Bluffton resident, representative receives inaugural award

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In Washington, D.C., on Nov. 16, Sen. Carl Levin, on behalf of the Levin Center at Wayne State University Law School, presented Rep. Weston J. Newton (R-SC) with the inaugural Carl Levin Award for Effective Oversight.

Newton was selected for the honor for his role as chairman of the South Carolina House Legislative Oversight Committee. Newton, a resident of Bluffton, was nominated for the award by South Carolina Speaker of the House James H. "Jay" Lucas.

The award is given to a legislator at the federal, state, local or tribal level who has led or played a central role in conducting an oversight investigation on a bipartisan basis with a dedication to fact-finding. The candidate must exhibit a high degree of integrity and a commitment to legislative comity and civility.

"Representative Newton is the perfect legislator to receive this award for effective oversight," said former U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, Chair of the Levin Center at Wayne Law. "Elected unanimously in 2014 and 2016 by his 19 colleagues to chair the Oversight Committee, Rep. Newton has established a culture of objectivity, equal participation, transparency, comity and ethics. He has led meaningful bipartisan investigations that have resulted in significant reforms, in particular the committee's investigation into South Carolina's Department of Public Safety that yielded 27 bipartisan recommendations for reform, many of which have been implemented."

Speaker Lucas noted that under Newton's leadership, "the oversight of agencies is objective, and committee members are afforded ample opportunities to ask questions and obtain information about agencies under review. Weston brings not only knowledge and intellect to the state House, but also helps to bring people together."

Prior to his election, Newton served as chairman of his local county council for 10 years, bringing a wealth of bipartisan experience to the South Carolina Statehouse.

Newton earned his Bachelor's Degree from Washington and Lee University in 1989 and his law degree from the University of South Carolina in 1993. He clerked for both the Hon. John H. Waller Jr. and the Hon. C. Weston Houck following law school.

Newton was honored at the first-ever national Oversight Summit on Nov. 16 in Washington, D.C. The summit was hosted by the Project on Government Oversight and sponsored, in part, by the Levin Center at Wayne Law. Levin presented the award during a luncheon keynote session, which was followed by a conversation about how bipartisan, fact-based oversight is possible in today's political climate.

For more information on the Levin Center at Wayne Law, the Oversight Summit and Rep. Newton, contact Linda Gustitus at linda.gustitus@wayne.edu or 202-557-8867.

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