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Legislative support critical for South Carolina to keep leading in EV and tech growth | Opinion

Support EVs, tech

South Carolina thrives as a tech hub, driving economic growth.

Because of this our legislative focus should be on fostering new enterprises and promoting growth.

As a lifelong resident of South Carolina, I have seen the benefits of investing in our innovators and their business ventures.

In 2022, South Carolina had a total of 120 new projects, the creation of 14,083 new jobs, and $10.7 billion in announced capital investment.

Since January, we have seen multiple large companies open offices in our state. IKO, GE appliances, and more famously, Scout Motors Inc., are all examples of businesses opening locations in South Carolina, bringing a total of 4,225 new job openings to the economy.

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As the demand for EVs increases, the United States must continue to innovate to keep up with the consumer demand.

Last year, it was reported that the United States joined China and Europe in the pivot to electric vehicle sales.

Scout Motors’ selection of Richland County to establish a manufacturing plant was monumental. Richland County has been given the opportunity to contribute and make an impact on the growth of the EV industry and aid the United States in becoming an industry leader.

The expected growth of EVs is why we must continue to protect the innovation that contributes to the development of these vehicles – 76% of Americans rely on cars for their daily commute to work, and Richland County will be able to contribute to this daily essential Americans rely on.

The Environmental Protection Agency also recently noted that the integration of EVs will significantly reduce air pollution and prevent a projected 40,000 premature deaths by 2030.

I’m confident that the innovation taking place right here in Richland County will be transformative for the Midlands region and beyond in the years to come.

I encourage policymakers in Washington to continue to advocate and push legislation that enables local communities to continue making tech investments that move us forward.

Gretchen Barron, Columbia

Buying respect?

When the PGA agreed to merge with LIV, it was, in essence, a statement that money was more important than the lives of women who are living in brutal and oppressive conditions,

There is no incentive for the Saudi government to make meaningful changes in the area of human rights if they can buy their way into respectability.

Anyone over 40 remembers when people of color were not allowed to be on the golf course and women could not have independent membership at courses.I guess the players have no problem with the sports struggles of Saudi women today.

Maybe this is a time for women to stand up for the women who cannot speak for themselves. Women can pressure the sponsors of the players and tournaments to invoke their moral clauses and withdraw sponsorships.

To support this new organization is the same thing as watching your neighbor beat his child, and then inviting that neighbor to be on the board of a child’s soccer league.

That should never happen.

Pamela Williams, Columbia

Smile with pride

Last June, in a parking lot, I heard a young voice call, “Excuse me!”

I turned, expecting a teenager to ask if I had a lighter. Instead, the voice said, “I like the stickers on your car.”

Surprised, I glanced at the rainbow decals scattered across my rear windshield and clumsily responded, “Thank you!”

The teenager beamed, “Happy Pride Month!”

Immediately, I grabbed my phone to share the story with my daughter, who struggled as an LGBTQ youth to find support in our state.

I often felt powerless to help my daughter, so on this day, my heart was thrilled that something so small — a colorful sticker — made a young person smile.

Consider the Trevor Project’s 2023 National Survey on the Mental Health of LGBTQ Young People:

– 53% of respondents reported being verbally harassed at school in the last year;

– 24% reported being physically threatened or harmed;

– 55% reported seriously considering or attempting suicide.

I believe firmly in the domino effect and paying it forward.

I believe that a smile could be the crucial factor that soothes a soul standing at a black edge. During Pride Month, please remember the power of small actions — of colors and smiles. They may save a young person’s life.

Emmy Ammirati, Florence

Reform loans

Student loans, a hot topic that has divided Congress, and made enemies is wrecking the lives of more than 40 million people.

Student loans were uniquely stripped of bankruptcy rights and consumer protections through poor policy choices made from decades of approvals to place college further and further out of reach for the common person. This is destroying the lives of millions of borrowers.

No one knew that they were signing up for a debt trap.

Students were duped into thinking they could pay off these loans in their lifetimes.

Without the constitutional right to bankruptcy, lenders can continue to harass borrowers and engage in bad-faith lending schemes to trigger a mass default. The government profits off of defaulted loans.

Reform calls for the return of uniform bankruptcy rights to student loans, same as every other consumer loan.

Without these rights, the people are like turkeys at Thanksgiving.

What will Congress do?

Anton Vanrey, Aiken