Beaufort Today -

Record turnout for delegation meeting

Here we are in the dog days of August, our hottest and stickiest time of year. For those of you who recently arrived, I’ll wager you never expected to feel the heat of an oven when you walked outside. For those of us who grew up here, it’s just a way of life.

We used to always envy the wealthy plantation owners and all the folks with summer places up in the mountains of North Carolina. It is also time for things to heat up in Bluffton, Hilton Head, Hardeeville, and Beaufort and Jasper counties.

As many of you know, we had delegation meetings in Beaufort and Jasper counties this past week and had a record attendance at both of them. The Beaufort County meeting was about as crowded as I have ever seen, and Jasper County was up for sure. As many of you can surmise, a delegation meeting takes up pretty much half a day, so if you have two in one day, it takes a full day to go through the business.

I am pleased to announce that Jeff Bradley was nominated and made chairman of the Beaufort delegation. As many of you recall, I was delegation chairman for 10 years by virtue of seniority. Some years ago, I thought it would be fairer to rotate the chairmanship, so as to allow other delegation members a chance to set the agenda. As you know, we have a deep bench as far as leadership is concerned.

I want to thank Rep. Erickson for her tenure and good work, and I look forward to working things on the agendas with Jeff. I also want to thank Cindy Maxey, our delegation secretary, for her great work. She has really made things a lot easier for us.

During the Beaufort meeting, there was a good deal of business to discuss, largely having to do with funding of various projects and upcoming legislation that affects Beaufort and Jasper counties. Folks in both counties were more than a little curious about the SCE&G and Santee Cooper conundrum. That matter, while serious, is still in the negotiating stage. We will have more complete answers in the near future.

In the Jasper County arena, I recommend we maintain Weston Newton as chairman of that delegation. Weston makes an excellent chairman and his decade as chairman of Beaufort County Council helps immensely as we try to encourage the counties and municipalities to work with us as we present a united front in dealing with issues that affect us all.

I want to thank our dear friend Helen Pittman for being a delegation secretary in Jasper County and all her hard work. She tendered her retirement resignation and we wish the best for Helen. She is definitely a Jasper County woman and I consider her a good friend.

We will, of course, be looking for a replacement for Helen, as difficult as that may be. She was such a pleasure to work with. At press time, we were not sure of the scope of the work, but more on that a little bit later.

I appreciate all the officials in Jasper County who have been helping as we turn things for the better. Barbara Clark, my good friend, is always a joy to see. She is one of the most positive people I know and has been of immense help, as have Henry Etheridge and Tom Johnson.

As a matter of fact, Jasper County Council, Ridgeland and Hardeeville councils and their mayors have been extremely helpful and a big part of the team. The communication between Beaufort and Jasper delegations and the local officials is unprecedented in this state. If you attend any of the meetings, it is plain that we function pretty well as a multi-level team.

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Bill Herbkersman, R-Bluffton, represents District 118 in the South Carolina House of Representatives. He can be reached through his website at www.herbkersman.com or by calling Beaufort County Legislative Delegation secretary Cindy Maxey at 843-255-2264.

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