Increasing minority voters task of Clyburn panel


U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn has been called on by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to help turn around the Democratic Party’s poor showing in the fall elections.

Clyburn, D-S.C., last week was named chairman of the 11-member House Democratic Outreach & Engagement Task Force.

The goal is to energize voters heading toward 2016. A key selling point will be this year’s 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act and trying to attract minorities to come back stronger at the polls. Clyburn is the highest-ranking black member of Congress.

While the focus is boosting the national turnout, Democrats are especially smarting in the House of Representatives where their numbers fell from 201 to 188 as a result of the November elections.

Clyburn will also attend next month’s 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” March 7-8 in Selma, Ala., his office confirmed.

Summerville Republican state Rep. Jenny Horne is among the voices in Columbia who support allowing marijuana to be grown and prescribed for certain illnesses.

Along with state Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, the two co-chairs of a Statehouse medical marijuana study panel said last week they plan to file identical bills in their chambers in the coming weeks.

Horne said testimony convinced her that people who are truly in pain, including those who are dying, should have legal access to a plant that helps them.

She recalled an Afghanistan war veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder who testified that marijuana was the only thing that stopped his constant suicidal thoughts.

“We owe it to the people who came to our committee to tell these painful stories. We’re concerned with law-abiding citizens who want to do it correctly without fear of violating the law and have real medical issues,” Horne was quoted in a report by The Associated Press. “It’s incumbent upon us to not just say ‘no.’ ”

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry spoke to S.C. House Republicans on Tuesday at a downtown Columbia fundraiser that was well stocked with drinks and hors d’oeuvres for those gathered to hear the possible 2016 presidential candidate.

What did he say? Good question.

Although Perry’s campaign invited reporters to the event, they were asked to leave after a few minutes inside or not let in at all. The House Republican Caucus said it was a simple misunderstanding: It doesn’t ever let reporters into its fundraisers, officials said.

Perry didn’t stick around for too long, though. A few hours earlier, a Texas court kept a felony abuse-of-power case against him alive; the former governor was back in Austin the next morning to — yes — talk to reporters about it.

Earlier in the day in Spartanburg, Perry did give a shout-out to Gov. Nikki Haley by saying she could get a high posting in a future Republican administration.

“I would not be surprised if Nikki is talked about often as an administration participant, whether as vice president or as secretary of a major cabinet position,” he was quoted by Spartanburg media.

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham will be on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday morning. It is his second appearance of 2015 on the Sunday news shows.

Graham, R-S.C., and a possible presidential candidate, appeared on the Sunday shows 11 times in 2014 (an election year), which was a drop off of the previous year’s 16 times.

Others in the CBS lineup today include Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; former Secretary of State James Baker; and Joseph Califano, former aide to President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Graham will hold a press conference Monday in Columbia to discuss news reports that one of the five Taliban fighters released in last year’s prisoner exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has re-engaged in terrorist activities.

Palmetto Politics is assembled by The Post and Courier’s political team.