By Walter B. Curry, Jr., Ed.D / Contributing Writer
As a former legislative aide, I remember the words quoted from a legislator who describe the political nature of South Carolina as an environment of temptation. Some legislators are tempted by special interests and self-indulgence activities considered to be corruptive. Other legislators are tempted to be content with the status quo of complacency, antithetical to the embracement of the marketplace of ideas. Nevertheless, there are a few legislators who demonstrates principled leadership in their approach to public policy and constituent service. Since his election to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2011, Rep. Bill Chumley has demonstrated principled leadership.
Our nation and state have been rocked by the pandemic known as COVID-19. The pandemic has contributed to insurmountable loss of life, social disruption, and economic upheaval; but history has shown that leaders rise to the occasion to confront crises. Rep. Chumley has risen to confront the pandemic head on. Recently, he has introduced legislation to require the state Department of Health and Environmental Control to ensure testing prioritization for first responders who present symptoms of COVID-19.
Recognizing the food industry as essential in this pandemic, Rep. Chumley has introduced legislation to exempt prepared meals, prepared food, and beverages from the local hospitality tax which means that local food and beverage establishments will no longer pay the tax, resulting in cost savings for the establishment and the consumer.
During this pandemic, Rep. Chumley has recognized the opportunistic overreach of government to enforce mass immunization vaccines of COVID-19 by introducing legislation to allow individuals to opt out of certain vaccinations based on medical diagnosed health condition or a religious belief or practice. In addition, he serves on the COVID-19 Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee tasked at ensuring our food supply and resources are readily available during this pandemic.
In confronting COVID-19, Rep. Chumley has remained focus on his agenda to improve his constituents’ quality of life. He has successfully secured passage of his own bill in the South Carolina House of Representatives to ensure agricultural operations that have previously satisfied residential setback requirements is deemed compliant for an expansion of the operation. This is a major boon for farmers and ranchers in rural Greenville and Spartanburg counties who are looking to expand their operations.
In recognizing that more time is necessary for constituents to enjoy outdoor recreation, small businesses to remain open to serve the public, schools to offer extra-curricular activities for their students, and faith-based communities to serve the spiritual needs of the community, Rep. Chumley is in favor of daylight savings time and has introduced legislation to approve it. Furthermore, Rep. Chumley has shown a zealous interest in addressing the needs of minority communities in his district by supporting the work of the South Carolina African American Chamber of Commerce.
The true definition of principled leadership is acting in accordance with morality and showing recognition of what is right and wrong. Rep. Chumley is a principled leader who knows the distinction between what is wrong in our state government and what is right to address the wrongs in our state government.
*The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Woodruff Times. The Woodruff Times does not endorse any political candidate or political party.