The latest stats are in and they do not look good for the tri-county area and for the state of South Carolina. Childhood poverty in the area is increasing with 25 percent of our children living at or below the poverty index.

This means one in four children comes from a home that lacks the basic essentials for insuring that they have a chance for a successful start in life. The state poverty index for children is over 20 percent.

What do these numbers say about the priorities of our state and our lawmakers?

Our legislators and governor spend their time discussing guns in bars, finding ways to disenfranchise voters, restricting a woman's right to choose and denying gays their constitutional and civil rights.

Let's send a message to our governor and legislators -start doing the people's business and start with taking care of our children by fully funding 4-year-old kindergarten. Let's stop spending millions on testing our students and more on early intervention.

The evidence is clear; every dollar spent on early childhood education pays tremendous benefits to our children and the economy. When gun rights take precedent over taking care of our children it is not a nice day in South Carolina, it is a very sad day.

Brooks P. Moore

Blue House Road

Ladson

I decided to vote Tuesday in the Goose Creek Municipal Election, mainly because we finally had a choice of candidates for mayor. I arrived at the Goose Creek Municipal Center about 1:30 p.m. and was surprised to see that there was a line winding out of the door - folks had actually come out to vote.

When I arrived, mayoral candidate Jerry Tekac was standing near the parking lot and greeted me with a smile and a handshake and told me it was about a 25-minute wait to vote.

I went to the end of the line to wait. What I witnessed next was disturbing. Mayor Michael Heitzler was standing right up next to the line of voters, introducing himself, shaking hands and regaling folks with tales of his accomplishments over the years.

The mayor was actively campaigning in the polling place line and holding up its progress. When he finished with this first group, he reached the man two people in front of me, who said to him, "I'll shake your hand, but I don't want you to talk to me - you are getting too close to the voters."

I spoke up and said I agreed. Mayor Heitzler became defensive, stating that he was within the rules, that he was "20 feet back" (from the doorway of the polling place).

My position, on the other hand, is that once I am in the line waiting to vote, I am "in the polling place" and cannot be approached by a candidate.

The woman at the Berkeley County Board of Elections said she would bring my concerns to the attention of the board and suggested that I communicate to the State Board of Elections as well. So, to get a little practice with making my point, I thought I'd write this letter to the editor first.

Robin Giangrande

Loganberry Circle

Goose Creek

President Obama writes in a March 31 op-ed, "Profitable businesses like Shake Shack ($9.50 an hour) and Costco ($11.50) pay higher wages because it reduces employee turnover, boosts productivity and improves the bottom line."

He cites a few other examples. All businesses desire lower worker turnover, more productivity and more profit.

Why then do the vast majority of businesses resist the notion of a $10.10 minimum wage?

Does the president have an extensive background in business commerce and the work world that has led him to a simple business principle that has eluded millions of U.S. commercial enterprises?

Of course not, but businesses, large and small, are struggling with ever-expanding rules and regulations, tax burdens and threats to success posed by the Affordable Health Care Act. If our advisor-in-chief really wants to help millions of Americans scrambling to make ends meet he should pay more attention to the plight of our nation's businesses and shop owners.

Larry Lyons

Franke Drive

Ladson

The Associated Press story, "GOP seeking to reduce number of workers provided health care," in the April 4 Post and Courier was one of the most biased in content and headline I have ever seen in 50-plus years of reading this newspaper. The GOP bill was not intended to cheat workers out of health care by passing a law stating that full-time work is 40 hours per week.

The purpose of the Republican-authored bill is to counter the negative results of Obamacare under which the administration has redefined full time to mean 30 hours per week. The House vote was necessary, because otherwise, Obamacare will certainly reduce income for millions of American workers.

The story failed to point out that while many Democrats opposed the House measure, 18 Democrats joined Republicans in attempting to preserve the traditional 40-hour workweek.

These 18 Democrats obviously are aware that this bill intends to protect workers, not kick them in the guts, as the AP story and headline imply. The big picture here is that President Obama is trying to redefine what's traditional in order to force his ill-fitting health care law on us. He redefined the work week so that employers would be forced to shell out more bucks for health care coverage, but the consequences will be reduced incomes for workers.

What's next? Will Obama redefine "work" as sitting on a stool on your porch for zero pay? That way Obama can say no one became unemployed due to his catastrophic law.

Edward C. Fennell

Cessna Avenue

Charleston

How lucky are we to make saying good-bye to our friend Robert M. Hollings so hard. Whether you knew Robbie in his youth, as family, or by way of a chance acquaintance, you treasured his fellowship and generosity extended at every opportunity.

Robbie was the Johnny Appleseed of all living things, evidenced by the multiple tree plantings, both indigenous and unique, along the streets on the peninsula, as well as in the gardens of many.

He was proud of his town, positive and charming, and above all, a gentleman. He valued and celebrated every curiosity, every interest, and found the worth in each of us.

Robert was the quintessential Charlestonian, and a close friend to many. I wonder how long before we are unaware of the many empty spaces where he was expected to be.

Thomas Peters

Molasses Creek

Mount Pleasant

On April 1 the Island Choraliers performed their 14th Annual Concert, "To Thee We Sing," at the Church of Our Saviour, Johns Island. It was a message of inspiration and patriotism. The Island Choraliers is an all-male, volunteer, nondenominational chorus, made up of residents of the Sea Islands. Since 1999, the chorus has performed for the pleasure of singing together and to offer a spirit of good cheer to friends and neighbors.

The conductor is Nat Malcolm, the pianist is Elsie Easterbrook and the president is Mike Morris. Lee Pringle, guest soloist, appeared through cooperation with the CSO Gospel Choir and Spiritual Ensemble.

Other soloists included Jim Tilson, Warren Pyle, John Benzel and Bob Ray. The choir consists of 20 to 25 senior citizens. Some of the early members were part of what is described as "The Greatest Generation."

They were steeped in the experiences of economic depression and service in war and peace. Today's members continue to treasure the American spirit and freedom with pride.

The feedback from those who attended the concert included accolades describing it as a wonderful experience that made them feel good, reminding them of America's greatness.

WILLIAM F. TROIANI

Broomsedge Lane

Kiawah Island