Lt. Governor Andre’ Bauer...

Describing himself as “a reasonable conservative, with no background in politics, and no fancy law degree, but just a business owner that got frustrated with the system and wanted to make some changes,” South Carolina Lieutenant Governor Andre’ Bauer spoke to a room full of senior citizens and local political leaders at the Bamberg County Thomas N. Rhoad Senior Citizens Center in Bamberg.

“If you like what’s going on, whether you like our senior centers, the Meals-on-Wheels, transportation, nursing home investigation, if you’re happy with what we’re doing let Bakari (Rep. Bakari Sellers) know or if there is something that can be done more effectively, or something that needs to be tweaked,” Bauer said.

Lt. Gov. Bauer, whose grandparents were born and raised in Branchville, was introduced to the crowd of seniors that eagerly awaited his appearance by District 90 Representative Attorney Bakari Sellers from Denmark, who joked that he personally drove Bauer to Bamberg, referring to several motoring violations the Lt. Governor had been cited for in the past.

“I want you all to have the opportunity to touch and see the people that are actually going to be engaged in the decisions that directly affect our lives,” Sellers said. “My goal isn’t just to pass good legislation, but to let people know that I care about people in Bamberg and Orangeburg Counties,” Sellers said, adding that “the fact that we’re here together shows how far we’ve come as a state.”

With more than 775,000 senior citizens in the state and 1.3 million baby boomers that will soon become seniors Bauer stated that the state should be seen as a retirement haven. He noted that the average senior citizen moving to South Carolina brings with them average assets of $ 1 million dollars.

“They are a clean viable industry that can come to any part of the state,” Bauer said of the states’ growing population of senior citizens.

The Lt. Governor fielded several questions from the audience during a question and answer period:

Alzena Robinson, asked that given the budget cuts and most agencies having a waiting list for services such as Meals-on-Wheels, and transportation did he see expanding services so waiting list could be reduced?

As for his feelings about the stimulus package Bauer stated: “I too am in agreement with the governor (Mark Sanford), I don’t really like the current stimulus Package, there are things in there I think are wasteful however, we do disagree if the money is out there, we either can take it or not take it, all of you’re going to pay the taxes regardless, I’m for taking it,” he said.

Lisa Stokes, told the Lt. Governor of her “vision” of helping senior citizens become more proficient when it came to using computers and the internet so they could correspond with family members. “Are you familiar with any avenues I can use to accomplish that?” Stokes asked.

“What we are doing in a lot of centers, we’re finding people to donate computers, that may be transferred to get new computers, and have students come in from local colleges and receive college credit for helping senior citizens learn computer skills,” Bauer said.

At the end of the program Mayor Alton McCollum presented the Lt. Governor with the Key to the City of Bamberg.