State legislators working to promoting federalism are very important to Federalism in Action, and we will regularly feature these Federalism All Stars. First up is Representative Alan Clemmons, who has worked hard in his 11 years in the South Carolina House of Representatives to make sure the citizens of the Palmetto State can make local decisions and are not dependent on Washington, D.C.
He first ran for office “to move the policy debate toward less unnecessary government influence in our businesses and personal lives, to protect our personal freedoms and to make South Carolina the most attractive state in the nation to do business. “
Once elected, he set about achieving his goal in part by forging relationships with all the other 123 members of the House.
“Successful politics is a team sport,” he said.
Rep. Clemmons said, “I was shocked to learn that there were a small handful of members who, while having served for many years, had not learned the names of their fellow House members!”
He worries about the federal government entices states with the promise of federal funds.
He explained, “So often states are lured into grand projects with quixotic goals, particularly in the health care and public education arenas, by the offer of free money (the federal ‘carrot’). Once such programs are locked in place, they are rarely, if ever, rolled back.”
“The federal ‘carrot’ promotes bloated government, a public entitlement philosophy and an unsustainable tax burden,” added Rep. Clemmons.
The management of public lands is a top federalism issue of late and one in which Rep. Clemmons is engaged. “It will reduce state dependence on Washington and, at the same time, will enhance our national economy if we can reduce state dependence on the federal government to manage public lands,” he said.
In states east of Colorado, Washington has carried out its agreement to dispose of public lands held in trust. In Western States this has not been the case, with over 50% of the total landmass of those states still remaining in federal hands.
“States can better manage their non-park public lands than the federal government. In addition to states being able to be more efficient in the cost of management of such public lands, there are rich stores of petroleum, natural gas and timber that are locked away on those lands under federal control,” he explained.
But what interest does a South Carolinian have in the topic of western land?
As Rep Clemmons explained, every citizen has a vested interest in this issue.
“The financial impact of states appropriately managing those resources could have a huge impact on our national economy and American energy independence,” he said.
“Unfortunately Western states cannot sustain an effort of this magnitude without the partnership of eastern state legislatures and congressional delegations.”
Rep. Clemmons is a wonderful example of how a state representative from the East can get involved and make a difference.
“I’ve taken an active role in encouraging eastern state legislatures to pass resolutions urging their congressional delegations to link arms with their colleagues from the West in their effort to relinquish federal control over non-park public lands to the states in which those lands are situated.”