Excerpts from the Democratic response to Republican Gov. Nikki Haley’s State of the State address, made by State Rep. James Smith, D-Richland
“The great state of South Carolina and its people deserve the very best in leadership. Leadership is vision first — ‘For where there is no vision, the people will perish.’ Leadership is then collaboration and action. Leadership accepts responsibility and requires accountability. The people of South Carolina deserve leadership.
“Leadership makes public education Job One, Day One, instead of waiting four years, until election time, to make our children’s future a priority.
“South Carolina and specifically the town of Ninety Six deserves leadership that does not wait months to take action to protect children and families in a tuberculosis outbreak.
“South Carolina deserves leadership that does not expose our private financial information to hackers and criminals and then cost tens of millions in taxpayer dollars to protect what could have been protected for free. ...
“Governor, you cannot order your administration to say, ‘It’s a great day in South Carolina,’ and just make it so. It takes leadership, real leadership that keeps faith and trust with the people of South Carolina and accepts the responsibility for the office you hold.
“The road to a peaceful and prosperous South Carolina must be paved and expanded, with a real commitment to fix our crumbling roads and bridges. ...
“We can and we must bring our tax dollars home to work for us by reforming and expanding Medicaid and bring 44,000 real jobs to South Carolina.
“We can and must have a public-education system that is more than minimally adequate. Indeed, we have before and we should again move to lower class sizes, and increase teacher pay to the national average. ...
“South Carolina’s best days are ahead of us, but only if we are willing to work together and put aside the short term and short-sighted political differences and always remember who we serve: the people of South Carolina.”