Wednesday, October 3, 2012

From the House

Bluffton Today Three events last week placed members of your House delegation in a favorable spotlight. On a perfect, early fall evening, at the lovely Sea Pines home of Rita and Dudley King, a good crowd of Rep. Andy Patrick’s friends and supporters gathered for fellowship and to hear Andy and various political luminaries comment on the issues of the day. One of the highlights was a talk given by House Speaker Bobby Harrell in response to a question about his legislative agenda for the upcoming session. Aside from the usual comments on fiscal prudence, he spoke about the need to add specificity and common sense language to our ethics regime. We will also revisit the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) matter, especially since the House passed a strong reform bill that was killed in the Senate last session. The speech was brief, humorous, and definitive. It included just enough “inside baseball” to satisfy the attentive crowd. All in all, it was a great event, with good attendance, superb company, and a rousing tune-up for the opening of the next session of the General Assembly. Friday evening was the much-anticipated “Thank You” soiree for Weston Newton supporters after his primary victory for the newly created House District 120 seat. The weather could not have been better as several hundred hungry well-wishers descended on Rose and Weston Newton’s gorgeous Myrtle Island compound. Cars were parked from the bridge to the circle and young Reedy Newton was pressed into service with the golf cart, ferrying attendees to and from cars and the party. The barbeque was expertly produced by the legendary Broken Arrow Group, a consortium of senior pork cookers who might give the famous Ted Huffman of Bluffton Barbeque a bit of competition were they to relinquish control of most of the economy of the south end of the state and become professional pit men. The presumptive Representative Newton made a few brief, very well received remarks, followed by an equally brief invocation by Congressman Tim Scott. The well-organized buffet was appreciatively assaulted. I left long after my usual bedtime and there was still a huge crowd of happy folks scattered over the yard. Rose and Weston certainly raised the bar for political celebrations. Finally, the Community Matching Grant Fundraiser at the Pine House was as elegant as one would expect from hostess Joanie Heyward. The house is a showplace and the appointments, the food and the beverages were perfectly situated and attended. The turnout, as expected, was huge and represented a good cross section of prosperous Bluffton. I don’t know the final accounting, but I am certain the goal was easily reached. The Bluffton/Jasper County Volunteers in Medicine (VIM) clinic is such a well run and supported operation, folks are eager to help. An interesting sidebar to this good story is the fact that because the new VIM clinic also includes dental and other services, there are some regulatory hurtles to work through, which are similar to those encountered by Dr. Jack McConnell as he organized the original VIM facility on Hilton Head. Fortunately, this representative and other members of the delegation are perfectly positioned and more than ready to help in navigating the state regulatory regime. If good people want to volunteer their services for the betterment of the community, we must make it as effortless as possible for them to get the paperwork and credentials in order. Next week, more policy and less partying (even for good causes).