A Richland County Grand Jury handed down 9 indictments this afternoon against SC House Speaker Bobby Harrell (R-Charleston). Included in the indictments were charges for Misconduct in Office, Using Campaign Funds for Personal Use, and False Reporting of Candidate Campaign Disclosures.
As an American, I believe that people are innocent until proven guilty. I will allow a jury to determine Rep. Harrell’s guilt or lack thereof.
However, as a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, I cannot support any member in a leadership position who has been indicted. The people in my district deserve better.
Our state has many opportunities to win and many problems to solve. We need a Speaker who will focus on our bright future, not on defending his own past questionable actions. For the good of South Carolina, Rep. Harrell should step down as Speaker forthwith. Whether he should resign from the House is a matter between him and his constituents in Charleston.
The organizational structure of the South Carolina House cries out for comprehensive reform. We have a structure that concentrates power in the hands of a very few Representatives while the talents of other members are never used. This structure does not give all South Carolinians true representation in the “Peoples” House, but rather creates an oligarchy of tyranny.
At a minimum, the new Speaker should lead the reformation of House Rules to limit the number of terms a member can serve as Speaker, to limit the number of terms a member may serve as a committee chairman, and to expand the number of standing committees so that the State may benefit from the talents of the broadest number of Representatives as possible.
I will not vote for any member running for Speaker who does not, at a minimum, strongly support and act to achieve these reforms.