COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – For the first time as an elected governor, Henry McMaster gave his State of the State address to the general assembly and the citizens of South Carolina.
“Ladies and gentleman I can promise you South Carolina is red hot,” Gov. McMaster said.
The governor touched on a variety of topics: workforce development, protecting natural resources, clean energy, the opioid crisis, Santee Cooper, and taxes.
The big topic on everyone’s mind was education.
“We must also invest in our teachers,” Gov. McMaster said. “To attract and retain the best their compensation must be competitive with their peers in the Southeast and elsewhere.”
The governor is proposing a five-percent teacher pay raise. Some said they want to see more money go towards teachers.
The South Carolina Department of Education said they support the governor’s proposal.
“I think that’s very reasonable and doable,” Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said. “It will put us at the Southeast average. We don’t need to stop there. This needs to be continual, but it will really be the right thing to do this year.”
Gov. McMaster said Speaker of the House Jay Lucas (R-Darlington) and Senator Greg Hembree (R-Horry) will be proposing what he called wholesale reforms to the education delivery system.
“I support the Speaker and the Senator 100 percent. Send me these reforms and I will sign them into law,” Gov. McMaster said.
Democrats said they are glad the governor is focused on education but said healthcare is an issue they would like to see addressed as well.
“Every citizen in this state should have access to high-quality health care by expanding Medicaid in the state,” Representative Jerry Govan (D-Orangeburg) said.
The Governor said he’s ready to get to work with legislators on both sides of the aisle.
“Now is the time to be bold. Not bashful,” said Gov. McMaster. “Now is the time to act. Together. This year. Now. Now, ladies and gentlemen.”