Smith and Norrell would get the state off the backs of local communities

October 10, 2018
Press Contact:
Brad Warthen, 803-315-1886

COLUMBIA, S.C. – State government needs to get off the backs of local communities, and James Smith and Mandy Powers Norrell are determined to make that happen.

Historically, local governments were weak to nonexistent in South Carolina, with power over even the smallest local functions in the hands of state legislators. Even long after the passage in 1975 of the Home Rule Act – which was meant to shift control from the state to counties – lawmakers in many areas still keep things under their thumbs, from running local parks to controlling local school budgets.

Worse, state lawmakers keep asserting new powers over cities and counties – such as intervening to tell environmentally conscious local councils that they can’t do away with plastic grocery bags, or forbidding them to ban bump stocks. Whatever your view on those issues, surely it’s no business of the state to tell local communities how to run their affairs. Every community should have its own character, reflecting the will of its people.

That’s what Smith and Norrell, the Democratic nominees for governor and lieutenant governor, believe anyway. That’s why they’ve resisted such efforts by the state government to lord it over the governments closest to the people.

One reason Smith picked Norrell as his running mate is that she has been a municipal attorney for more than 20 years, and she fully understands local issues, and the frustrations that local councils have in trying to address them the way their neighbors want them to do.

As Smith envisions the role of the revamped office of lieutenant governor, Norrell will play a vital role in working with the Legislature to push the administration’s policies, and a major policy priority will be setting local governments free of the state yoke.

“The government that is closest to the people governs best,” said Smith. “Anything that can be handled on the local level should be, rather than being dictated by the state or federal government.”

“I know how carefully local council members listen to their neighbors, and how hard they work to carry out local wishes,” said Norrell. “We need to set local communities free. Local people know what their communities need; leave them alone.”