Governor Praises Progress in Laurens Visit

Governor Henry McMaster spoke highly of South Carolina’s attributes that are bringing new industry to the state across the world. Speaking before Laurens Rotarians and guests yesterday at Laurens City Hall, McMaster spoke of the international companies operating facilities in South Carolina. He noted names like Boing, Samsung, Volvo, BMW that are operating here. “Why do all these people want to come to South Carolina? They all tell me the same thing. They say the technical colleges are fabulous. The collaboration, cooperation you get with research universities.” The governor said that with an upcoming project to deepen the Charleston harbor to 52 feet depth at low tide, we’ll have the deepest east coast port. He noted the Inland Port at Greer and soon another in the Pee Dee further increase the capacity for handling shipping in and out of the state.

But the Governor said they’re something else foreign companies like about South Carolina. “They say the same thing, in different languages. They say the main thing that we like about South Carolina. The main reason we’re coming, is three reasons: ‘The people the people and the people.”

With a nod to Senator Danny Verdin, Governor McMaster said we do have a weakness in South Carolina we need to work on. “To be weak in education in any part of your state or any part of your system is not good. But to weak in education and not acknowledge it and not to do something about it right now is a disaster.”

The governor said we’re in good shape for post high school, but in the lower grades and rural areas we need to improve. “What is the answer? It’s not just more money for this and more money for that. You’ve got to have strong families.  …So when the students go home, their learning continues. You’ve got to have….Well, how do you have strong families? Somebody in the house has got to have a job.”

Governor McMaster said that we need to have some kind of economic development that is accessible to the people in the rural areas of the state.

He said he asked for and the legislature created a ‘rural school district economic development closing fund’ to help fund infrastructure for some rural areas.

“If a company will come in and put in at least 50 workers in one of these places that meets a certain lack of activity level, or certain poverty level, you could call it, then we’ll provide money for water, sewer and….a school building… to fix a school building, to rev it up, to clean it up. Maybe even build a gymnasium, something like that.”

In speaking of the great opportunities for growth the state has realized in recent years, Governor McMaster gave credit for important planning many years before, such as the late Senator Fritz Hollings’ push to develop an excellent technical college system. Stressing the need to think big, the Governor said, “There is no power in a small idea.”