State Rep. Thad Viers, up for re-election this year, is nothing if not a lighting rod, and he knows it.
The Sun News editorial board has more often been critical of Viers than supportive, so I really appreciate his being willing to come discuss his bid for re-election with us. That said, unlike most of our other interviews, we began our conversation with Viers with a series of direct questions about issues where we have differed. Beyond those, Viers also discussed his approach to next year's budget crisis and his priorities for a fifth term.
On the whole, Viers gave pretty thoughtful answers. The video's worth watching for his one-liners ("I'm not a silver-spoon baby. I grew up in a mobile home park.") as well as for some of his surprising opinions on other issues. In case you don't make it all the way through, here's his closing statement:
"I've never been about specific bills getting passed. I've been about advancing a philosophy on government to change the whole face and structure of government, because that's where the meat is. I'm not interested in appetizers or individual awards from associations or having my name on a bill, as much as I am changing how South Carolina works for the taxpayer and for its citizens.
"You need people like me, you need people who like to push the bills, and you need people who want to be a committee chairman one day. I'm not the other two. I'm the philosophy guy."
Viers met with us May 20. The questions we asked him are listed after the video.
- 0:00 Looking back on the incident with your ex-wife several years ago, have your thoughts on the issue progressed any since then?
- 4:14 Why did you vote to give the Myrtle Beach City Council the ability to raise the sales tax?
- 7:37 You've promised to correct 2008's ban on children of illegal immigrants attending college, but never introduced a bill. Why?
- 12:29 Do you think the state legislature has had a productive year?
- 13:43 Is the $4 billion in revenue most officials project for 2011 enough to run state government?
- 17:00 Why did you decide to run for re-election?
- 19:35 Are there any specific bills you'd like to see the legislature pass in your next session?