The S.C. Chamber of Commerce recently named State Rep. Laurie Slade Funderburk as one of its 2015 Business Advocates of the Year. Funderburk received the award during the Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce Board of Director’s November meeting. Funderburk is one of 47 legislators so named, including Kershaw County representatives Jimmy Bales and Speaker of the House Jay Lucas, who received their awards during a separate ceremony.
During each legislative session, the state chamber tracks roll call votes on key business issues and tallies them to determine an overall score for each member of the General Assembly. This year, the chamber weighted the issues on importance to the business climate and economic competitiveness. In 2015, the chamber tracked key votes on infrastructure, workforce development, tort reform, workers’ compensation reform and unsafe used tires.
Legislators who scored 90 percent or higher received the chamber’s business advocate award.
“The Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce would like to thank representatives Funderburk, Bales and Lucas for their support of our business community,” Kershaw County Chamber Executive Director Liz Horton said. “As representatives and the voice of the Kershaw County business community, our chamber was honored to be a part of this special presentation recognizing Rep. Funderburk as a Business Advocate of the Year for 2015.”
Also during the Kershaw County chamber board meeting, South Carolina Chamber President and CEO Ted Pitts also presented the state chamber’s legislative competitive agenda for the 2016 legislative session.
“The business community went into 2015 laser focused on two priorities: workforce development and infrastructure. Our focus was no accident. The South Carolina Chamber’s board of directors chose these two immediate priorities as part of a larger, long-term strategy for South Carolina,” Ted Pitts said.
On workforce development, Pitts said, “Critical needs jobs are accounting for more than half of the workforce, so our state’s workforce investment needs to match. Legislators will be asked once again this year to increase their focus on programs to develop a skilled workforce to help existing businesses and those looking to locate in the state.”
As for infrastructure, Pitts said the business community clearly spoke this past year with one voice in telling state leaders they could not wait any longer to provide comprehensive, sustainable and recurring funding to maintain and improve our state’s infrastructure.
“Investing in maintaining and improving infrastructure, our state’s largest asset from a business perspective, is a no brainer. Investing in infrastructure is a core function of government. Building for the future will drive economic growth and job creation,” Pitts said.
Pitts said for the second half of the two-year session, the chamber will additionally focus on business license reform.
AT&T South Carolina President Pamela Lackey was also on hand at the meeting to officially designate Kershaw County’s Steeplechase Industrial Park as “AT&T Fiber Ready,” the first business park in the state to be so named.
“The fact that Kershaw County is home to the first AT&T Fiber Ready park in the state reflects the great work being done here in the community to grow our economy,” said County Council Chairman Julian Burns. “This designation can be a tremendous asset for our economic development leaders as we continue to work to attract businesses and jobs to our region. Kershaw County is open for business.”
The AT&T Fiber Ready designation helps economic development leaders more effectively position their communities for site selection by emphasizing the availability of high-speed, fiber-based services.
“The availability of fiber-optic facilities and high-speed communications infrastructure is always among the top priorities a business has in evaluating a potential site for relocation or expansion,” Kershaw County Director of Economic Development Peggy McLean said. “In clearly showing the availability of advanced technology, this Fiber Ready designation will be a valuable tool as we continue to aggressively recruit businesses that depend upon state-of-the art communications to compete internationally.”
“We are excited to recognize Steeplechase Industrial Park as one of many places across South Carolina where AT&T’s fiber infrastructure is in place and ready to help local businesses drive job creation,” Lackey said. “Every day, AT&T’s employees use our billions of dollars of investment to deliver high-speed Internet for consumers and businesses. Those investments are possible in large part because of the smart, pro-investment policies championed by our state leaders and by local leaders such as Chairman Burns.”