Wednesday, August 27, 2014
State Sen. Sean Bennett was recently recognized for his environmentally friendly voting record by the Conservation Voters of South Carolina.
In fact, Bennett has the highest rating of any legislator in South Carolina, according to Shawn Drury, CVSC Field Director.
The organization, like many interest groups, has developed a rating system by which it judges a legislator’s performance with regard to environmental issues. At 95 percent, Bennett is not only the highest rated by the group, but his rating is significantly higher than the state average of 79 percent.
“We appreciate his efforts and his support,” Drury said. “People here are in tune to the outdoors — they really do care about such issues as clean air, water, and environment, and when you have legislators that support that, it’s great for everyone.”
Drury said CVSC will be touring the state over the next couple of weeks honoring those legislators who have high environmentally friendly voting records.
CVSC developed its rating system and started producing legislative “scorecards” several years ago, Drury said. This year, the organization added an element — rating the work legislators did while in committee as well as their voting records.
“Committees are where a lot of the work actually gets done,” Drury noted.
Bennett, while honored and pleased by the recognition, said he is even more gratified to see that open dialogue and the ability and willingness to compromise — two key elements to his approach to the business of being a legislator — are once again proving to be an effective approach to accomplishing goals in the legislature and ultimately for finding solutions that are good for all South Carolinians.
“I don’t really pay that much attention to scorecards per se — I think you just get in there and try to make the very best decisions you can,” Bennett said. “I think this proves you can get good compromises done, and you can achieve good, effective legislation without damaging or diminishing one group or sector. You don’t have to give up your principles to compromise — compromise is not a bad word.”
In fact, Bennett notes that while he has high environmental ratings, he also has been highly rated by groups such as the Chamber of Commerce and other business and economic development-oriented groups. What that means, he said, is that, contrary to some opinions, these interests do, in fact, have much common ground and are more interconnected than some might initially believe.
Drury agreed. “The Solar Legislation bill was a good example of that,” Drury said. “It promotes a new, clean source of energy that also will spur economic development and provide good jobs.”
Of course, there are times when one does not compromise, and Bennett says that, too, is healthy.
“No one ever gets everything they want,” he said. “And no one needs to compromise their principles to get things done. The problem comes when you’re not compromising with only an interest of gumming up the works, with no intention of finding an outcome.”