Lexington – Town and county – has a murky political record. Corruption is not exclusive to this county, nor is it as rampant here as it is elsewhere (*cough* Richland). Nonetheless, any instance or degree of public official misdeed is unacceptable, and although there is never an excuse for the unscrupulous, the blame is not theirs alone.
Voting seems to have become an inconvenience or something unworthy of far too many people. Poll turnout is disgustingly light for any level of election. And without strong participation by the electorate, the frauds, the unscrupulous and the racketeers will continue to gain access to our public offices and public coffers. So it should surprise no one that Rick Quinn and other bad actors have profited by their misdeeds so successfully and for so long.
Quinn is gone and now we have another election to fill his stained seat in the South Carolina House of Representatives. Looking to replace him is an interesting and attractive slate of candidates, all of whom deserve attention and scrutiny. As always, there are those who rise above the rest.
In studying the five candidates, Joel Deason, Anne Marie Eckstorm Green, Alan Ray, Michael Weaver, and Chris Wooten. As usual, all of them say what we want to hear and I believe they are honest about their platforms. I don’t think there are any phony’s in this race. Of the group, I am most confident in two particular candidates.
First, I want to explain why I “eliminated” two of them; Joel Deason and Michael Weaver. Both are attorney’s and are clearly accomplished gentlemen. What gives me pause, however, is their connections.
Mr. Deason has quite a bit of experience in state government, of which he is justifiably proud. On his website he states; “He is now an attorney and concentrates his practice on litigation and public policy. He has also prosecuted Insurance Fraud as an Assistant Attorney General, and worked on a variety of issues before the S.C. General Assembly while serving as Research Director in the S.C. Senate.” These would seem like very good credentials for a member of the legislature, but I am nagged by a candidate with likely kinship within the body.
Mr. Weaver is a lawyer with the McNair Law firm – the powerful McNair Law firm. That is a fantastic career point for a legal resume, but McNair’s associations within the State House are strong and wide. This isn’t to suggest in any way that those connections are illegal, unethical or in any way wrong, but it is strong and wide and powerful connections that brought us to a special election.
I have no reason to believe either Messrs Weaver or Deason are insincere or easily subjugated to corruption, but Lexington has been victimized by “the network” over and over and caution should be our best action.
The two candidates to which I have migrated are Anne Marie Eckstorm Green and Chris Wooten.
Currently serving on the Lexington 1 School Board, Ms. Green is bull whip smart and energetic. Given the problems facing our schools: bullying, drug and alcohol abuse, diversity, funding, growing population and more, Ms. Green’s considerable talents and energy are best suited for the School Board – for the time being. Her’s is a future from which Lexington will greatly benefit, but I feel her value to the community is best realized with her on the school board.
Chris Wooten is a local business man, a Marine and former South Carolina state trooper. He has no political experience, a point he routinely makes himself. But he knows the issues and can talk to and about them with aplomb. What I find particularly attractive about Mr. Wooten is what I can best describe as his “core.” He is a thinker and a learner and his passions are those we all want for our political leaders.
My sense, my gut bring me to the conclusion to vote for Chris Wooten for the District 69 seat in the South Carolina House of Representatives.
No matter your choice, vote. Unless we tell politicians and candidates for political office that we are watching and we WILL vote, the sins of the past, by both politicians and the electorate will be repeated.