As the legislative session ended on Thursday, one of the youngest and most outspoken members of the General Assembly ended his time as a lawmaker with a farewell speech meant to inspire a new generation of South Carolinians.
State Rep. Boyd Brown, 25, isn’t seeking reelection in order to focus on law school at the University of South Carolina. The Fairfield Democrat has been one of Gov. Nikki Haley’s most outspoken critics, and couldn’t resist taking one last shot at the Republican governor on Thursday:
Unless you’re on the governor’s list of corrupt legislators, we don’t take this job for the pay. Too many folks don’t realize how little this job actually does pay. I have long said, that to be a member of the General Assembly, you’ve got to be unemployed, self-employed or retired. In light of recent events, including one particular investigation, I have decided to amend that thought. In order to make a living and serve in this body, one must be unemployed, self-employed, retired or be a future governor of this state who knows how to land some pretty good “consulting contracts.”
Brown accused South Carolina’s Republican leadership of lacking leadership and vision, calling the administrations of govs. Haley and Sanford “total failures.” He also warned lawmakers against ignoring younger voters, who tend to be much more socially progressive than the Palmetto State’s GOP-dominated legislature.
Watch Brown’s entire speech below (starting at the 4:20 mark). We’ve included the text of the “my generation” part below the video player:
My generation acknowledges science and we want to protect our planet. We understand the importance of our natural heritage in this state, and what responsibilities come with that heritage. Visit the ACE Basin, and then try to convince me we don’t have an obligation to protect our natural resources.
My generation doesn’t think you improve the lives of the working South Carolinian by lowering the taxes of the corporations that fund your political endeavors, you do so by finding ways to lower the personal income tax and improve their lot in life.
My generation finds it disgraceful to confine a child born to a broken home in Winnsboro or Kingstree, Allendale or Dillon to a life without opportunity. Instead, we want the classroom to be a place where that child can escape from the shadows of despair, and find refuge in an entirely new world, rich with opportunity.
My generation understands you don’t fix roads by naming them after Andre Bauer and other politicians, and you don’t fund infrastructure by changing the composition of the DOT Board; President Clinton reminded us, “There is no evidence that we can succeed in this century with an antigovernment strategy, with a philosophy grounded in ‘You’re on your own’ rather than ‘We’re all in this together.” We must invest in better roads, stronger bridges and updated water and sewer lines.
My generation does not hate gay people. We don’t hate any people, we simply believe all Americans, here in this state and across our country, should be able to live their lives as they see fit.
My generation is not caught up in black versus white. We must break out of this out-dated prism of looking at one another through the spectacles of the past. We want to celebrate equality and opportunity in South Carolina, not the bigotry that has defined our state for too long.
This is my generation…
My generation does not fear the future. My generation is not afraid of progress; we’re not afraid of globalism and an interdependent world. My generation, we welcome change.
And, ladies and gentlemen, as a word of caution to you, my generation is sprinting this way.
Though Brown is leaving the State House, he was recently elected state committeeman for the Democratic National Convention. Read the full text of his speech here.