“Conservation Leadership Sets James Smith Apart”

COLUMBIA, SC – The Board of Directors of Conservation Voters of South Carolina (CVSC) announced today its endorsement of Representative James Smith for Governor of South Carolina in the 2018 election.

“South Carolina needs a governor who knows how to work across party lines to make conservation a priority. James Smith is that leader and should be our next governor,” said Jennie Williamson Pezé, CVSC’s Chair of the Board. “James Smith has spent his career speaking up for the rights of all citizens to breathe clean air, drink safe water, and build a clean energy future. CVSC is proud to endorse him.”

In 2009, Representative Smith was honored with CVSC’s first ever Green Tie Award for House Conservation Leadership.

“South Carolina needs a leader who will advance a bold vision for the future of our state and protect the air, land and water that define us,” said John Tynan, CVSC’s Executive Director. “James Smith has shown time after time that he will fight – and win – for the rights of our citizens to a clean and healthy environment. He values people over profits and has chosen pragmatic results over political stunts. He is the leader that South Carolina needs and deserves.”

Smith boasts a nearly perfect lifetime score of 97% on the annual conservation scorecard issued by Conservation Voters of South Carolina, including a 117% on the most recent scorecard – the highest score in the SC House last session (numerous bill sponsorship bumps contributed to his score).

“I have fought alongside CVSC for years to protect the natural resources that fuel over a third of our state’s economy, and I am proud to accept their endorsement today,” said Rep. Smith. “Together we have stopped rollbacks to the most fundamental of environmental protections, put in place policies that have saved thousands of acres from destruction, and expanded clean energy options to all South Carolinians. As Governor, we will build on these successes together and usher in a new era of conservation leadership for South Carolina.”

Tynan noted that Smith’s conservation record and legacy of conservation leadership allowed him to stand out from the crowded gubernatorial field and earn the endorsement. Conservation Voters cited over a decade of conservation achievements in their endorsement of James Smith for Governor, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Preventing the expansion the Barnwell nuclear waste site (2003/2004).
  • Leading efforts to establish and reform surface water withdrawal permitting and ensure our rivers continue to flow (2010, 2013, 2015, 2017)
  • Protecting the rights of citizens to hold polluters accountable for illegal pollution (2014, 2016)
  • Leading the fight against rolling back citizens’ ability to participate in the permitting process and to prevent environmental damage before a permit is final (2008, 2012, 2016, 2018)
  • Working tirelessly to expand solar energy options, first in 2009 with a tax credit expansion, again in 2014 with support of the landmark Act 236, and again most recently in 2018 to remove the cap on solar net metering.
  • Launching and protecting the funding for the SC Conservation Bank (2004 and numerous years since)

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