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Politics: Litchfield man awaits district as he plans run for Congress

By Jackie R. Broach
Coastal Observer

U.S. Rep. Tim Scott is barely 100 days into his first session, but depending on where new district lines are drawn this year, he might already have a challenger lined up for the 2012 Republican primary.

Jim Mader, 53, who lives on the creek in Litchfield and owns a landscaping management company, said he’s been part of the “silent majority” for years.

But he recently decided it’s time to make some noise and a congressional run seemed like a good way to do it.

“I don’t know what else to do,” Mader said. “I’ve been watching what’s going on in this country and it’s scary. It’s very scary and it seems like nobody’s doing anything about it, so it’s just getting worse.”

Mader said he doesn’t know much about Scott beyond his background as a Charleston County Council member, and he hasn’t kept track of what Scott has done.

“All I know is the Charleston market is different from the Georgetown County-Horry County market, and that’s the area I want to represent,” Mader said.

He won’t be deterred from a political run, even if he has to take on a popular incumbent in the primary. But he might also end up running in a new congressional district that must be created following the 2010 census. The district may include Horry and part of Georgetown counties.

This isn’t the first time Mader has considered a run for office.

“When I was 6, I wanted to be president,” he said. “But then in high school and college I saw what you had to do to be a politician and I didn’t like it. I still don’t like it.”

So, he’ll be a different kind of politician.

“I’m honest,” he said. “I can’t tell you I’m 100 percent honest, because everybody tells white lies, but I believe in saying what you mean and meaning what you say. I don’t have a lot of flowery words, but I’ll be honest and reliable.”

The main issues Mader thinks need to be addressed are government spending, education and health care.

“Those are the three things that affect me the most,” he said.

While talk about spending seems to focus on a balanced budget, “that’s just one aspect of it. We also need to be limiting how much we can spend,” he said. He recommends setting limits based on a percentage of the gross domestic product.

“That’s a way to set a limit on how much they can tax us, and what we need is really a limit on taxes,” he said.

One suggestion Mader has to improve the education system is a curriculum with more emphasis on practical life skills — things like how to manage a checking account and use credit.

“A lot of people complain about kids coming out of school $100,000 or $200,000 in debt,” he said. Part of the reason for that is that students going into college have “no idea how long it will take to pay something off. We’re not teaching them what they need to know”

While he’s not saying the skills kids learn in school to prepare for standardized tests are unimportant, they need more practical lessons too. “They need to know how to survive in the real world,” he said.

In the health care debate, Mader said there’s too much focus on preventive care and not enough on catastrophic health coverage, which helps pay for major hospital and medical expenses.

“If you get diagnosed, that’s where your problems come in. It’s not with just going to the doctor,” he said.

He also favors health spending accounts and thinks the balances should carry over from year to year.

Additionally, Mader wants the payment structure for members of Congress to be reworked. Salary should be based on performance, he said.

Under the system he proposes, ratings would be determined using factors such as whether the budget is balanced, the national unemployment rate and likability.

Mader welcomes questions from voters at newbeginningsLM@gmail.com.

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