Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette speaks Clarendon County GOP meeting

Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette speaks Clarendon County GOP meeting

by Melissa McCoy, Manning Live — originally posted on 2/18/2024

On February 8 th , the Clarendon County Republican Party (CCGOP) met for its regularly scheduled monthly meeting. The meeting was opened with prayer and CCGOP Chairman Moye Graham gave remarks and led the Pledge of Allegiance. Next, members recited the Republican Creed, led by Cindy Risher from the Executive Committee. June Brailsford, Treasurer, gave her report and Secretary Maureen Calvo followed with an update. This month’s meeting included several special guests. House Representative

District 64 Fawn Pedalino and South Carolina Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette were in attendance as speakers.

Pedalino gave a brief rundown about the agreement that she and State Senator Kevin Johnson had come to regarding the school board trustees election map before moving on to more recent issues. Pedalino continued, “It is an election year with a lot of things to do, mostly focusing right now on our children, which I think is important.”

Pedalino explained the social media regulation bill and that it mandates age verification, requires parental consent, and provider/parental accounts. The intended goal is to take proactive steps to protect youth from potentially harmful online content. From there, Pedalino said that the committee went further and took the initiative to create the Child Online Safety Act. The COSA is designed to protect children from inappropriate online content such as pornographic material. “Most of you know it is everywhere and they can literally just login. Some of the kids already know what a VPN is and they can bypass it, but the goal was to stop as many as we could,” Pedalino noted.

The Help Not Harm bill, Pedalino describes, fights gender transition procedures to anyone under the age of 18. That would include surgeries as well as puberty blockers and hormone therapy. It restricts South Carolina Medicaid from covering these procedures for anyone under the age of 26. The bill also requires schools to notify parents that their children are making statements about being transgender as well as
holding doctors criminally accountable if they perform these procedures. “I was on this one the whole way, from beginning to end. I was on the committee,” Pedalino touted.

Another bill that passed recently was the maximum potential unemployment benefit bill. “Our state’s unemployment benefits seem to benefit our workforce businesses’ economy,“ Pedalino explained, “essentially the number of our number of weeks of unemployment benefits that a claimant may receive will be tied to the economic conditions.” She then gave the example that when jobs are readily available,
indicating a strong economy, benefits would be limited in an effort to encourage employment and workforce participation. 

Lastly, Pedalino discussed a bill that was close to her heart. “Another one we worked on, and it is sentimental to me, obviously, coming from an EMS background, [is] we created a position for fallen first responder’s survivors.”  The bill is designed to assist families of deceased first responders with benefits and support. “When you are grieving the loss of a loved one, you don’t know how to move forward. We want to be able to help with that process. It helps guide them through obtaining health insurance … and educational and financial benefits. This was something that we wanted to take to the Senate.”

After her update, Pedalino formally introduced Lieutenant Governor Evette. After thanking Graham and the crowd for inviting her to the meeting, Evette began to summarize her office’s accomplishments and future goals.

Evette described how she and Governor Henry McMaster “want to bring more opportunities to South Carolina.” She reported 1.7 billion in revenue in 2022 with BMW. “That was our largest economic development announcement that we had … we were so excited only to have that record broken 30 days later when Redway did a $3.5 billion economic development.” Evette was confident in many more businesses establishing themselves in South Carolina. “Let me tell you why they’re coming. Why? Because we are a great red conservative state. Businesses want the opportunity to be able to govern their own businesses.”

Next, Evette spoke regarding high school seniors, including her own, choosing technical colleges over traditional four-year universities. “You can go to one of our technical colleges here in South Carolina. You can get a really cool degree and you’ll go for two years. You will start out at $55,000 and in three years, if you prove yourself to be a good employee, which we all have to do, you can be making six figures. But the best part of that is you will have zero college debt.”

Evette touched on school choice and voter ID before moving on the national election. “I’m very passionate about school choice. I want every parent to be able to guide where their children go to school.

“We want fair elections. And here in South Carolina. We have made it easier to vote and harder to cheat. Right? There is no excuse to not show up in person you have two weeks before any election with your ID with your driver’s license or state issued ID card with your picture on it,” Evette expressed.

A loyal Trump supporter, Evette continually endorses the former president. “We have a presidential primary coming up next Saturday, the 24th , and I’m here to tell you, just to let the cat out of the bag, I’ve been supporting President Trump since 2015. I’ve been supporting him because he brings a sense of strength, peace through strength.”

Evette closed her speech for the evening with a quick question and answer session. A member from the CCGOP took the opportunity to ask the Lt. Governor if she planned to “follow Governor McMaster.”

Evette replied, “Right now, I’m just working really hard to get President Trump elected [and] to make sure we take back the Senate … I really love what I do. I can’t tell you what an honor it is to serve as your lieutenant governor.” She then left the crowd with a simple, “Look for me. I’m not going to be run off.”

New to politics, SC Lt. Gov. Evette reflects on 1st year

New to politics, SC Lt. Gov. Evette reflects on 1st year

Story by Meg Kinnard. Initially published by AP News on January 7, 2020.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — It’s not a path she predicted during her decades founding and running a successful business. But, wrapping up her first year as South Carolina’s lieutenant governor, Pamela Evette said she’s energized by the progress she and Gov. Henry McMaster have made as the state’s first-ever jointly elected executive team.

“I have been so warmly received across the state,” Evette, 52, told The Associated Press of her time spent as McMaster’s emissary, particularly in South Carolina’s business community. “It’s just been amazing how … willing they are to sit down and share their thoughts and ideas with me.”

Evette’s efforts have relied heavily on her business acumen to forge partnerships she and McMaster hope will benefit the state.

It’s an approach the two initially laid out during the 2018 campaign where they handily defeated another male/female duo, Democratic State Representatives James Smith and Mandy Powers Norrell. The election, thanks to a change in South Carolina’s law, was the first in which hopefuls for governor and lieutenant governor could run on a joint ticket. Previously, separate campaigns for the state’s top two slots had at times yielded officeholders of differing parties and priorities, making for political stagnation.

“I think it just doubles our power to listen, learn, get the facts, understand things and present the message,” McMaster told the AP ahead of the 2018 general election.

Over the past year, Evette says that’s exactly what’s happened, her presence having doubled the potential footprint of the Governor’s Office in terms of the ability to hold meetings with various entities across the state. Starting with a summit focused on transportation, Evette said the year also included progress in strengthening technical schools so they can produce the talent needed in South Carolina’s growing manufacturing sector.

“Any time somebody stops at your company, tours around and sits across from you and asks, ‘what can we do for you?’ — that makes all the difference in the world,” she said.

In years past, South Carolina’s lieutenant governor was a part-time position, with much of the occupant’s time spent presiding over the state Senate. Starting with Evette, that duty has been removed, and while the job is technically still part-time, Evette has opted to devote her full efforts to the role, stepping away from the helm of her company and turning the leadership of Quality Business Solutions over to her husband, David.

Some of her duties, though, still involve dealing with lawmakers, with whom the state’s governors haven’t always had smooth relations — even when Republicans controlled both branches of government. McMaster’s two immediate predecessors, GOP Govs. Nikki Haley and Mark Sanford, both repeatedly feuded with Republican lawmakers on funding issues.

During his tenure, McMaster has made good on a promise to cooperate with lawmakers he felt were making good-faith efforts to work with him. Part of that work, the governor has noted, involves deploying Evette to forge relationships with lawmakers in both parties, a role she says she’s found less daunting than she’d feared.

“Another thing I’ve done this last year is really formulate great relationships with people in the House and in the Senate,” Evette said. “I think that’s really important — making sure that you don’t have somebody fighting against you all the time.”

Evette said that attitude led to achievements in education reform, which the administration and legislative leaders jointly presented as a top priority last year. 

“Over and over again, the common theme from the Legislature was, this was the first time we’ve had a governor’s office that is willing to work with us, in a long time,” she said. “We might not always agree on the same route to get there, but we’re very respectful of each other, and I think that’s important.”

Although she may not have envisioned herself in the world of politics, Evette seems well-positioned for the future. Despite rumors she might mount a bid to challenge her current boss — who, now 72, is the oldest person inaugurated as South Carolina’s governor — Evette told the AP she remains committed to running alongside the governor when he seeks a second full term in 2022, as his campaign says he will. But, she said, she’s leaving open the possibility of seeking the office — or even a higher one — for herself someday.

“I don’t know,” Evette told the AP. “I kind of just see, wherever God opens a door, maybe try to walk through it if it’s not too overwhelming, right? I would have never thought two years ago I’d be here as lieutenant governor today. But I’m really happy where I am right now, and really focused on being the best lieutenant governor I can be for the state of South Carolina. There’s a lot to do.”