As previously mentioned, I met Kara Gormley Meador over at Starbucks for coffee today, to talk about whether she is going to run for the state senate.
As you’ll recall, Ms. Meador had intended to oppose Jake Knotts in the GOP primary in District 23, but learned that she had been misinformed by officials who told her that she lived in that district, under the new lines. She thought she had done due diligence — she had even requested a new voter registration card, so she could have it in writing — but what she was told was wrong. Under the reapportionment, she will be in District 18, currently occupied by Ronnie Cromer.
So will she run against Sen. Cromer? She hasn’t decided. She said she even thought that maybe she would make up her mind while talking to me. I don’t know whether the talk with me helped, but in the end, for what it’s worth, I told her she should run — for something.
I say that not to endorse her over Mr. Cromer or anyone else. I just think she is a positive, energetic, knowledgeable young person who would be a positive force in our General Assembly.
Does that mean that I agree with her on everything? Hardly. As she wrote on this blog recently:
I’d like to try and propagate real individual income tax relief.
I’d like to dismantle or revamp the House and Senate ethics committee. As they stand, neither body has any teeth to penalize legislators when they act in an unethical or illegal manner.
I am for complete transparency.
I don’t believe our legislators should offer certain companies back room deals that include huge incentives and tax breaks to try and lure them to our state, while folks who have been doing business here for years get nothing.
I have a lot of thoughts when it comes to education. We need to analyze administrative costs and see where we can scale back or consolidate and make sure we pay our teachers a fair wage.
I believe in school choice to include the creation of more charter schools; and to allow children in rural public schools to have the same choices offered to students in other districts in their counties. For example: students in Batesburg-Leesville have only one elementary school in the district, but students in Lexington One have the chance to attend any of the districts elementary school if there is availability. I think a student should be able to cross district lines– especially if they are located in the same county.
(there’s a lot more to this– if you are interested I’d be happy to tell you more)
We need to cap government growth.
I feel that across the board cuts are a cop out. As a legislator in times like these, you need to make some tough cuts in order to pay the bills. I don’t use credit cards to pay for things I can’t afford. I don’t believe our legislators should spend money that way.
One way we could save money is by shortening the legislative session.
I also believe legislators should have term limits.
Those of you who know me can see some significant disconnects with my own positions on issues. For instance, as an ardent believer in representative democracy, I would neither unduly limit the voters’ ability to elect whom they like (term limits) nor use a mathematical formula to supersede the representative’s powers to write a budget (“cap government growth”).
Further, I see inconsistencies in her vision. Today, she indicated that she believed enough waste could be found in state spending to both fully fund the essential functions of state government (which she correctly describes as currently underfunded) and return enough money to taxpayers to stimulate our economy.
In a state as tax-averse as this one, there’s just not enough money there to have your cake and eat it, too, barring a loaves-and-fishes miracle. (OK, enough with the clashing metaphors.)
But she’s smart, she’s energetic, and she seems to have no axes to grind. I think she’d quickly see that you can’t do it all, and make realistic assessments of what can and should be done. Her disgust with the pointless conflicts of modern politics, and the way they militate against a better future for South Carolina’s people.
She worries about spending time away from her kids, but she wants a better South Carolina for them. And she made a point that I particularly appreciated. She said that when she wants a better future for her kids, she actually means that she wants a better one for all of the state’s kids — unlike so many other who say that. I nodded at that, because it took me way too long to realize years ago that when Mark Sanford wanted a South Carolina in which his sons could stay and have a bright future, he wasn’t referring to the boys as a microcosm — he literally meant that he wanted a better future for his sons, period. That’s the libertarian way.
Kara says she knows she sounds like a Ms. Smith Goes to Columbia, and she does. But I like that.
While she feels the pull of her children, “God has given me one life,” and “I’m extremely driven, and I love people.” She was bowled over by the enthusiastic response she got on Facebook that one day that people thought she was opposing Knotts. She told me that some of the folks she heard from were people she had reported on over the years, some of them crime victims (a particular interest for her) who appreciated having their stories told.
She likes the idea of being a voice for those who think they have no voices. “Maybe I should get in to prove to somebody that they could get in, too.”
There’s one thing that she and I agree on, based on our years of observing politics. In the end, character is everything — far more important than ideology or specific policy proposals. My impression is that Kara has the character to be a positive force in politics, whatever her current notions of specific policy proposals.
So I’d like to see her run — for something.