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August 29, 2007 | South Carolina Headlines


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Democrat challenges Inglis in Congressional race
March 27, 2006

The Upstate region of South Carolina will have a powerful new voice in Congress if William I. Griffith has his way.

A recently retired Michelin executive, Griffith is running as a Democrat against Robert Inglis in the November 7 election for South Carolina?s 4th District seat in Congress.

?I?m running -- and running hard -- for the 4th District seat,? the candidate told a standing-room-only crowd at Greenville County?s Democratic Convention March 20. He
repeated the message for cheering Democrats at the Spartanburg County convention earlier in the day.

In announcing his candidacy to the press and public a week earlier, Griffith--known to his friends as simply "Griff"--said he decided to seek public office because the Republican-led direction in which the country is headed is going to cause catastrophic difficulties in the years to come.

?I don?t know how much one man can do (to change the course of national policy) but I do know that no man can do nothing,? the candidate said.

A 26-year resident of Greenville and long-term manager of two Michelin tire research groups, Griffith is basing his campaign on five core issues of national security. The five are fiscal responsibility, energy policy, education, healthcare, and immigration.

"Just as holding elections doesn't make a democracy, fighting terrorists overseas, does not, by itself, provide national security," Griffith said. "In reality, any danger that substantially threatens our way of life must be considered a matter of national security."

On fiscal responsibility, Griffith said, "Our nation's balance between income and expense is way out of kilter, and much worse than what our government is telling us. The government has simply borrowed huge amounts of additional monies known as supplemental appropriations to pay for such things as the war in Iraq and Katrina relief. With the current revenue and spending plans in place, there is no plausible amount of economic growth that will close the gap between income and expense in the future."

"In not so many years," he warned, "our current revenue streams will only cover entitlements, defense spending, and debt service. Clearly, we will most likely act before that occurs, but who in Congress is stepping forward today and providing solutions to this dilemma? Certainly not Bob Inglis. For decades some have disparaged the 'tax and spend Democrat.' Well, they now have something much worse to complain about: the 'borrow and spend Republican.'"

Griffith hit Inglis hard on the question of energy policy. "You have undoubtedly heard the 4th District incumbent speak glowingly of the merits of the 'hydrogen economy,'" he said. "Thirty to 50 years from now this new technology may come into play, however it is not likely to significantly impact the lives of any one of you here today. Hydrogen is in no way a solution to our current energy insecurity, and it should never be promoted as such."

Noting that South Carolina has the lowest high school graduation rate in the U.S. and that many of those who do graduate are ill prepared for the future, Griffith asked, "What sort of jobs will we have in 10 years that will gainfully employ our people?"

He continued, "Small businesses are increasingly unable to offer healthcare benefits to their employees and large businesses routinely ask their employees to shoulder more of their own healthcare expense. We will lose our competitiveness in the global market if we are unable to bring these spiraling costs into line."

"Further, we must look for economical ways of providing a minimum standard of 'healthcare security' to the nearly 50 million of our citizens that have no insurance," Griffith added. "Bottom line: If our people are insecure, our country will be insecure."

Finally, Griffith noted, "There are on the order of 12 million -- some say many more -- illegal immigrants in the United States. National security begins with economic security at home and a secure border to keep those who would harm us on the other side. This problem cannot be ignored any longer, and it is time to take positive steps to solve it."

"Our country is at a pivotal point, and I believe the decisions we make now will affect many future generations of Americans," he concluded. "While we have time to deal with the challenges I have outlined, we do not have unlimited time. If we are unable or unwilling to find the solutions, the solutions will find us in a way that will be devastating for the great majority of our citizens. We can take some comfort in the immortal words of John F. Kennedy, 'Our problems are man-made; therefore, they may be solved by man. ... No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings.'"

Looking ahead, the candidate said he plans to call on Democrats in Congress to join in a Reality Contract. "Just as the Republicans in 1994 had a so-called 'Contract with America,' Democrats in 2006 need to come together to change the dangerous course on which President Bush and  Congressman  Inglis have our country headed,"
Griffith said.

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