During my tenure on Aiken County Council, one political leader in Washington, D.C., has stood head and shoulders above the crowd when it comes to supporting the interests of Aiken County and its residents. That leader is U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

While others have paid lip-service to issues relating to the Savannah River Site, Graham has gotten down in the trenches and fiercely battled those who would just as soon see Aiken County become the de-facto nuclear waste dump of the Western Hemisphere. I specifically recall a small private meeting several years back attended by Graham and then-U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., to discuss the future of SRS. DeMint in response to a complex question regarding the potential impact of the closing of Yucca Mountain unassumingly deferred to Senator Graham, stating, “I follow Lindsey’s lead on issues related to SRS. No one is more knowledgeable or passionate about holding the administration accountable.” To me this spoke volumes about Graham’s effectiveness and the respect he commanded from the then-junior senator.

Despite a 88 lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union – to put this in perspective, Mark Sanford and Ron Paul rate 86 and 83, respectively – there are some who say Graham is not conservative enough for South Carolina. To them I would offer the following quote from then-California Gov. Ronald Reagan, “When I began entering into the give and take of legislative bargaining..., a lot of the most radical conservatives who had supported me during the election didn’t like it. ‘Compromise’ was a dirty word to them ... They wanted all or nothing and they wanted it all at once. If you don’t get it all, some said, don’t take anything ... If you got 75 or 80 percent of what you were asking for, I say, you take it and fight for the rest later, and that’s what I told these radical conservatives who never got used to it.”

Do I agree with every position Graham has taken? Certainly not. However, I believe it is ludicrous to expect 100 percent ideological purity from our elected officials. To do so ensures futility and ineffectiveness.

Personally, I prefer a representative who reflects my values and can get things done. Hmm…sounds a lot like Graham.

Scott Singer


County Councilman District 2