A significant election is just a few days away. There are important choices for voters to make at all levels of government. We have U.S. senators and congressional representatives to vote for, plus statewide offices for governor down to representatives in the General Assembly. 

Plus, here on Hilton Head Island we have a chance to elect a new mayor as well as four town council representatives, plus school board members and some county council members and officials.

There will also be a few referendums on the ballot.

I hope you will take your time to learn about the candidates who you will be selecting, as well as the issues surrounding the referendums.

Heading to the polls on Election Day (Nov. 8) is an exciting experience, especially if it’s your first time exercising your fundamental American right to vote.

At this time every two years, we hear people on TV say “voting is important” without ever explaining why that is the case. The sad truth is, for many Americans voting is their only form of civic engagement – and it is this exercise of this “inalienable right” for which many Americans have fought and died. 

As a wise professor once told our class, we can’t  live up to our highest ideals as a nation if we fail to protect our right to vote and fulfill the expectations of our forefathers that each person’s vote is sacred, and every vote matters.

As I look forward to the upcoming 2023-24 South Carolina legislative session I plan to be focusing on four key areas: Regulation reform, education reform, environmental protection and statewide economic development.

Regulation reform: As the recently named chairman of the Regulations and Public Administration Committee in the House, I want to reduce regulations and cut red tape by requiring all state agencies to evaluate their existing regulations and eliminate those no longer necessary.

Education reform: I believe one of the most important functions of our state government is the provision of quality education for our students. K-12 education is one of the largest statewide expenditures, but, as indicated by recent sharp decreases in student test scores, much needs to be improved. I will work closely with the new superintendent of education to pursue School Choice to improve education in South Carolina.

Environmental protection: A revered asset of our state here in the Lowcountry is our environment – especially our coastal marshlands, and it is something close to my heart.  As an example, during this past session I secured funding for artificial oyster reefs for the Outside Hilton Head Foundation to help reclaim oyster shells and accrete marshes. 

Economic development: Having a strong statewide economy in recent years has boosted South Carolina nationally. I plan to work hard to see that it remains so, while being ever vigilant in protecting our environment. 

Jeff Bradley is the representative for District 123 in the State House of Representatives.