Sen. Katrina Shealy: Fixing our South Carolina Roads

Fixing our South Carolina Roads

Sen. Katrina Shealy ( R-Lexington )

Sen. Katrina Shealy ( R-Lexington )

We have a historic opportunity to achieve three important priorities for the people of South Carolina in the closing weeks of this legislative year.  My Republican colleagues and I have developed a landmark plan to fix our roads, reform the Department of Transportation, and pass one of the largest personal incomje tax cuts in state history.  Most importantly, our comprehensive plan is revenue negative for South Carolinians.

That means that the overall tax burden on our citizens is substantially reduced!

As conservatives, we are always focused on controlling the growth of government and when our state’s revenue is on track to grow significantly we know it is essential to cut taxes.  Our plan cuts income taxes for every South Carolina taxpayer.  It returns over $700,000,000 to the citizens in the first five years.  The average taxpayer will see their personal state income taxescut by 17%.  This is one of the largest across-the-board tax cutsin our state’s history.  It will help empower our people and control government spending for years to come.

With a solid plan to control the growth of government firmly established, we can confidently address the central issue before the General Assembly this year: fixing our roads and bridges. The roads of our state, especially the local roads our families travel daily, are in serious need of repair.  We can no longer get by with “Band-Aid” patching.  We need real and lasting action and lots of it.  Our plan requires that all of the new money must be used where we really need it: road and bridge maintenance. No bike paths. No light rail.  No new corps of state highway bureaucrats. When fully phased in, the plan will devoteapproximately $700,000,000 annually to roads and bridges across South Carolina.  This will make our roads safer and improve our competiveness to keep our economy growing.

Our plan to pay for the road work is well-balanced drawing from several transportation based user fees and will be phased in over five years.  The gas tax is the backbone of the funding plan.  We chose that tax because approximately 35% of all gas taxes are paid by out of state motorists.  That means we are reducing the burden on our citizens and spreading the costs of taking care of our roads to all drivers who travel across our state.  Overall the gas tax will rise twelve cents over 5 years, but we also make sure that our taxes stay below Georgia and North Carolina.  Our balanced approach shares the burden fairly and keeps our state competitive.

I also know that a modern road system needs an accountable government to operate it effectively and efficiently. Like our roads, the Department of Transportation is in need of serious attention.  Our plan restructures the DOT Commission to improve performance and accountability.  The selection of the Commission will be based on each congressional district having one seat, plus one at-large seat.

District commissioners will be rotated within the counties of a district so that small and large counties will have an opportunity to be represented.  Each commissioner will serve one six year term.  The governor will nominate each new commissioner.

All nominees must be screened by the Joint Transportation Review Committee using objective criteria.  If a nominee is found qualified to be a commissioner, he must then be confirmed by the Senate. The Secretary of the DOT will be hired by the Commission.  The Secretary will be screened by the Senate Transportation Committee and confirmed by the full Senate.In addition to establishing a better governing structure, our plan reforms the duties and responsibilities of the Commission so that the Commission is focused on long term planning and blocks commissioners from “cherry picking” projects and micromanaging the department.  This new plan assures competent leadership and reduces political interference in the operation of the DOT.

I am proud to support this historic infrastructure improvement, tax reduction and Department of Transportation reform plan.  It provides much needed long-term funding to fix our ailing road system, establishes permanent across-the-board income tax cuts,and restructures the DOT Commission to improve performance and accountability.  Most importantly, it makes South Carolina more competitive, reduces the growth of government spending, and the people of South Carolina receive a net decrease in their taxes.  I hope you will support our effort to pass this initiative this year.

Please contact my office at 803-212-6108 if you have any questions.


Katrina Shealy
SC Senate Distrct 23

Kenny Bingham Brings It On

Bingham Suit2A copy of State Rep. Kenny Bingham’s (R-Cayce) lawsuit against blogger Will Folks has been obtained.  Curiously, on Folks’ website (as of 3:00 PM today), he was unable to address details because they were “not immediately available.”

I’ve had it since 10:00 AM today. Continue reading

Bingham Vs FITSNews

South Carolina State Representative Kenny Bingham (R-Cayce) has filed a lawsuit in Lexington County against Will Folks of FITSNews charging libel and slander.

Will Folks

Will Folks

The context of the suit was unavailable at this writing, but it likely relates to comments Folks published on his website including allegations that the representative benefited financially from state contracts.

Folks’ garnered national attention in 2010 when he claimed to have had “an inappropriate physical relationship” with then Representative and gubernatorial candidate and now Governor Nikki Haley.  Folks produced no evidence to support his claim and, though widely disseminated, the accusation was dismissed by the voters.  It is commonly accepted that Folks was paid to create the allegations in an effort to thwart Haley’s candidacy.

Folks is notorious for sensationalized blog posts in which he accuses public figures (and, sometimes, private citizens) of all forms of misdeeds.  He will quote unnamed sources and suggest intimate knowledge of the inner workings of state politics.  The consensus in Columbia, however, is that he doesn’t have the expanse of sources he claims and he tends to make up stories to promote his tabloid.

That isn’t to say he doesn’t have some contacts in government.  There are those who actually use FITSNews to promulgate their own agenda, often for pay.  One Representative is known around the State House to have paid Folks thousands of dollars to post positive items about him as a means to enhance his gubernatorial prospects in 2018.

Some in public service are rumored to pay Folks NOT to publish potentially damaging articles.  Commonly known as extortion, it’s part of Folks’ shameless, self-promoting assault on South Carolina, which he regularly demeans and satirizes.

FITSNews has also been heavily criticized for “soft porn” content and sexism. Unfiltered comments by his readers are often laced with expletives and have included the most derogatory terms for women.  Even though these comments may be directed towards named individuals, no effort to censor the language or admonish posters for them are evident.

Folks’ reputation for fabricating stories is legendary.  Quoting “sources” (even, hilariously, “intelligence sources in Fairfax, Virginia“) Folks claimed in 2011 that this writer was working “behind the scenes” in South Carolina for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie “to see if there is enough support for him to win” in the 2012 Republican primary. That, of course, was a lie.  It turned out that someone fed Folks that idea as a joke and he manufactured a story for his website.  The “intelligence sources” part was a particularly absurd touch.  Although the perpetrators of the ruse admitted the prank,  Folks never retracted the story or admitted he was duped.

Earlier this year, FITSNews published an article in which Folks tells of being warned that Rep. Bingham was fed up with his crap and was planning some sort of action.

Folks, in his usual style, wrote:

[Bingham has] been running his mouth all over the S.C. State House like a whiny teenage girl, telling anybody who will listen that he’s plotting his revenge against me for the articles FITS has written on a recent ethics complaint filed against him.

Rep. Bingham refused to comment for this article saying he would let the suit speak for itself.  Folks, however, has said plenty.  This past Saturday, Folks wrote that he was told by an unnamed “lawmaker” that “Kenny is about to come after you hard.”

Excuse me while I faux shudder at this penny ante politician’s impotent rage.

I swing a big stick … (in more ways than one).  And while I admit that stick is often swung indiscriminately, I hit what I’m aiming at a helluva lot more than I miss.  And I hit hard.

What do I mean by that, Kenny?  I got “more ink than you got blood,” as the expression goes.  Of course if you’d rather settle things “the Cayce way,” we can do that too mister chairman.  Tell me the time and place and I’ll be there.

“I ain’t skeered,” as they say in your neck of the woods.

Kenny Bingham

Rep. Kenny Bingham

This childish bravado emphasizes two points of conventional wisdom regarding Will Folks.

First, he isn’t as smart as he thinks he is.  Kenny Bingham, however, is a smart man.  A very smart man.  Smart enough to hire John E. Parker of Hampton, SC as his attorney.

Bingham is also a very successful businessman and engineer.  One doesn’t become as accomplished as he has by being frivolous or impetuous.  Nor is he a “penny ante politician.”

There are four engineers in my immediate family.  I’ve worked for and with engineers and I’ve had engineers work for me.  They approach problems and projects with meticulous preparation and are painstakingly faithful to the adage “measure twice, cut once.”  This is not some spur of the moment idea by Bingham.  He has, no doubt, carefully looked at the issue, surveyed the pros and cons and has mapped a strategy that is methodical and precise.

Nor is John Parker an 800 number ambulance chaser.  If you survey those in the legal profession for the best libel attorney in South Carolina, most, if not all will direct you to Parker.

If anyone thinks this is a “penny ante” effort and not a serious legal pursuit, they are not paying attention.

Second, Folks’ “I got more ink than you got blood” statement along with “I’ve never had time for middle school threats from jilted little girls” nonsense speaks to a misplaced bravado.  Folks no doubt believes he can intimidate Rep. Bingham.  This may have worked with others, but he has picked a fight with the wrong man.  When the prudent, adult thing to do on hearing of a potential lawsuit was to say nothing, Folks wrote “if he wants a fight, he better damn well get ready … because I am more than happy to give him one.”

Stupid is as stupid does.  Will Folks has exercised his particular brand of dumbassery to the limit and, standing there waiting for him is Kenny Bingham.  Bingham can’t be intimidated and, clearly, he doesn’t fear anything Folks might print about him.

Will Folks is about to get the FITS stomped out of him.


Dear Momma: A Mother’s Day Letter

Dear Momma,

I had a good laugh today and, as always, I thought of you.  Of all my memories, the ones of you laughing are my favorites.  From the soft giggles to those tear-inducing, breath-stealing hoots, remembering your happiness is a wonderful comfort.

Whenever I see and hear your great-grandchildren laugh, I do so wish you could be there to show them how it’s really done!  But, as you taught us, we have to do things our own way and as we see fit.

Your lessons, at times, conflict, ya’ know.  You set a standard of moral guidance and common sense while encouraging – insisting – that we do what needs to be done.  Maybe they don’t conflict.  Maybe I just haven’t caught up with the wisdom of the teachings.  Making decisions on what’s right and necessary gets sidetracked by what’s convenient and advantageous.  But I’ll keep working on it.

Diane and I were out a couple of days ago and I saw something that triggered the “Momma would love that!” thought.  How many times did that happen in my travels over the years?  As much as you wanted to see the world, but didn’t have the chance, it was great to be able to travel for you “vicariously.”  Calling you from different places and telling you about the sights, experiences and, of course, the food was more fun than being there.  It seems the first thing I did, before unpacking, was to call you and let you know where I was.  Your shameless excitement and childlike delight in our “adventures” was priceless!  One of my favorite calls went like this:

Momma.  I’m eating Chinese food… in Hong Kong!”

You don’t MEAN it!” followed by ten (very expensive) minutes of me trying to tell you about a hole-in-the wall noodle shop – in whispers so as not to offend the locals.  Then we started laughing before your usual sign-off; “Eat something in my honor!”

And, of course, I did.

Then there was all the great fun you and I had talking – for hours – about words.  Puns, double entendres, word play, trying to see who could list the most repetitious phrases (“past history,” “close proximity,” “raise up”).  And I’ll never forget that “one raises vegetables and livestock, one rears children.”  Everyone thought us nerdy and nuts, but it was our own private fun and we didn’t care.

There were the competitions during “Jeopardy” and entire conversations made up entirely of quotes, dialogue and lyrics from the Bible, “Pogo,” “Gone With the Wind,” Abbott and Costello bits and songs of the 1940’s.

Hey, Mama!  We got a foot of snew.”

What’s snew?

Nothing.  What’snew with you?

I loved listening to you talk about “the war.”

How I miss that.

Despite all the time spent with you – and because of you – immersed in words and their importance, I can’t find the right ones to tell you how much I miss you.  I’ve scoured the thesaurus (yet another lesson) and can’t find the appropriate vocabulary to express the heart-ripping sadness I feel.  I can’t call you to tell you about the latest trip, joke or cuisine.  No more banter about grandchildren, adventures or goofy people.

My best source for finding the right words to tell you how much I love you and miss you … is you.

But, I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy.

I’ll think about that tomorrow.


/We lost our Mom to ovarian cancer in April, 2009. The night before she left, she and I, in her final hours of cognizance, talked and laughed. Those moments are among my greatest treasures.

Democrats’ War on Morality

Hillary Clinton has exposed – without shame – the Democrat/Liberal attitude towards religion.  In a speech to the Women in the World Summit, she said: Continue reading

Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina to headline State Treasurer Loftis-hosted event

(COLUMBIA, S.C.) — The State Financial Officers Foundation (SFOF) today announced that businessman and investor Donald Trump, and author Travis Brown, will deliver keynote addresses at its spring meeting on April 13-14 in historic downtown Charleston.  Other keynote speakers include Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, and former Attorney General John Ashcroft. Continue reading

President? Really? What is Lindsey Graham thinking?

The State
March 2, 2015

 — Lindsey Graham is not stupid. No matter what you think of his politics, he’s neither clueless nor lacking common sense. He’s a very smart man who knows the political landscape better than most. So why is he entertaining a run for the presidency?

He can’t win the Republican nomination. Despite numerous appearances on Fox News and Sunday talk shows, the senior senator from South Carolina doesn’t have the national recognition needed to either win primaries or raise the kind of money needed to overcome the more recognized candidates.

And no, he isn’t positioning himself as the vice-presidential nominee. A senator (or governor) from South Carolina adds nothing to the ticket. The Palmetto State is already as red as it can get, as is most of the South. It’s even doubtful that Graham would be an effective stump campaigner for whomever the GOP chooses.

His fundraising capabilities are moderate, at best, so he won’t be bringing in unique money, especially since those likely to donate on his behalf already would donate to Republicans.

So what is the point in jumping into the nomination sweepstakes?

Graham’s PAC, Security Through Strength, focuses heavy on military issues, primarily the fight against radical Islam. This is true to the subject Graham is most often invited to discuss on national television: national security. The other issues on which Graham is cited as a “leader” are merely fluff to round out his resume.

What it appears Lindsey Graham is doing is running for Secretary of Defense.

It cannot be disputed that the senator loves the military. He has been a champion for service members and veterans and believes to his core in the necessity of a strong armed forces.

By emphasizing his military-related bona fides on the stump and the debate stage, Graham would burnish his reputation as the “defense candidate.” Once a Republican is elected — not a given but a better-than-even-bet — the name most prominent when the Defense job is vetted will be Lindsey Graham.

For further consideration, should this scenario play out, might Gov. Nikki Haley resign so her successor, Henry McMaster, could appoint her to fill Graham’s unfinished term?




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