Public Policy Road Trip > Charleston
Tuesday, November 12, 2013on
I was thrilled to have the opportunity last week to go with a group of 65 folks from the Upstate to visit South Carolina’s leadership in Charleston. Mark Cothran and Elizabeth Edwards did a fantastic job lining up top notch speakers for the 2013 Public Policy Road Trip to inform us on issues in the Lowcountry and help strengthen our relationships across the State. After leaving Greenville on a rainy, early morning, our bus pulled into the Metro Charleston Chamber of Commerce on a sunny, humid late morning with all of us ready for lunch! Elizabeth Colbert-Busch (yes, the former Congressional candidate and sister of comedian Stephen Colbert), gave a presentation on a Clemson project in Charleston that we don’t hear as much about in the Upstate: CURI (Clemson University Restoration Institute). CURI is partnering with other institutions and the private sector to position South Carolina as the premier home of restoration knowledge and expertise. Check it out: Clemson.edu/Restoration. Once clearances were approved, we toured Boeing’s North Charleston plant. What a fantastic facility! We heard from their leadership about the plant, their planes and their plans for the future. This facility continues to be an important engine for economic development both in the Lowcountry and the Upstate. It’s so cool to know these tremendous 787s are made right here in South Carolina. Our evening was topped off with a reception and dinner with the Charleston delegation and Charleston Chamber leadership. Speaker Bobby Harrell delivered an address to our group in which he discussed the importance of our regions working together. United States Senator Tim Scott made a special effort to join us that evening as soon as he stepped off the plane from Washington, D.C. During dinner as well as the next morning, we had opportunities to discuss and collaborate with Charleston’s leadership to address the similar issues we face. The final event before we headed back up the interstate was a presentation about and a tour of the Charleston port. It was so cool to see the gigantic Michelin earthmover tires there waiting to be exported! Given the recent opening of the inland port in Greer, the information we received about that facility and its impact on the Upstate was timely. The inland port opens up a large, new region of the country which will be able to access the port and drive economic development. Hats off to Mark and Elizabeth for their hard work creating a Road Trip which not only afforded us the chance to learn more about what Charleston and the Upstate have in common, but also gave us valuable opportunities to talk directly with our state’s top political leaders. Thanks!