Compassion Begins at Home . . . as Does Protection

South Carolinians are an enthusiastically compassionate people. We build houses for families who need shelter. We donate supplies for children who cannot afford the basic materials needed at school. We provide meals for the elderly. We provide protection for the abused. We perform random acts of kindness unseen except by God. We know that the opportunity to be charitable is as limitless as the people to be helped. We recognized that charity begins at home but must be extended to all.

I was reminded of this recently on a trip to Los Angeles. While waiting for my flight to be called, I ran into a first cousin who was on his way to South America. He’s a retired educator and coach. He and his wife had committed two weeks to a mission trip with their church. I know many people in the Upstate who participate in similar church trips every year to help build housing, provide medical care, educate and through their example, provide people with hope that circumstances can improve.

Our current refugee resettlement argument has caused some critics to question how far our compassion extends. Those that hate South Carolina (and there are more than a few) accuse us of hypocrisy. Would Jesus block refugees from entering our state? As a shepherd protecting his flock, I suspect that he just might.

Since we do not posses his ability to know what lies in a person’s heart, we have to act prudently, especially if we hold elected office. I have little confidence in our federal government’s ability to track terrorists inside the United States. Little has been done by our current administration in the White House to strengthen security at our borders. I have to assume that this same naivety extends to the refugee resettlement program.

Our President has done little to address the refugee crisis. Where are the safe havens in the Middle East? Where are the no-fly zones? Should not our Middle Eastern allies that we have supported financially for generations provide food and shelter for the Iraqi and Syrian refugees? Maybe our President thought it was a European problem.

We now know for certain that the Paris attackers entered France under the guise of refugees. That knowledge makes the refugee resettlement program our problem. Asking the federal government to suspend it was a prudent request by our Governor.

Office of Refugee Resettlement – Welcome to ObamaWorld

I cannot leave well enough alone. Like a character from a Stephen King story, I’m drawn to the shaking door to see what horror lurks behind it. Be warned. Once you open the door, you can never slam it quick enough and in politics, the horror is always greater than imagined.

Take last Monday morning as an example. A new employee was reporting for duty so I had a full slate of work ahead. Yet, I wanted to express my reservations about the Syrian refugee resettlement program via letter to Gov. Haley.

Before I wrote the letter, I researched the impact of the program on South Carolina. I found reports with refugee resettlement statistics, maps showing which states participated in the program, and spreadsheets showing annual costs flowing through each state to fund the program, all from the websites of Homeland Security and Customs & Immigration Service.

Then I found the website for the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). Not only was that door shaking but it oozed a slippery liberal sentiment.

So I opened it . . .

. . . and stepped into the mind of Barak Obama. I could see the world as he saw it, his eyes my window to the outside.

A slight nausea flooded over me from the garish light flooding back through his eyes. The light wasn’t bright white or tinged red. No rose colored glasses for him. The light was multicolored as if he were the culmination point of a rainbow, the treasure sought by all who believe in such things.

As I looked through the ORR website, I realized that this was his creation, a community organized by him, an expression of his only talent. A world where refugees are never questioned about intent or background but gladly offered all of the benefits of a generous and bankrupt welfare state. A world where troops are replaced with teammates and sincerity vanquishes all evil.

ObamaWorld was filled with former refugees washed in ObamaCare and waiving their Individual Development Account cards. Flush with matching money and eager to find their ethnic communities in their new neighborhoods where they will make a difference, they were proteges of their creator, filled with the Democratic zeal of oblates.  At least some of them were.

Lurking in the corners of ObamaWorld like quiet shadow people were the skilled, the educated, the English fluent, the ambitious – those who thought America was synonymous with opportunity. Not opportunity to enroll in a new welfare servitude but opportunity to achieve. They came through the door looking to prove themselves, for direction towards a geographic area that needed their skills and not just a random assignment to whatever state would have them.

I tried to slam the door but the sunlight diffused the shadows revealing real people who deserve better.

Click to read my letter to Gov. Haley.

Click to visit the ORR.

Click to read what the US Senate heard last September.

Click to see the map.

Click to see South Carolina funding.

Click to see 2014 refugee disbursement by state.

Click to read the latest ORR newsletter.

Click to read about ethnic community self-help.

Click to read about Individual Development Account program.

Click to read Refugee Health Together newsletter.

Click to read about LBGT resources.

Stringer Resource Group – 15 Years and Running Strong



It was fifteen years ago this week that I made a call to a furniture company up in Boone to discuss my company providing pension compliance services for their employee retirement plan.  They eventually said yes and became the first official client of my new start-up business.

In those days, I was the company. From emptying trash cans to making sales call, I did the work and was glad for it. I had learned early on from my father (who passed on to all of his children the idea that if you don’t work you don’t eat) that all jobs are important regardless of the task. He told me to never judge a man by his job as long as it was honest work – a lesson especially important for our younger generation today.

Stringer Resource Group now employs eleven people and we all do honest work. I have been blessed and I remained humbled by the quality of person that has chosen to work with me. We have together created a company known for providing excellent service in our area of expertise. Without them, SRG would not be a success.

Most South Carolinians work in a small business just like SRG. Businesses that were started with the hope of a better future. These businesses are the main economic engines that propel our state forward. I know because these small businesses are my clients. I speak to them every day.

We may not be the companies that make the news every night or those that must be lured here through economic incentives, but we are the companies that keep providing jobs year by year and more importantly, provide an example for others of durable home-grown entrepreneurship.

To my fellow workers at SRG and our clients, thank you for your excellence and continued hard work.

The Seventh Year Stretch

When I ran for office eight years ago, I thought South Carolina needed the following reforms:

Create Budgetary Spending Caps, Develop Comprehensive Tax Reform, Establish Zero-based Budgeting, Eliminate Competitive Grants, Create Inspector General, Allow Governor to Appoint Constitutional Officers, Create Dept. of Administration, Shorten the Legislative Session, Require More Recorded Votes, Strengthen Disclosure Laws, Expand Home Rule, End Gerrymandering, Reform Judicial Elections

Certainly this was big talk from someone who had never held office before on any level, but I was committed. I was even photographed with the late Rep. Bill Wylie signing a voter contract listing these reforms. He had never held office either.

These specific reforms were in addition to protecting our 2nd Amendment rights, defending the unborn child’s right to life, stopping illegal immigration into South Carolina, limiting government intrusion into our daily lives, limiting government growth, improving education, expanding parental school choice, not raising taxes and in general, voting like I had some common sense.

So, was anything accomplished? Surprisingly more than you might have thought, considering the number of economic crises and major political distractions that occurred since I took office.

After the GOP primary in June 2008, the stock market crashed badly ushering in four years of economic hardship, tax revenues fell which forced the General Assembly to cut the state budget by about 25% in 2009, Governor Sanford became a lame duck and was threatened impeachment over his choice of hiking trails, the recession continued as did the state budget fights, Governor Haley was elected in a major upset of the GOP establishment, Lt. Governor Ken Ard was elected and then resigned under a cloud of campaign funded party dresses, long standing Senate President Pro Temp Glenn McConnell did his duty, resigned and moved up to Lt. Governor, House Speaker Bobby Harrell resigned under indictment and our new Speaker Jay Lucas took control of the House under difficult circumstances. Out of the four House elections that I have faced, three have been contested.

During this seven-year fracas, the Republican-controlled House managed to pass legislation that reformed or strengthened the vast majority of those promises aforementioned. I’m glad to have either developed and voted for legislation that drove those reforms or by irritating those people who stood in the way.

So, after seven years, what does South Carolina need now? What do my friends and neighbors here in Blue Ridge and Greer need?

For South Carolina –

In addition to protecting and refining the aforementioned legislation, our 2016 Republican-controlled General Assembly needs to:

Remember the destruction of the recent flooding and ensure that existing roads, bridges and dams are brought up to current safety standards.

Recognize that the current DOT commissioner-based governance structure has become inefficient and reform it to allow for improved oversight from the Secretary of Transportation over how and when existing roads are repaired and new projects approved.

Repair the roads.

Reform the tax code to broaden the tax base and lower rates throughout the different revenue sources with special attention paid to increasing our road and bridge infrastructure funding, increasing k-12 educational funding especially for parental choice initiatives and decreasing the tax burden carried by middle-class workers.

Refine our public k-12 education system by expanding parental access to specialized schools (charter, STEAM, magnet, etc.) and funding for student specific private-tutoring initiatives.

Certainly, other problems exist and legislation will be debated to solve those issues but infrastructure, education and tax reform are the big three statewide issues for 2016.

For Blue Ridge and Greer –

We do not need a roundabout at Lake Cunningham Fire Station on Highway 101. We need an improved intersection at Highway 101 and Milford Church Road.

We do not need the slot car-like rut that has formed on North Main Street in Greer (Highway 14). We need it repaired before somebody has a slot car-like wreck into the parking lot of Bonds Career Center.

We need a school building for our 400 Greer charter high school students who have been attending class in 24 semi-rotted portables for years. They should be congratulated for making use of our pothole-riven roads and winning a state cross-country championship last year. Imagine what they could do with a proper track and field.

We need for our county-based hospital system board (GHS) to show that they remember who gave GHS the foundation to grow like they have (and by foundation I mean the hard working citizens of Greenville County) before they are so quick to allocate the citizens’ hospital assets and resources to others outside our community. We need our county legislative delegation to exercise proper oversight of the GHS board.

We do not need Duke Energy placing 150-foot towers along Highway 11 or up around Lake Lanier to carry transmission lines for electricity bound for Asheville.

We need for 2016 to be the year of keeping it real. Real solutions for real problems.

Area Flood Donation Points to Aid Our Friends in the Midlands and Lowcountry

Note that this information was first published by The Greenville News.

The American Red Cross is accepting donations. Over the weekend the Red Cross opened 35 shelters in North and South Carolina – 30 of those were in South Carolina. Donations to Red Cross Disaster Relief can be made online or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS. You can also text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

The Salvation Army is sending Emergency and Disaster Services personnel to provide food, water, and shelter to those affected by the storm. A mobile canteen is leaving Greenville Tuesday morning to head to Columbia. You can help The Salvation Army provide relief to flood victims by donating to its Emergency and Disaster Services. Cash donations allow disaster responders to immediately meet the specific needs of disaster survivors without incurring many of the costs associated with sorting, parking, transporting and distributing goods. To donate text STORM to 51555, call 1-800-SALARMY or visit

The Greenville County Sheriff’s Office is conducting a bottled water drive. Anyone who would like to donate sealed bottled water can stop by any of three locations to make a donation between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Greenville County LEC at 4 McGee St., Greenville

4900 Old Buncombe Rd, Greenville

5 Chapel Dr., Greenville

South Carolina Emergency Management Division has compiled a list of Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. A full list of those accepting donations can be found online.

The North Greenville University Athletics Department will set up a trailer in front of Younts Stadium Wednesday morning to accept donations of food, water and stuffed animals. The trailer will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.

Newspring church is taking donations online. You can also bring bottled water and non-perishable food items to 81 Rocky Slope Road from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. now through Thursday.

Memorial United Methodist in downtown Greer is collecting drinking water through Wednesday night at the entrance of its Family Life Center.

Springwell Church in Taylors is collecting donations. They’ve connected with pastors in Columbia and Charleston and are collecting diapers, wipes, toiletries, socks, shoes, towels and sheets. You can drop them off at Springwell today through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 pm. or Sunday morning.

Girl Scouts of South Carolina Mountains to Midlands is taking donations of items (water, canned goods, blankets, toiletries, gift cards, etc) at two upstate service centers.

Greenville Service Center – 5 Independence Pointe, Suite 120

Spartanburg Service Center – 349 East Blackstock Road

Greer First Baptist Church is collection bottled water until 3 p.m. Thursday. Donations are being accepted at the church at 201 W. Poinsett Street in Greer.

Tommy Stringer