Chris deVries for South Carolina House of Representatives, District 123

On the Issues

Increasing Access To Affordable Quality Health Care

  • Health care is a right — not a privilege. South Carolina’s decision not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act has resulted in tens of thousands of poor adults having no access to affordable quality health care services. 15 percent of the Beaufort County population have no health insurance; Beaufort County has the highest percentage of uninsured children in the state of South Carolina (over 10 percent).
  • As many people in Hilton Head and Daufuskie faced the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, access to affordable and comprehensive health care services became even more acute. The cracks in our health care delivery system became transparent with the recent health care crisis including:
    • the vulnerability of nursing home residents;
    • lack of affordable health care services;
    • high cost of hospitalization with high deductibles and co-pay requirements; and
    • lack of health care specialists for residents of Hilton Head and Daufuskie
  • Access to health care is a complex issue that requires a wide array of solutions. I will work to expand Medicaid coverage to all who cannot afford health insurance as well as strengthen access to health care services for children and the elderly.
  • Increasing access to specialty health care services as well as quality general practitioners requires expanding access to nurse practitioners by granting them full practice authority; expanding loan forgiveness programs; and developing innovative models of care including telehealth.
  • We need to rebuild South Carolina’s public health infrastructure. that has been the target of reduced funding in recent years, in order to be better prepared for future public health emergencies.

Ensuring Long-Term Economic Viability for Our Community

  • Rebuilding our economy and strengthening our workforce after the COVID-19 pandemic must be a priority of the SC legislature in 2021. Areas such as Hilton Head and Daufuskie that depend on tourism for a majority of its revenue will need to support both business owners and workers to ensure long term financial viability.
  • One of our most vibrant sectors of our local economy, hospitality, has been greatly impacted by recent events. It will be necessary for the SC State Legislature to provide the building blocks in which to restore consumer confidence while ensuring safe worksites.
  • Issues such as raising the minimum wage and expanding overtime pay, reauthorizing the community development tax credit, strengthening the SC Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation to effectively enforce labor laws and protect workers, leveraging South Carolina’s purchasing power to promote good jobs, ensuring the eradication of racial and gender discrimination in the workplace, reforming inefficient tax foreclosure laws, and promoting local tourism through statewide tourism funding need to be addressed by our policymakers.

Protecting Our Environment

  • Protecting our environment is a top priority for all who live or visit our beautiful islands. Balancing economic growth with conservation efforts requires thoughtful and careful consideration.
  • We must take proactive steps to ensure that we have a clean and healthy environment by protecting our land and our beaches, promoting clean energy, and realizing sustainable waste management.
  • We need to take action to make sure the water we drink is free from chemicals.
  • We need to foster the use of alternative energy sources such as solar.
  • And, yes, climate change is a local issue impacting our oceans and our crops requiring action to decrease carbon emissions.

Achieving Quality Public Education

  • We must move beyond “minimally adequate” education for our children in South Carolina to prepare them for the future. Ranking 40th in the nation for math and reading scores is simply unacceptable.
  • Prioritizing resources to fully fund public schools, inspire and reward innovation, promote best practices, reduce class size, and paying our teachers a competitive wage and benefits to address the shortage of professional teachers in our education system is critical.
  • Our schools should be safe places top enhance our children’s ability to learn by providing supplemental resources such as mental health counselors, school nurses, social workers, and teacher aides.
    The children we educate today are our leaders of tomorrow.

Guaranteeing Equality Under The Law

  • Ensuring equality under the law benefits everyone in our community. Workplace fairness, ensuring that school is safe for LGBTQ students, and paying people wages based on the job they do and not on their gender or color of their skin should be central to our values.
  • South Carolina legislative initiatives such as paid family leave for state employees, lactation support for working mothers, pay equity, wage history and transparency, equality in public education, supporting the right of people with disabilities, and ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment are part of a larger agenda to ensure that everyone has equal opportunities in our society.

Protecting Our Right To Vote

  • Voting is our most basic right in this country. No matter where you live, what you do, or who you are – as a citizen – it is your right and your duty to vote. Voting gives people, the ability to voice their opinion about issues that matter to them.
  • Casting a ballot should be easy and encouraged, but current law in South Carolina makes it difficult for everyone to exercise that right. These challenges become more critical with the COVID-19 pandemic and the fear of crowded public places, especially by older adults. South Carolina must take steps to ensure access to voting is safe, protected, and available to all eligible voters by increasing their ability to vote absentee and/or vote by mail.