Every seat in the South Carolina House of Representatives is up for re-election this year. These are our recommendations for the districts that include portions of Charleston County.
Samuel Rivers — District 15
In his three terms as a Republican state representative, Samuel Rivers has made economic development a priority. Based on South Carolina’s upward economic trajectory, he seems to be on the right track.
Rep. Rivers has also worked to expand school choice so it works for all students, and he has pushed to address the state’s longstanding infrastructure needs.
Rep. Rivers’ district includes parts of North Charleston and Berkeley County, but he has ably balanced the needs of such a varied district during his time at the Statehouse. He merits another term.
Con Chellis — District 94
Con Chellis, a Republican, small business owner and Dorchester County Council member, is running to replace Rep. Katie Arrington, who herself is hoping to take U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford’s seat in Congress. He’s an ideal pick to fill Ms. Arrington’s shoes.
Mr. Chellis rightly points out that South Carolina hasn’t done enough to reform how it handles road construction and maintenance, especially in light of the recently approved gas tax.
He supports greater transparency in campaign spending, tax reform to provide sustainable revenue and economic growth and better access to workforce education in his district, which includes much of Summerville and a small portion of Charleston County.
We think those are smart priorities.
Nancy Mace — District 99
Rep. Nancy Mace is nothing if not a fighter. The Republican incumbent made that most notably clear by becoming the first woman to graduate from The Citadel, but she has also made quite an impression in a few short months at the Statehouse after being elected earlier this year to replace Rep. Jim Merrill, who resigned after pleading guilty to a misconduct charge in the Statehouse corruption probe.
Rep. Mace, whose district stretches from Goose Creek to Daniel Island, knows that infrastructure is a top priority. She led the charge to fix the Wando River bridge this summer when state inspectors found a broken cable inside the structure.
She thinks the state’s unnecessarily complex and political transportation funding mechanisms could be simplified. We agree.
Rep. Mace also has no-nonsense ideas about education reform. She champions gun rights but is open to sensible reforms. And she has also been vocal about her opposition to offshore oil drilling.
Nancy Mace has won several elections in a very short time. Voters should hand her another victory.
David Mack — District 109
David Mack, a Democrat, has served in the state House for two decades. But he hasn’t just warmed a seat. Rep. Mack has tirelessly worked to protect the quality of life of his constituents, who live mostly in North Charleston and part of Mount Pleasant.
He plans to make education a priority, as well as health care and housing affordability.
Rep. Mack would also work to continue needed reforms to the state’s criminal justice system and improve infrastructure.
Rep. Mack has the experience to serve District 109 voters for another term.
William Cogswell — District 110
Incumbent Rep. William Cogswell, a Republican whose district covers part of the Charleston peninsula and Mount Pleasant, says he and a coalition of other relative newcomers to the Statehouse are undertaking a long-term effort to reshape state government and better balance the Legislative and Executive branches.
It’s a bold idea, and one that will be challenging to say the least.
He also plans to dig into the minutiae of the state budget on everything from education to roads and flooding infrastructure, and to make sure that each of the state’s 46 counties are as economically productive as possible while Charleston gets its fair share.
Rep. Cogswell’s goals are ambitious, and voters should embrace his enthusiasm for tackling challenging issues.
Mike Sottile — District 112
In the race for the House District 112, which includes the Isle of Palms and eastern Mount Pleasant, incumbent Rep. Mike Sotille is our pick. The Republican says he will push ethics reform, oppose offshore drilling and support commonsense gun-law reforms.
The former IOP mayor, who has represented the district since 2009, says he’s finally where he wants to be on the Ways and Means Committee, where he’ll have more control over spending. He’s right when he says the Charleston-area delegation can’t afford to lose lawmakers in key positions.
Give him another term.
Lin Bennett — District 114
GOP incumbent Rep. Lin Bennett also rates another term in West Ashley’s House District 114 seat. She’s a strong advocate for improving education, protecting taxpayers, expanding solar energy and solving flooding problems.
Rep. Bennett also said that working to resolve Santee Cooper’s financial situation and protect its ratepayers would be a “big issue” for her. Rightly so.
And she wants to take the politics out of road funding, which could help Charleston area taxpayers get more for their money.
Rep. Bennett rates another term.
Peter McCoy — District 115
In District 115, covering most of James, Folly, Kiawah and Seabrook islands, we support Republican Rep. Peter McCoy for a third term.
The former prosecutor is an important voice for ratepayers regarding the fallout from the V.C. Summer nuclear plant failure. He has led the charge on rate cuts and other important legislation and has sound ideas for next session like stronger ethics rules for utility regulators.
He has also made priorities out of raising teacher pay, making higher education more affordable and securing dedicated funding for the S.C. Conservation Bank.
Robert Brown — District 116
In mostly rural District 116, stretching from Johns Island inland nearly to Walterboro, our choice is Democratic Rep. Robert Brown. With 18 years in the House, Rep. Brown knows his constituents and serves them well.
Atop his agenda is improving infrastructure, including the Hollywood sewage system, and seeing that the Highway 17 flyover is built at Main Road to facilitate traffic coming onto and off of Johns Island.
He also said he looks forward to being “the loudest voice saying ‘no’ to drilling.”
That’s a cause District 116 voters ought to get behind.
Bill Crosby — District 117
Rep. Bill Crosby, a Republican who was first elected to the state House in 2010, has watched his district, which includes parts of North Charleston and Berkeley County, change a lot in the past few years. He has worked hard to make that change benefit his constituents.
We believe he’s done a good job.
Rep. Crosby said his priorities moving forward are “reducing the tax burden on our citizens” and making sure the Charleston region gets the road money it needs.
He also said he would work to help Santee Cooper ratepayers and to negotiate a deal to bring more workers back to the Century Aluminum plant, which is in his district.
District 117 voters ought to give Rep. Crosby the chance to keep up the good work.
Leon Stavrinakis — District 119
In District 119, which includes West Ashley, James Island and part of Johns Island, Rep. Leon Stavrinakis is voters’ best bet. The veteran Democratic lawmaker, a member of the Ways and Means Committee, has a demonstrated ability to work across party lines.
He wants to continue working on education funding and infrastructure issues, as well as tax reform. He also favors putting an independent commission in charge of redistricting to promote more competitive elections and tightening ethics rules as they relate to utilities.
Rep. Stavrinakis has served his constituents well, and voters ought to send him back to Columbia.