2006-04-07 / On Second Thought

Opinion Andr Bauer is working hard trying to help people like us

By SC Senator Randy Scott

For years, Andr Bauer has been known for his tireless constituent service and a work ethic that the state Republican Party chairman once described as "almost superhuman."

Bauer's24/7 work on behalf of the taxpayers has benefited our state in many ways. As most are well aware, it has also landed him in hot water for driving excessively fast - which The State newspaper recently seized upon to try to make the case that Bauer should drop his re-election bid.

I disagree. Bauer's very public mistakes mean only one thing: He's human. He's "one of the people." Everything he has achieved has been earned the hard way, starting by working his way through school mowing lawns and doing assorted odd jobs, then building his own successful business through long hours and hard work. Nothing was ever handed to him on a silver platter.

Bauer has apologized for his mistake, and has even penalized himself to make sure citizens understand that he is not above the law. He has accepted full responsibility for his actions, a sign of maturity that many older officials never learn.

Yes, everybody makes mistakes. But the powerful politicians and the privileged few are able to cover up their mistakes, because they have the right "connections"... even connections in the news media that sometimes cause their mistakes to disappear from the public. All too often, The State newspaper assists in the cover-ups.

But not Andr Bauer. He's one of the people, not the powerful or the privileged. So The State newspaper is happy to devote countless headlines to exposing his mistakes.

Ironically, The State newspaper in an attempt to dupe the public into believing they are "fair and balanced" have never once devoted a single headline to a really important fact: Andr Bauer is actually doing an excellent job as our Lt. Governor . He has a lengthy list of notable accomplishments that TThe State newspaper has never told you about:

1. As presiding officer of the State Senate, Bauer has blocked over $1.3 billion in proposed new taxes by ruling them out of order.

2. Under Bauer's leadership, the State Senate ended the archaic practice of filibusters, perhaps the most important government reform in many decades, and a giant step forward for our state!

3. In 2002, Andr Bauer was the first to offer a common-sense plan to shorten lines at the DMV.

4. In 2005, Bauer cast the tie-breaking vote to keep property tax reform alive. Since then, he has been participating in a grassroots effort to find a way to end property taxes.

5. Under Bauer's leadership, the Lt. Governor's Office now directs the state Office on Aging, which has increased vital services to the state's senior population, including several major achievements:

+ Supported the state's first Geriatric Physicians Act.

+ Restructured the Office on Aging to make it more cost-efficient and effective. It is now a one-stop shop for all seniors who have needed help cutting through federal and state governmental red tape.

+ Developed a highly successful public awareness program to help seniors through the confusion surrounding the Medicare Part D Prescription benefit plan.

Bauer has given his time to assist hundreds of local civic and charity organizations, ranging from serving as Honorary Chairman of the Ronald McDonald House to assist families of children with cancer to In-Vest, a non-profit group which provides bulletproof vests for law enforcement officers.

Although the Lt. Governor is paid as a part time position, Bauer devotes himself to the job full-time, regularly working 60-80 hour weeks...in one instance, with no pay at all!

When Bauer took over as Lt. Governor in 2003, his office was already running out of money before the end of the fiscal year. Not only did Bauer bring in unpaid campaign volunteers to help the office run smoothly, but he also gave up his own salary for two-and-a-half months to keep the office afloat!

Bauer has done excellent work as Lt. Governor. The State newspaper hopes voters will overlook that good work and cast their votes based on mistakes he has made -- and apologized for -- as a private citizen.

Voters deserve the opportunity to decide for themselves whether to judge Bauer on his excellent public service or his traffic violations.

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