The Bluffton Christmas parade was as spectacular as ever. Sandra Lunceford at the Town of Bluffton did her usual amazing job of getting everything organized and under way on time and without a hint of confusion. My own little Santa”s helpers are veteran parade participants who relish the idea of delivering candy to the waiting multitudes. Even though Rose and I did our best pre-parade block of instruction regarding the optimal rate of candy distribution, as we were rounding the Bridge/Calhoun corner, the helpers were in competition mode, shoveling candy by the double handful. Fortunately, we had held back a couple bags for just such occasion and finished the parade as the last few pieces were shoveled to grateful children lining the streets.
Congrats to Miss Babbie for her selection as 2013 Bluffton Christmas Parade Grand Marshall. After all her years of organizational service, not only with this and other parades but the many arts events as well, she is due this recognition and much more than we will ever be able to provide. For many years, she almost single-handedly raised the cultural bar in Bluffton. Thank you, Babbie.
We in the legislative delegation have been working pretty hard finalizing our preparation for the beginning of session in a few weeks. I have been meeting with town and county officials, making certain that we understand their thoughts and desires. I have been reviewing the pile of bills prefiled before we reconvene. Most are political fluff that has little resonance outside Columbia. I will, however, be respectfully attentive, at least as long as the fluff doesn”t interfere with the real work of representing my district and my community and state.
Coming and going to and from football games and work commitments throughout the Southeast has recently given me a strong appreciation for the fact that our state has fallen behind our regional competitors as far as our roads and bridges are concerned. These are serious investments, which play a large role in our ability to maximize our economic opportunities as well as a matter of safety for our citizens. One of the main themes of my long tenure as chairman of Beaufort County Council was to improve our roads and bridges. I know that many of the strategies that worked so well at the county level can be scaled up to address the infrastructure challenges looming before our state. Neglecting our multi-billion dollar road and bridge investments is just not consistent with any prudent version of fiscal conservatism. We are currently lacking the political will to seriously address this important matter. This representative is prepared to join that conversation.
Finally, the scheduling stars aligned to allow the Newton clan to take off for a Thanksgiving cruise to Central America. Rose and I had an almost simultaneous realization that our oldest child, Reedy, will be in college in 5 years. The ensuing parental panic, combined with the fact that they were out of school for a week, propelled us to one of our best adventures to date. We trekked in the rainforests of Belize and visited one of the few unearthed Mayan temples. After making the climb to the top, we had something of a Jurassic Park moment, thankfully minus the velociraptors.
Seeing my little guys snorkeling in Honduras, completely out of their element, yet so comfortable in open water, was priceless. As the week progressed, our children seemed to form their own little tribe, less dependent on us, and more on each other. Rose and I were so proud, but also a little sad. Their adult futures are starting to emerge, while we are

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a bit nostalgic for the days of diapers and car seats.

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