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Noted and passed - June 9, 2014

Posted: June 6, 2014 8:56 a.m.
Updated: June 9, 2014 5:00 a.m.

• Tuesday is primary day and, as we always do, we urge everyone to go out and vote. Primaries tend to have a lower turnout than the general elections in November, but this year’s primary may turn out to have a high participation rate. That’s because several important races will be decided on Tuesday rather than in the fall. The biggest of these, of course, is that for Kershaw County Sheriff. With two Republican candidates and no Democratic contenders, Tuesday is the one and only time this year voters can decide who will be their next sheriff. The race is between incumbent Sheriff Jim Matthews and former Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office  (KCSO) Capt. David Thomley. Matthews defeated Thomley and several other contenders in the Republican primary four years ago and then went on to beat his Democratic rival. The differences between these two candidates are many, so voters have an important decision to make about the direction the KCSO will take during the next four years. Also being decided on Tuesday rather than in November: the Kershaw County Treasurer’s race since no Democrats are running, and school board Seats Nos. 2 and 8. Along with the Republican nominations for the Kershaw County Council Chair and District 6 seats, and probate judge, this is one of the most important primary elections in Kershaw County’s history.

• The fact that no local Democratic nominations are on the ballot brings up an interesting conundrum for many voters. There are Democratic nominations to vote for Tuesday on both the state and federal level, most notably S.C. Superintendent of Education. Unfortunately, any Democrats who want to vote for either Matthews or Thomley, as one example, must choose to vote in the Republican primary, giving up their right to vote for Democratic nominees in other races. We’ve always been grateful that both primaries are open to everyone, regardless of party affiliation. We also recognize that November is when everyone gets to vote for the people they want in most offices. Still, it would be nice if the primaries were completely open so that voters could cast ballots for the local officials they want without taking away their right to vote for other candidates from their respective parties. Of course a better solution is for more Democrats to step up and challenge each other for the nominations of more elected offices in our county, giving voters a real choice and not just the status quo.

• Getting away from politics and offering a tip of the C-I hat, we congratulate Dr. Vincent Degenart on his receipt of both the S.C. Medical Association’s Physician of the Year Award and Order of the Palmetto. Degenart received the awards in recognition of his work during the past three years, forming and, for a time, chairing the S.C. Childhood Obesity Task Force. An anesthesiologist with KershawHealth, Degenart was moved by a talk by former S.C. Department of Health and Human Services Director Robbie Kerr about how obesity in South Carolina, especially among children, had skyrocketed during the previous decade. The task force’s “5-2-1-0 Plan” of at least five fruits and vegetables a day, no more than two hours of “screen time,” one hour of physical activity, and no sweet drinks sounds like a good prescription to us. So is, as he suggested, educating ourselves on everything from ideal body weight to our BMI (body mass index). We definitely concur that Dr. Degenhart is worthy of both these high awards.

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