Boyd Summers, S.C. House District 75

Wednesday, 1 p.m.
Longtime GOP House leader Jim Harrison made a mistake: He made Boyd Summers mad at him, and as a result, he has an energetic, well-informed and highly motivated Democratic opponent in the November general election.

Mr. Summers a native Columbian and software executive, is mad about three things:

  1. "I find it very offensive what Mr. Harrison and the Legislature did on billboards." It undermined Home Rule in South Carolina. "Government decisions need to be made at the most local level possible." When Gov. Mark Sanford "did the right thing and vetoed it, they overrode" because they "could not look past the big money."
  2. Then there is Mr. Harrison’s having championed the idea of taking public money and sending it to private schools — an self-centered agenda being forced on South Carolina by narrow ideologues from out of state. "If I’m elected, I will be an advocate of public schools," said the graduate of Spring Valley High and Clemson.
  3. Finally, there is the "arrogance" of the long-time incumbent, which he found most offensively expressed in their handling of the recent criminal domestic violence legislation. He said he and his wife were livid over the "pop her again" clowning-around in a committee room filled with "a bunch of long-time legislators, most of them lawyers, and they just didn’t get it." They didn’t get the fact that South Carolina ranks worst on this most shameful of scales, and that there’s nothing funny about it.

Having "told you what kind of a son-of-a-gun" his opponent is, he went on to say what Boyd Summers would do in office. He would concentrate on getting lawmakers to concentrate on essential services, which have been grossly neglected in recent years. Rather than funding the Hunley, beach renourishment and football stadiums, "how about funding the Highway Patrol?" Or our prisons, so we can "keep the bad guys in." Or mental health services, so that the mentally ill don’t clog up our emergency rooms.

He would do something about the fat and duplication in our public higher education system, and look at consolidating some school districts — although he hesitates to say Richland County has too many with two.

On tax "reform," he said lawmakers start from the wrong direction. "They started from, a lot of people want property tax cuts." They "need to start from, What do the schools need?"

Seeming to recite something I have often written, he said the role of the lawmaker is to ask, "What do we have to do, what services do we need to have, and what’s it going to take to get there."

"We have got to get away from partisanship," he said. "My opponent has governed hard right. Our district wants common-sense solutions." An example? The failure to raise the cigarette tax, as most of the public clearly wants lawmakers to do.

He also believes in continuing the restructuring reforms started by the late Gov. Carroll Campbell, but neglected by present legislative leadership.

"We’re a very Legislative State, and look at where that’s got us."

16 thoughts on “Boyd Summers, S.C. House District 75

  1. Doug Ross

    >”What do we have to do, what services do
    >we need to have, and what’s it going to
    >take to get there.”
    Most people work on the “how much do we have, what can we do?” model instead of the “how much can we take from taxpayers to pay for everything we want?” model.
    Funny how consolidating Richland County’s two school districts doesn’t meet the consolidation requirement. Wouldn’t want to alienate the hometown folks….
    And we’ve got our first “taking money from public schools to give to private schools” Warthen litmus test result.

  2. LexWolf

    “Then there is Mr. Harrison’s having championed the idea of taking public money and sending it to private schools — an self-centered agenda being forced on South Carolina by narrow ideologues from out of state.”
    Yet another example of Brad’s thoroughly entrenched elitism. If only he would use his noggin a little, he would realize that those out-of-state interests could spend $millions and $millions and they wouldn’t get anywhere IF most South Carolinians didn’t want the same thing and voted accordingly! But hey, those pro-school choice people are just a bunch of hayseed hicks who would have no idea how to vote without a few commercials to tell them. Obviously none of us could ever decide for ourselves that we want school choice unless some much-maligned “out-of-state” special interests. After all, only the elitist editorial page editor of The State knows how to think for himself – the rest of us are just braindead peons who have to be told what to think by him and other enlightened “anointed”!
    The arrogance of Brad and Summers is breathtaking and quite frankly sickening!

  3. bill

    Elitism is “taking public money and sending it to private schools”.It’s also robbery.Steal from the poor and give to the rich.Summers talks simple and plain common sense about the main issues listed,something we don’t hear enough of in SC,probably because a lot of people don’t want to listen.

  4. Captain Worley

    I agree with his first point, disagree with the second, and agree with the third. Overall, I’d say he’d get my vote, since I’m really still on the fence about sending public money to private schools.
    The public school system in this state is in real trouble. I suggest The State send someone to Lower Richland High School for a day, observe the crimes going on (assualt, disrupting class, vandalizing state property), then see how many are reported to the RCSD as required by the Safe Schools Act.

  5. Dave

    Oh yes, he is in favor of school consolidation but not in his backyard. Ok in Lee, Calhoun, Marion, or Darlington county but no opinion on Richland. First strike against a seemingly decent guy with no guts to take a stand and stick to it on principle.

  6. Sherlock

    District 75 has a good opportunity to elect an energetic new member to a currently dysfunctional General Assembly. Summers is focused on practical solutions to problems…not mindless ideology. I think properly funding the highway patrol and the department of mental health are much more important than funding the Hunley with our tax money. If there is such a demand for “all-things-Hunley” the private sector can find a way to make it profitable. Finally, it is good to hear a candidate truly committed to public schools. The voucher idea is just another way to hurt poor people. GO SUMMERS…and all who share his enthusiasm for practical problem solving.

  7. Brad Warthen

    Dave, I had the same reaction on his not wanting to come out for consolidation for Richland, but I also recognize that it’s more complicated than that.
    Personally, I think Richland needs to be one district. I think we ought to have 46 districts statewide — one for each county. But when people tell me that’s a little simplistic, that I’m imposing a one-size fits all, I have to admit they MAY have a point. Maybe some counties should have more than one, while others should have LESS than one — maybe some of the rural districts should be combined, two or three counties to a district. I still think the goal ought to be about 46 overall — while admitting that’s not a scientific answer, it’s just my gut.
    Of course, if we went on the basis of population — so many kids to a district — then you’d think the big counties would be the first to split. But the counties with the most districts seem to be the ones with the fewest students, AND the fewest resources — while Richland is the only one of the Big Three with more than one district. Greenville and Charleston seem to be doing fine countywide, from what I hear.
    Ultimately, I’m afraid politicians aren’t going to solve this. We probably need a BRAC-type approach, with people who know a lot more than I do about the details of what it takes to run a school system coming up with the smartest way to apportion districts, and the Legislature having to vote it up or down, no amendments.
    As a believer in representative democracy, I hate to reach that conclusion. But I try not to be blinded by ideology of any kind, and a BRAC might be the only practical way to get the common-sense thing done on this issue.

  8. Lee

    This Summers needs a basic course in zero-based budgeting and cost control.
    Surely he is just pandering to the spend-all-we-can-get crowd in education.

  9. Dave

    Brad, the BRAC approach is likely the only way common sense will prevail in making the state’s school structure the way it should be. What is frustrating to many of us is acceptance of the status quo by the legislature, where the real power to change resides. So it also comes back to a re-balancing of the decisionmaking with state restructuring at its core. The way the legislators have ignored or fought that process so far, it appears we are all in a stalemate.

  10. bluemeanie

    Hats off to Brad Warthen for recognizing that school redistricting defies a simplistic solution. One district per county sounds great unless you have a kid in Greenville County with a two-hour bus ride.
    That said, Boyd Summers speaks truth on at least one crucial issue. Tax reform — assuming reform is necessary or desireable — is and will remain a pipe dream until it begins not with the assumption that taxes should be cut, but with an honest discussion of what we as citizens want for our state and how much it will cost to get there. This includes the realization that all of us have a voice in the debate — and an obligation to the common good.
    Supporting point: in 2004 South Carolina’s total tax burden ranked 33rd in the nation while per capita personal income ranked 44th. Seems to me that responsible investments that make our state a more desireable place to live, learn and work are part of the obligation we share.

  11. Howard Davies

    It is interesting to me that Mr. Summers is espousing the typical political rhetoric that South Carolina should continue to dump taxpayer dollars into failing school systems. Setting this argument aside, what is more disturbing to me is a candidate for public office stating that he will be an advocate for the public schools, while he himself chooses to send his children to one of the more elite private schools in Columbia.
    My vote will go to the candidate who is looking for solutions to this chronic problem instead of keeping the status quo. Jim Harrison truly has the interests of the public school system at heart — he made that very clear when he sent both of his children to public schools.

  12. Doug Ross

    Brad – you will follow up on the claim that Mr. Summers sends his kids to private schools, right? Or is that not a problem either?

  13. LexWolf

    Of course it’s not a problem, just as it wasn’t a problem that Chelsea Clinton went to private school even while her Dad blocked all attempts to give other kids a way out of their failed public schools.
    For Brad, politicians can send their own kids to whatever schools they want just as long as they support keeping less wealthy kids on the plantation.

  14. Dave

    With Karen Floyd receiving black political support the evidence is mounting that the minorities are beginning to see that those who insist on maintaining the status quo while professing that we will “know” the results in 13 years are waking up to the travesty bestowed on their own children.

    If Summers is beating the Brad and Cindy drum about “support our cherished public school system” while his own kids enjoy safe and sound private schools then he fits the sterotype of your typical liberal. Brad, you just interviewed him, surely you asked him where his kids go to school?

  15. Doug Ross

    According to Boyd Summers website, he has two children – ages 2 and 5… If the five year old is going to private school, I don’t have a problem with that.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *