When and how to “reopen” South Carolina

in Coronavirus/News/Voices by

By Tom Davis

A little over one week ago, Gov. Henry McMaster created an advisory group called accelerateSC to consider and recommend economic revitalization plans for South Carolina in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

I was appointed to serve on the group’s board, and we held our first meeting last Thursday; additional meetings have been and will be held every day this week. There’s a very strong sense of urgency and a bias toward action.

In my 17 years of service in state government, first in the executive branch as a governor’s chief of staff and then in the legislative branch as a state senator, this is by far the most consequential task I’ve been charged with, and the most complex.

My approach in such things has always been to state the problem and propose solutions, and then to debate them with others — the “Socratic method” instilled by my law school professors. This approach always works if I keep an open mind.

Over the past several weeks, I’ve done this with my constituents via several hundred emails back and forth and in as many telephone calls, and that’s made me a more effective member of accelerateSC than I otherwise would have been. 

With this Covid-19 assignment, I also constantly review the data and the opinions of a wide range of public health experts; however, since those opinions and the data sets relied upon vary, sometimes widely, the task of deciding the best approach for South Carolina remains.

It is a privilege to represent the people of Beaufort and Jasper counties in the State Senate and to speak on their behalf as the advisory group considers and recommends a “reopening” approach to Gov. McMaster.  I am determined to get this right, and I am confident we will. 

 

Tom Davis is the State Senator for District 46, which includes portions of Beaufort and Jasper counties.