The Greenville County Republican Women’s Club had a luncheon meeting with a theme Women in Politics, Aug. 26, and heard from state Rep. Wendy Nanney, Ashley Landess, president of the South Carolina Policy Council, and Lisa Van Riper, an instructor in political science at North Greenville University.

Pam Sowell, GCRWC program director, introduced the speakers. Lisa Seman, executive director of Meals on Wheels in Greenville, who represents the 24th district on County Council, led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Wendy Nanney

Wendy Nanney, who is in her first term representing the 22nd district, spoke on balancing family life with career. Her husband, Tim, is Greenville County Register Of Deeds, and they have five children.

When Nanney considered running for the State House in 2008, the family prayed about it and discussed it for many months. She talked to her parents and her husband’s parents, both of whom live within a mile of the Nanneys, knowing that she would need to call on them for assistance if she was elected.

Nanney made a commitment to her husband and children that she would drive home from Columbia every night if possible, and the only night she did not do so was when the Assembly was in session until 4 a.m. and returned into session at 10. Nanney said she sought office to make the state a better place for families.

The General Assembly is in session Tuesday through Thursday, and Nanney works on Mondays and Fridays as a credit manager for a company in Powdersville. When in session, she gets up, gets her children off to school, drives to Columbia, comes home every night, tries to cook supper and get things done. She said the men she serves with often laugh because about the time school gets out her cell phone starts ringing: “Mom, I forgot my gym clothes or my cleats for soccer,” and she replies: “Kids, I’m in Columbia. I really can’t bring your soccer cleats to school.”

Nanney calls each child during the 90 minute commute from Columbia so when she arrives home, they can have dinner and do homework, and she is not confronted with challenges the children faced at school that day.

Nanney was pleased that the General Assembly passed and the governor signed a bill requiring a 24 hour waiting period for women seeking abortions. She encourages constituents not to sign on to lengthy e-mail blasts because after the first five or 10 they are not read. She advised writing one or two sentences and to make it personal. “Those are the e-mails that get read,” she said.

Ashley Landess

Ashley Landess told the GCRWC members and guests: “You shouldn’t have to be as engaged, as involved, in politics as you are,” explaining that the power to defend freedom and to communicate values ought to lie more with you individually than with politicians.

Landess noted that the South Carolina legislature meets more than five months each year, which is one of the longest legislative sessions in the country. The legislature controls more than 400 appointments to the executive branch, and about 140 of those appointments are controlled by four legislators, none of whom are voted for in Greenville. They are Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell of Charleston; Sen. Hugh Leatherman, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, from Florence; House Speaker Bobby Harrell of Charleston; and Dan Cooper, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, from Piedmont.

“Why are we not seeing the tax cuts we have asked for? Why isn’t transparency a reality?” she asked, noting that in the current session, 75 percent of votes were off the record in the 2010 session.

For more information on the South Carolina Policy Council and its research on the South Carolina government, visit these web sites: and

Lisa Van Riper

Jamie Bach, GCRWC first vice president, introduced her mother, Lisa Van Riper, an instructor at North Greenville University, president of South Carolina Citizens for Life, and frequent guest on Tony Beam’s “Christian Worldview Today” radio program on Christian Talk 660.

“I believe our country is crying out today for leadership based on principle, for leadership that is focused and does a few things well,” Van Riper said.

Women traditionally get involved in politics because of issues, not power, she said. “Women get involved in politics because they are passionate about doing something about a problem they see.”

Van Riper referred to Thomas Jefferson, who said we cannot be both ignorant and free, and Proverbs 1:32: The waywardness of the complacent shall lead to your destruction, and the ignorance of the fool will kill him.

Ignorance, complacency and apathy are not good words, she said. They are not good words in our personal lives, and they are not good words in our republic.

“Our government is in trouble because our culture is in trouble. Our government is growing because the social fabric of this country is coming unglued. You cannot take out the rule of law, the respect for life and the institution of marriage and expect society to sustain itself – even Aristotle knew that.”


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