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State lawmakers respond to Governor McMaster's speech

In his State of the State Address, McMaster praised South Carolina's economy but did not discuss COVID-19 cases or vaccines.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — In his State of the State Address, Governor McMaster discussed the challenges South Carolina faced this past year as well as its accomplishments.

"In April, our unemployment rate was 12.4%. But, today, it is 4.4% - the lowest in the southeast and the 7th lowest in the nation," McMaster said.

Lawmakers came to the State House Wednesday night to watch the speech in person, but many Democrats were noticeably absent.

"I am there when it’s necessary to do the people’s work but tonight it was safer for me to be home," said Representative Wendy Brawley over Zoom. "And I’m glad I was able to watch and be a part of the process without exposing myself further. Just today, there was a covid diagnosis at the State House."

Several Democratic Representatives watched from home and none of the Democratic Senators attended. 

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Brawley said she wishes Governor McMaster spoke more on the spread of COVID-19 in South Carolina.

"I just don’t support the idea that we should ignore where we stand with our positivity in Covid spread in community and start sending kids to school five days a week," she added.

But Representative Rita Allison said she thought the speech went great.

"I thought he covered a lot of areas that are tremendously important to South Carolina. Education, he also talked about the pandemic and how we’re going to handle it, how students need to get back in school five days a week. We’re leaving some behind and we don’t want to do that. We want to support parents and teachers," Allison said.

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She added that she felt safe while attending the Address but understands some needed to watch from home.

The Governor discussed South Carolina’s economy and several other issues but didn’t address COVID-19 cases or vaccines.