State Sen. Vincent Sheheen, who lost the governor's race to Republican Nikki Haley in 2010, is considering another run for the state's top office.
The Camden Democrat is in the midst of a three-week tour of the state promoting his book "The Right Way: Getting The Palmetto State Back On Track." He spoke Wednesday at the Golden Bear Golf Club at Indigo Run on Hilton Head Island. He is currently deciding if another campaign is in the best interests of both his family and South Carolina, he said.
The tour began March 11 in Rock Hill and includes stops in Conway, Myrtle Beach, Florence, Columbia, Aiken, Charleston, Fairfield, Beaufort, Greenville, and Spartanburg.
"I'm not here to give you a campaign speech," Sheheen told the Hilton Head crowd of about 75. "I'm not here to give you a rah-rah speech. ... I'm here to talk about how to make South Carolina a better place."
He said the tour has been a refreshing change from his last circuit of the state during his unsuccessful campaign for governor, a race he lost by a four-percent margin.
That campaign helped him write the book this past summer and fall, he said. "Having run for governor last time allowed me to pool these ideas together."
Writing the 128-page book -- available for free download at www.vincentsheheen.com -- gave him a chance to explain his views on several issues affecting the state with what he called more nuance and greater breadth than is common in "the sound bite politics that we've seen in South Carolina for the past decade."
One topic from the book discussed Wednesday was how to encourage economic development.
"This idea that to grow the economy and grow jobs all you have to do is recruit businesses to the state -- that is just a one-way ticket to average," Sheheen said. The state, he said, must find ways to both recruit and grow businesses from within.
Sheheen pointed to the CareCore National facility in Bluffton, a benefits management company, as an example of the type of business the state should retain and grow.
Sheheen also spoke on improving the state's education system, which he said is too expensive and produces too many drop-outs, and what he called a corrupt state government that needs bipartisan representation to hold itself accountable.
Sheheen said the governor's office might give him a better opportunity to make the changes he wants to see.
"Lets face it, great change in South Carolina only comes out of the governor's office," he said. "You saw that with Dick Riley and public education. You saw that with Carol Campbell and economic development. We saw it with Jim Hodges and early childhood education."
"The greatest platform for change is the governor office, if it's utilized for that, but there's also a role for other leaders, and that's the role that I'm filling today."
- Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sheheen campaigns in Lowcountry, Aug. 31, 2010
- Democratic hopeful Sheheen pushes new industry, education during campaign swing, May 15, 2010