Millwood, Walker explain priorities, qualifications for S.C. House seat

Published 4:18 pm Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Editor&squo;s note: The Bulletin recently asked the two candidates for S.C. House District 38, incumbent Bob Walker and challenger Joey Millwood, to share information about their background and qualifications for the seat, and their view on issues facing the state. Millwood is an employee of the Bulletin. The Bulletin does not support or endorse either candidate.

Please share a little about your personal and professional background and the reasons why you are best qualified for this office.

Joey Millwood: I grew up in Spartanburg County. I went to Z.L. Madden Elementary School, Whitlock Junior High School, and Spartanburg High School in District Seven. I moved to Landrum five years ago when I married my wife, a Landrum native, Erin Henderson. We live in Landrum and have a four-month-old daughter, Eliza Cait. I graduated from USC Upstate and I am currently the sports editor at the Tryon Daily Bulletin.

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I&squo;m qualified for the position because I&squo;m a South Carolina taxpayer. Government isn&squo;t just for wealthy people. I&squo;m proud to say I&squo;m not a politician. I&squo;m your average South Carolinian who knows the tax burden that is placed on our shoulders by all facets of government. I&squo;ve got common sense to know that my household expenditures can&squo;t outgrow my household income. Our state legislators obviously don&squo;t know that. State government has grown over 40 percent in the last three years. That&squo;s experience we can do without.

Bob Walker: I grew up in this community and graduated from Landrum High School and the University of S.C. I served five years in the Air Force as an officer and jet aircraft instructor. I married Martha Johnson and have made my home here for over 42 years. We have one son, Greg, a daughter-in-law, Robyn, and three grandchildren, Sara, Tommy and Emma.

I work in a small business. I have been the co-owner of Landrum Insurance Agency since 1974. I am a deacon of Landrum First Baptist Church and a leader in the Landrum Lions Club. I served on the District One school board for eight years and have been recognized for my civic work by being named Citizen of the Year in Landrum.

Currently, I am chairman of the House Education and Public Works Committee. In this leadership role, I am well positioned to make sure the voice of House District 38 is heard loud and clear. I have led in state government reform and helped pass one of the toughest immigration bills in the nation.

Much of my professional life has been dedicated to improving our children&squo;s education. I led the fight to eliminate the PACT test, so it would be replaced with a diagnostic test to improve instruction. I know parents need more control over their children&squo;s education, so I have worked hard to provide more options for our students.

I have been a leader in the State House in returning to the people more than 1 billion dollars in tax relief this past session by dramatically cutting property tax, eliminating the grocery tax, and reducing the income tax. I have been endorsed by the S.C. Citizens for Life, and I will make sure marriage is defined as the union of one man and one woman. I will never forget where I came from and will always listen to our community&squo;s concerns over&bsp; Columbia special interests.

What issues facing the state do you see as most important and what specifically would you do in your term to address them?

Joey Millwood: The absolute most important issue facing our state is wasteful spending. Reckless spending is outweighing necessary spending. We&squo;re funding collard greens festivals and balloon races before fully funding the department of corrections. Those kinds of things are going to have to stop. We&squo;ve got to be more responsible with the taxpayer&squo;s money in South Carolina. In the last three years, the cost of living for South Carolinians has gone up around 9-9.5 percent. In that same time span, government has grown over four percent. It&squo;s time we put true conservatives in the State House to clean up.

Speaking of true conservatism, the last thing I&squo;d ever do is betray my family values. I&squo;d never appoint a liberal judge to a lifetime appointment on the state Supreme Court bench. My opponent did this. He cast a vote for a former Democrat legislator to be on the state Supreme Court. If we&squo;re going to hold our presidential candidates to a standard on Supreme Court nominees, we need to do the same with our state legislators.

I want to go to Columbia and fight for true conservative, family values. That includes protecting South Carolina jobs by dealing with illegal immigration. While the immigration bill signed into law was a step in the right direction, it could&squo;ve been stronger. And finally, we don&squo;t need to continue to be a state run by R.I.N.Os (Republicans in Name Only). It&squo;s time for us, as voters and South Carolinians, to stand up for those values we believe in. We need to fight these liberal Republicans, if you can call them Republicans at all, and stand up for what we believe in. It&squo;s the only way South Carolina is ever going to be better.

Thank you and I hope you&squo;ll support me on June 10 in the Republican primary.

Bob Walker: The most important issues facing our state are the economy, jobs, education and illegal immigration, which are all related. The economy will not improve until we bring more jobs in the state. We must improve our infrastructure and provide an educated work force to encourage companies to come into our state. Our children must be prepared for the jobs of the future by taking subjects aligned to various career paths and having hands-on experiences in a variety of vocations. Updating the technology in the classroom and providing our teachers with the resources they need are a necessity. My position as chairman of the House Education and Public Works Committee will allow me to continue to improve our educational system and our infrastructure.

The new immigration law that was just passed will help our economy. It will eliminate state benefits and state scholarships for illegals, and it will help with the problem of overcrowding in our schools and increased health care costs. Also illegal immigrants are taking some of the jobs that South Carolinians could do.

Substantial government reform has taken place, and more reform is needed to improve the economy. I know that families have to live on a budget, and I believe that state government should be required to do the same. I fully support placing strict spending caps on state government, and I voted this year to reduce the spending in the current budget by more than 4 percent. I have led the fight to reform the workers compensation system and to end frivolous lawsuits that were choking job creation.

As a Republican, I believe government works best when it is at its least. I will continue to shrink the size of government through increased efficiency and restructuring. If you allow me to continue representing you, I will work even harder to make sure our conservative values are heard in the State House.