Santee Cooper (copy)

In next year's legislative session, state lawmakers will decide the fate of Santee Cooper, the state-run utility. File/Staff

Rural households across our nation spend a disproportionate share of their income on energy bills. It’s a huge problem in the South, especially in low-income households. It is not right that people have to choose between paying the utility bill or paying for a prescription or food.

Since 2012, Santee Cooper has increased rates by 15% to build the VC Summer nuclear reactors that were ultimately abandoned.

The immediate impact felt by laid-off workers and the rural local community was horrendous enough, but the fallout will continue for years because of the lingering debt.

Rates are expected to increase unless major changes take place.

This has a very real impact on low-income, marginalized communities where people work two or three jobs, lack transportation and must make real-life decisions about keeping the lights on.

Santee Cooper is conducting a “getting to know the CEO” tour of our state with “movers and shakers,” but where is the concern for those folks who can’t afford the admission fee for private receptions or closed forums?

If Santee Cooper is sold to a private company, it will be accountable to our Public Service Commission and will have to justify raising rates before implementation.

Right now, the state-owned utility is not accountable to anyone and it shows in who gets face time with the new CEO.

Where is the accountability? How can you trust the plan when the plan is not shared with everyone?

MARILYN HEMINGWAY

Peachtree Street

Georgetown

Polarized nation

Many Democrats and Republicans remain polarized as victims of their own confirmation biases: What they see and hear is interpreted and fixated in the context of any previously derived world view.

So any opposing viewpoints regarding the recent House hearings are often discounted out of hand.

Lindsey Graham amplifies his calls for Biden investigation: 'My conscience is clear'

For the rational and independent thinker, however, clear understandings have emerged from these recent hearings.

First, Russia continues efforts to undermine our faith in our democratic institutions with misinformation and propaganda promoting false conspiracy theories on both sides.

Ultimately, Russia’s goal is to sow increased division and induce chaos by undermining our election process and our confidence in it. Recently, other authoritarian regimes, such as China, have been encouraged to insinuate themselves into our domestic political choices while our own intelligence services and patriotic foreign service motives have been questioned and denigrated.

Secondly, regardless whether one is a strong supporter of President Donald Trump’s agenda or a vigorous opponent, all patriotic Americans must decide the following questions:

1. Should we continue to invite or allow foreign government influence into our democratic processes?

2. Should any president be allowed to autocratically ignore the best interests of our country and our security in order to encourage such foreign influence, especially if it is to their own benefit?

Such unbridled power and authority seems a terribly dangerous precedent, and will jeopardize our cherished institutions and republic.

JAY ROBISON

McCants Drive

Mount Pleasant

House hearings

There is more and increasing disappointment in our elected officials (both parties). All these “top” government officials in important positions, some essential to U.S. security, can’t seem to recall saying or hearing vital portions of conversations with other top officials. It’s evident that protecting your own rear end above integrity is the top characteristic necessary to obtain higher echelon government placement.

Nowadays, I cringe whenever a politician makes a statement that includes “... and I will represent you, the American people.”

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BILL TRAVERS

Seven Farms Drive

Charleston

Untranscribed actions

How utterly uninformed and naive does one have to be to write that it is treason for the president of the United States to hold “untranscribed meetings with hostile foreign adversaries”?

If this is true, I suspect that every president in modern times is guilty of treason.

ROBERT G. CURRIN JR.

Palmetto Pointe Lane

Edisto Island

Hicks is entertaining

Whatever the subject, Brian Hicks is entertaining as well as informative. I read his column every week. The Charleston metro area is fortunate to have his voice.

Hicks column: How Mayor Tecklenburg overcame the odds to win a second term

I heard him speak about two years ago at the Timrod Library in Summerville. He’s the real deal. You don’t have to agree with every viewpoint, but he’s worth listening to and reading.

RICHARD STANDRING

Coastal Bluff Way

Summerville