It’s that time again – the time when campaign signs start popping up, when political ads flood the TV and radio airwaves, when candidate mailers appear in your mailbox on a daily basis.
It’s ELECTION TIME!
The primary elections are just 18 days away on Tuesday, June 12. And for many of you, the primary may be the only chance you have to cast your vote for your State House Representative.
Turnout in primary elections is extremely low – a few hundred votes can be the difference between a conservation champion or an pro-pollution politician.
As you’re doing your research before heading to the polls, we wanted to let you know about a few key CVSC endorsements this cycle. You can check out our full endorsement list (as of 5/25/18) at this link.
But here are a few races you should pay attention to:
- Rep. Nathan Ballentine (R-Chapin) has served in the House since 2005 and has been a consistent conservation champion. He’s been a tireless advocate for reauthorization and funding of the Conservation Bank because he knows the benefits to both our economy and quality of life. His work in 2018 on clean energy and energy reform, however, has been nothing short of outstanding. Serving as the Co-Chair of the SC Energy Caucus, he cosponsored solar jobs legislation, spoke on the House floor in passionate support of solar, has been a key voice in efforts to repeal the Base Load Review Act (that led to the VC Summer debacle), and has worked tirelessly to reform our broken energy system to put more power in the hands of citizens and ratepayers rather than utility monopolies. CVSC has endorsed Rep. Ballentine and is working hard to see him return to Columbia.
- Rep. Leola Robinson-Simpson (D-Greenville) boasts an impressive 92% lifetime score on CVSC’s conservation scorecard because of her commitment to clean and healthy communities and protecting our quality of life. She has been a steadfast supporter of pro-conservation legislation including solar energy growth, opposition to attacks on core environmental protections, and supporting the rights of citizens to a clean and healthy environment. As an Upstate Representative, her outspoken opposition to offshore drilling has also demonstrated that protecting our coastline from drilling is not just a coastal issue – it’s a South Carolina issue.
- Rep. William Cogswell (R-Charleston) has been a strong supporter of the rights of citizens to a clean and healthy environment, fighting rollbacks to environmental protections, and working to stop dangerous and dirty offshore drilling. He has supported proactive policies that move our state forward – including the Conservation Bank, energy reform, and clean energy options. He has been a strong proponent of reform efforts in Columbia – pushing for a constitutional convention that would establish a better balance of power between the executive and legislative branches in South Carolina. And, finally, he sponsored legislation that would free up local funds to fix drainage and flooding issues in Charleston and other coastal communities – a huge need as our coastal communities continue to experience flooding and sea level rise. Conservation and South Carolina needs Rep. Cogswell to return to Columbia to continue his leadership and work on these important issues.
- Rep. Cezar McKnight (D-Kingstree) was elected in 2014 and has been an advocate for protecting the air, land, and water of our state ever since. He has a strong 87% on CVSC’s conservation scorecard, having supported the historic 2016 shoreline protection efforts, litter and pollution reduction policies, and improving coal ash disposal. He’s been a key ally in the fight for clean energy this session as well pushing back against efforts to weaken core environmental protections for communities throughout the state as a member of the House Judiciary committee. He brings a strong and passionate voice to the legislature from rural Williamsburg County and we need him again on our side in 2019.
- Bobby Cox (R-Greenville) is running to unseat Rep. Phyllis Henderson in House district 21 in Greenville County. Bobby has served our country through four combat tours in Iraq as an Army Ranger, has robust national and international business experience, and has a strong commitment to ethics reform. He values “common-sense” solutions to protect the natural resources of our state and recognizes that our air, land, and water are critical to our state’s economy. A supporter of clean energy job growth, Bobby supports efforts to give citizens greater access to solar and other clean energy sources through free-market competition. Rep. Henderson, however, has a low lifetime score on CVSC’s conservation scorecard and has been particularly anti-conservation in the 2017-2018 session. She was a leader in the effort to strip local communities of their right to address local plastic pollution problems, moving government farther away from local communities and increasing the chance of more plastic problems. And in the series of 14 solar energy votes this year on the House floor, she went 0 for 14 – voting against solar energy jobs and supporting the anti-solar positions of the big utility monopolies every single time. In this race the choice is clear – Bobby Cox received CVSC’s endorsement and, once elected, will bring new, bold leadership to Columbia.
- Jordan Scott Pace (R-North Charleston) is running to unseat Rep. Bill Crosby in House district 117 in North Charleston. A strong believer in free-market principles, Jordan has long advocated for a more transparent and accountable government. Jordan’s views and those of CVSC particularly align in the energy realm with the shared belief that the utility monopolies hold too much sway in Columbia. He’s a strong supporter of market-based solutions to energy issues and supports eliminating arbitrary caps on solar energy growth and allow the market to act. He sees the importance of local government and the rights of individual citizens to a clean and healthy environment. His opponent, Rep. Bill Crosby, in comparison, voted every single time this session to roll back core environmental protections and threaten the rights of citizens to a clean environment. Similar to Rep. Henderson, Crosby aligned with anti-solar legislators and big utility interests to kill solar jobs legislation in the House this session, voting only 3 out of 14 times for solar legislation. In addition, he refused to vote for solar on the three most critical clean energy votes this year. In House 117, the choice is between a free-market energy reformer in Jordan Scott Pace or the pro-utility politician Bill Crosby – for this reason, CVSC has endorsed Jordan Scott Pace.
These races give a quick rundown of just a few of the elections we’re tracking in the SC House. But there are primary elections in over a third of the State House districts. Check our endorsement page to see if we’ve weighed in on the elections or, at minimum, check out our scorecard to know how your House member has voted on conservation issues.
Elections are the ultimate accountability tool. So check out our endorsements today and put June 12 on your calendar to go out and VOTE!