U.S. Representative Joe Wilson, right, talks with residents after he outlined his legislative agenda for 2014. Barnwell was one of five stops the congressman made around the district.
U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson made a stop in Barnwell Friday to unveil his 2014 legislative agenda.
"It's a great honor to represent this community," said Wilson to the crowd of residents and public officials.
The Republican congressman, who represents the Second District of South Carolina, said Barnwell County holds many special memories for him, including quail hunting as a child with his granddad at Fuller's Pond.
Among Wilson's goals for 2014 is job creation through economic growth.
He said he especially wants to work with local chambers of commerce, municipalities and state agencies to bring jobs for South Carolinians. He cited how he worked with the Barnwell County Economic Development Commission to convince Crane from closing their Williston plant a few years ago. Instead, the company expanded their Williston facility and the number of jobs they offer.
He also wants to work to cut excessive regulations that prevent growth in small businesses, protect the state's Right to Work laws, and repeal or replace the "healthcare takeover bill," which Wilson said destroys jobs.
"I am hopeful that 2014 will bring new beginnings accompanied with substantial reforms that are centered on growing the size of our economy, not the size of our government and debt," Wilson said.
That leads to Wilson's next goal of reducing "out of control spending" in Washington. Wilson said he supports cutting taxes so families can keep more of their money and passing a Balanced Budget Amendment to force the federal government to operate on a balanced budget. Not doing so is not sustainable, he said.
Energy independence and efficiency also tops Wilson's priority list, especially advocating for current and future missions at the Savannah River Site. That's why Wilson, who used to work at the site, said he fought to keep money from being reprogrammed last year for other projects. This year, Wilson said he's hopeful about securing funding for SRS for two years as well as finding additional funding for MOX.
As the father of four sons who are in the military and chairman of the House Armed Services subcommittee on military personnel, he said promoting the nation's military and veterans is also important to him. He said he is "very concerned" about a lack of medical services for veterans.
"A strong and capable military will keep American families safe while protecting our troops serving overseas in harms way," he said.
Wilson also took questions from those in the audience. Questions covered a range of topics, including mental health and passing an amendment redefining the right for life. Wilson referred some questions about specific cases to his staff.
The congressman also made stops in Aiken, Columbia, Lexington and North Augusta.
"It's a way to be accessible," said Wilson, who encourages residents to contact his office for questions, concerns and ideas. A representative from Wilson's office is available to answer questions in room 106 of Barnwell County Courthouse the second and fourth Wednesday of every month from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
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