“I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.”
That is how Lieutenant Governor Glenn McConnell describes his 31 years in the state legislature. In a recent interview with Greenwood affiliate WCRS, McConnell spoke briefly about his years in the chamber. He had represented Charleston in the Senate until earlier this year.
That’s when McConnell moved from the powerful position of President pro tempore of the state Senate to the less-prestigious job of Lieutenant Governor in March after previous Lt. Gov. Ken Ard resigned to plead guilty to ethics violations. McConnell made it clear at the time that he took the new job because the state constitution dictated that he do so, not because he wanted it.
During the WCRS interview, McConnell admitted he has felt some frustration at how politics have gotten increasingly polarized. “I wouldn’t trade it, but I was becoming increasingly frustrated by the way the politics were going. We always had clashes in the Senate, but at the end of the day we try to solve a problem.”
McConnell says many complain that the legislature does not do enough, but he says the framers of the state constitution believed in limiting the power and scope of government. Therefore, he argued that changes in policy must be slow and methodical.
“The framers (of the state constitution) didn’t want us to do too much. What is good today that can pass today, can wait to tomorrow; that was sort of their philosophy,” he said. “That was kind of the way they did went about things, because they were highly suspicious of government.”
As Lieutenant Governor, one of McConnell’s responsibilities involves overseeing the state’s Office on Aging. This fall, he launched a statewide series of “Faces of Aging” forums to learn how the state can better serve its growing senior population.
McConnell says he relishes the opportunity to help seniors. “I have met some wonderful people who have influenced me to get out there to have the opportunity to confront these seniors and to be in a position to maybe help them. It’s a wonderful opportunity, and I wouldn’t have had it if I hadn’t hung in there for 31 years and gotten pushed up into the lieutenant governorship.”
Anne Eller of Greenwood affiliate WCRS contributed to this report.