Wednesday, September 28, 2011

From the House

Bluffton Today

I was distressed and saddened to hear of the untimely passing of my friend Don Ryan last week. As the President and CEO of CareCore National, Don and his team had a profound impact on the economic prospects of Bluffton and District 118, as well as Beaufort County. His vision for the future of this area was a strong part of the job growth success we have experienced locally and regionally. It is a rare individual who can see the big picture, not only from an economic point of view, but also from the standpoint of how good jobs can literally recreate a struggling community, one family at a time. Don Ryan was one of those individuals.

It is a fitting tribute to the legacy of this innovative entrepreneur and civic stalwart that the business incubator partnership between CareCore National and Clemson University will go forward as planned. My friend Jerry Stewart, the point of the economic development spear for Beaufort County Council gave me a good update on the relationship a couple of days ago. Even with our stunning loss, the challenge of quality job creation will have to be met. Sadly, one of our leaders, Don Ryan, has left us. He will be greatly missed.

Continuing in the economic sphere, I was fortunate to be able to attend the recent Home Builders Association event at 9 Promenade. These are some folks that have been hit pretty hard by the prolonged recession but still manage to remain upbeat about the turnaround, especially in the Bluffton area. One of the few positive aspects of enduring serious economic dislocation is that it forces us to be more creative and more efficient in our allocation of time and resources. This has been the case with us in the General Assembly, and certainly with the members of the HBA.

One of the most upbeat and positive people around is my good friend Steve Tilton, who just happens to be the current president of the association. Steve is not only an excellent businessman and creative homebuilder, he also is a fellow whose involvement in the community is second to none. It was a pleasure to spend some social time with Steve and his lovely wife Maureen, as well as so many of my friends and development colleagues from Beaufort and Jasper counties.

From a political perspective, I get a tremendous amount of actionable advise from the builders, as they are a huge segment of our economy, and as such, have a first-hand knowledge of what parts of the government are helping the cause, and which parts need to disappear. I encourage members of our delegation to attend these get-togethers for that very reason. This time around, Rep. Andy Patrick from Hilton Head was able to be with us. He and I agreed that we learned a lot and had a pretty good time as well. Executive Officer of the HBA, Ashley Feaster knows how to put on a great event.

Finally, the situation at the entrance to St Gregory the Great is not satisfactory, and has never been satisfactory. It is inconvenient and unsafe. I have had SCDOT down here a few times, in consultation with Sun City County Councilman Jerry Stewart and County Council Chairman Weston Newton. We are banging away at this problem and it will get better. Right now, I don’t have a timeline, but all the parties are equally upset, so we will see some movement on this sooner rather than later. Please be patient.