Like lawmakers all over the state, District 79 State Representative Anton Gunn knows the importance of getting a pulse on what his constituents are thinking as far as important issues are concerned and To that end Gunn has scheduled later this month three legislative issues forums in various parts of his district that includes parts of Richland and Kershaw Counties. Gunn says the forums will give the voters in his district the opportunity to help shape his 2010 legislative agenda. Gunn says the number one issue in his district and in the state for that matter is the 12 percent unemployment rate.
“People are looking for opportunities in that they want their lawmakers, their policy makers, the leaders of this state to actually do something about the roads and the infrastructure in our communities, to improve education, and the number one issue that’s sticking in everybody’s face and that is 12 percent unemployment and that South Carolinians need jobs.”
Gunn’s issues forums are scheduled for August 24, 27 and 31.
Gunn says while Governor Sanford’s trips and infidelity is garnering a lot of attention, lawmakers and the people they represent must maintain their focus on the issues that affect their everyday lives.
“We are all tainted with the same brush, so to speak, because we also are in leadership positions. People want to talk about infidelity. They want to talk about the Governor being away from the job for five days. They want to talk about him going on vacation, and it’s hard to get the focus back on issues like jobs and improving education.”
Gunn says a number of his fellow Democrats in the House and Senate feel hamstrung when it comes to passing meaningful legislation through a General Assembly that is majority Republican and conservative. Gunn says he chooses to focus on gaining the ear of lawmakers who don’t always tow the party line.
“They’re are some very bright, very thoughtful members who don’t really care what party you’re in. They want to make good decisions, they want to have good government. I find myself spending as much time as I can dialoguing with them about how can we move the ball forward. How can we make South Carolina better? How do we find a way to solve these historic problems that have been plaguing our state for decades?’
Gunn says improving education, creating jobs, improving access to medical care must take precedence over partisan politics.
Gunn says he has seen news reports of some of the heated exchanges at some of the health care town meetings throughout the country, but he says he does not expect such actions by people who attend his open forums that will be discussing a variety of issues.
“We’ll be talking about everything for unemployment to the state budget, education issues, and transportation issues. We’ll also be talking about issues that matter to families like gangs and schools and how we can get off on the right foot this school year.”