Graham visits Charleston, talks economy, beaches after Ian & US in Ukraine
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Sen. Lindsey Graham spoke with members from Joint Base Charleston, Lowcountry CEOs, city and county leaders during a roundtable discussion at the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce Monday.
The event was a chance for those people to talk to the senator about what going on and how they feel about the economy in the metro region.
Graham took the opportunity to talk about the military footprint in Charleston, the importance of the coastline to the state’s economy and his support for finding energy independence as it helps the cost of living.
“I am going to be fighting for an expanded military budget in the lame duck session and that will help Joint Base Charleston and help our military. I view my job – the number one part of it – is to defend America. So we’ll be talking to the chamber today about the economy,” Graham said. “I fear recession is on the way. A lot of people want to come to this part of South Carolina and raise a family and do business, but with a downturn economy, I fear it will be difficult on all of us.”
Graham said he came to the Metro Chamber of Commerce from Folly Beach, where he spent the morning talking with officials about hurricane Ian erosion and other environmental impacts to the shoreline. Graham explained that Folly and other beaches along the Palmetto State’s coast are essential to the economy and quality of life.
“The bottom line is to renourish the beaches in South Carolina makes perfect economic sense for a guy who lives in Seneca. I live in Seneca. The coastline of South Carolina is one of the great economic drivers for our state. Any money we spend to renourish that beach you are going to get back tenfold,” Graham said.
Graham also talked about his support for sending weapons and economic aid to Ukraine, in terms of its benefits for the United States.
“From an American point of view, you either pay now or pay later. The last time somebody tried to rewrite the map of Europe and we did nothing, it led to world war,” Graham said. “I think it is in our interest to help Ukraine militarily by sending weapons not troops, economic aid so they can keep the lights on, more sanctions against Putin’s Russia and to start war crime trials in the Hague.”
Graham says he is going to the Hague, the U.N.’s international court of justice, before the end of the year to meet with international criminal court prosecutors. He is also working with bi-partisan support to make Russia a state sponsor of terrorism under U.S. law and says President Joe Biden has also been a part of that conversation.
Graham says he is hoping to see congress pass a package of aid in December to show that the U.S. and the western world will continue to support Ukraine into 2023. Graham says letting Russia continue or ultimately win that war would exacerbate issues at home.
He again shared his past message of wanting energy independence for the U.S. by producing oil at home. Graham said recent actions from oil-producing coalitions are going to be harmful to Americans financially.
“OPEC is doing what’s best for OPEC. We need to be doing what’s best for America which is to find oil and gas we own,” Graham said.
He also spoke in general about the upcoming election in November saying he expects it to be a “blowout year for Republicans.”
Graham said he was looking forward to his discussion with Charleston area leaders Monday and taking what he saw and heard in the Lowcountry to Washington.
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