This has been an eventful off-season from legislative business. That said, I’m still making periodic trips to Columbia for Legislative Oversight Committee.
While we are continuing to work on our provisional schedule, this project will likely take five or more years to complete. I was honored to be elected chairman, and I understand the need to continue the work year round; there is, however, still my paying job and my valued clients that need my focused attention.
Our children are back from their various camps. Eliza Rose found her interest to be horseback riding and did well in several of the horse shows organized by the camp. We have several new trophies in the Newton Hall of Fame.
William’s emphasis was in kayaking. He did so well that he was invited to attend a three-day workshop at the U.S. Whitewater Center outside of Charlotte, N.C. Unfortunately, there was a pollution situation at the Whitewater Center that resulted in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shutting it down for some time while the water was chlorinated and replaced.
We were advised to observe our son for several days to make sure he was not exposed to the dangerous amoebic infection. After 10 anxious days of observation, he was off to computer engineering camp at the South Carolina Governor’s School.
I was recently invited to attend the Alljoy Preservation Committee meeting at Carolyn Smith’s home. The agenda was largely the recently passed legislation dealing with properly prepared golf carts and their nighttime usage.
The conversation also involved a project whereby there would be made available devices called AED, or Automatic External Defibrillation devices, potentially to be installed at public docks and boat ramps. With our demographic trending increasingly older, the project could be a lifesaver.
The golf cart bill, as well as the AED initiative, are good examples of how several jurisdictions get together to allow local communities to improve their circumstances by beneficial cooperation. It is the way our federalist system is intended to function.
I tried my best to emphasize that principle in my comments last month at the dedication of the new flyover to connect Hwy. 278 and the Bluffton Parkway. Not only was it one of the most ambitious projects to be built in Beaufort County, completing the final part of the 2006 penny sales tax referendum, it was also an inspiring example of how communities can come together and collaborate with one another to satisfy a need agreed upon by all.
My part in that process, aside from numerous trips to Washington to secure federal participation, was to simply urge the local jurisdictions to continue talking every time that communication seemed to be breaking down.
Interestingly, my frequent trips to Columbia to make certain we were on all the DOT priority lists, as well as learning the ins and outs of the State Infrastructure Bank (SIB), landed me a position on the Infrastructure Study Group initiated by then new Speaker Jay Lucas.
The take home here: We work best when we work together.
Weston Newton is the representative for District 120 in the State House of Representatives.