces like unemployment and improvement of public education.
CH2: What is the first thing you’ll do when you take office?
VS: The most important issue for me will be jobs and the economy. As governor, I will focus every single day on actively recruiting new business and vigorously supporting existing businesses so that our citizens have good paying jobs. Another issue critical to our future is trust in our leaders. After eight years of embarrassing scandal, our next governor has to help restore South Carolina’s reputation around our nation. We have learned that Nikki Haley has not been truthful on transparency, on her business record, and she has not lived up to basic civic obligations like paying taxes. After the last eight years, South Carolinians want a governor they can trust.
CH2: How will you make state government more accountable and better serve the needs of the people of South Carolina?
VS: I have fought for governmental restructuring and reform my whole career, and I think it is vital that we empower the governor’s office to have direct lines of accountability over agencies to hold state government accountable. We need a department of administration under the governor that removes all administrative functions from the Budget and Control Board. I would require every agency to submit a yearly “programmatic budget” to justify each department’s respective programs so we could fund what is working and weed out the programs that waste tax dollars. I believe we should conduct regular reviews of each state agency so that the legislature can ensure they are meeting their obligations. We should eliminate the numerous duplicative accounting and human resource departments across state government and consolidate these departments to provide the services in a more efficient and cost-effective manner.
CH2: What will you do to improve South Carolina’s public schools?
VS: As the son of an elementary school teacher, a product of public schools, and the parent of three children in public schools, I know the challenges public education faces, because I have lived them. First, we need to establish equitable funding so the quality of education children receive is not determined by where they grow up. Over the last decade, state government has forced our dedicated teachers to obsess about standardized testing instead of allowing them to teach. To attract and retain the best and brightest in our classrooms, I will work to raise teacher salaries. I also know firsthand that our kids learn better in smaller classes. I am committed to lowering class sizes so that all South Carolina children can receive the attention they need. Finally, I am proud to have helped lead the effort to block an out-of-state funded voucher program, which would have sucked desperately-needed funds out of our public schools, and I will continue to do so as governor.
CH2: Where do you think you are in the campaign right now?
VS: We are right where we want to be at this point. What has become clear is that our campaign has the momentum in the race. The more voters learn about both candidates, the more they agree with my vision for South Carolina.