Thumbs up to S.C. Sen. Hugh K. Leatherman Sr. We’re pleased that he was re-elected late last month as the president pro tempore of the South Carolina Senate. We’re disappointed but not surprised that 16 senators – all Republicans – voted against him. That’s politics. Leatherman is conservative yet progressive. Some of his colleagues don’t think he is conservative enough. They want us to believe that Leatherman did something wrong when he stepped down as president pro tempore in order to avoid rising to the powerless position of lieutenant governor. This was after Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster succeeded Gov. Nikki Haley, who now is the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Leatherman didn’t want to give up his power in Columbia. His foes are envious of that power. People in Florence County and the rest of the Pee Dee should be pleased to have powerful representation that nearly is unprecedented. If he had not maneuvered to regain his top spot in the Senate, Leatherman would have let down constituents who voted for his re-election to a 10th term. We suspect that few of the 16 senators who voted against him would have given up the president pro tempore position if they had been in Leatherman’s position. We agree with Andy Brack. In his Statehouse Report column on this page, Brack says Leatherman has used his power wisely for the benefit of the entire state. The Senate and South Carolina citizens have benefited from Leatherman’s outstanding leadership. We look forward to more of the same.

Thumbs up to Help 4 Kids of Florence. We highlighted this local nonprofit organization’s good work in the community late last month with a six-day series. “Food Fight: Nourishing Students in Need” went into great detail about the hunger problem in Florence County schools. The series ran during Hunger Awareness Week, as declared by Help 4 Kids. We think of hunger being a problem in third-world countries. It’s heartbreaking to consider that we have such an issue so close to home. Help 4 Kids raises money and conducts food drives to lessen the problem. It works with Florence School District One staff members to send hungry children home each Friday with a bag of nutritious food for the weekend. As we reported in our series, some of these children share their food with their families. A week from today, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Help 4 Kids will conduct food drives at the Walmarts on South Irby Street and Beltline Drive in Florence. We urge our readers to support this drive.

Thumbs up to local firefighters. They had a busy week fighting brush fires. We were warned last weekend that dry, windy conditions in our region were conducive to fires spreading rapidly. It’s a shame that some careless people did not heed these warnings. Homes were threatened by some of these brush fires. Quick responses by professional and volunteer firefighters saved these homes. The next time we are warned about fire safety, let’s hope everybody gets the message and postpones setting debris on fire.

Thumbs up to the “Best Neighbor.” That comes from Florence’s Arthur R. Edwards Jr., who wrote, “I would like to thank Ms. Inez Wade for the many things she does for me. My wife is in a nursing home, and Ms. Wade is always there to hep me. She is the best neighbor I have ever had. God bless her.”

Thumbs up to Francis Marion University and its president, Fred Carter. That comes from Mollie W. Floyd of Gresham, who expresses her appreciation to “the people who anticipated a four-year college in this area and who worked tirelessly to bring it about. I had completed junior college, but because I was my family’s sole support, I could not possibly even consider driving the required distance to receive my bachelor’s degree. Having a four-year college in this area was like a dream come true, and I was grateful and proud to be one of FMU’s first graduation classes. But then I surprised even myself by continuing my dream and making time for the needed classes, and slowly but surely achieved my master’s degree. That day was very meaningful to me personally and financially. Dr. Carter has been one of the best presidents and leaders that anyone could strive for. When you see the size now of this campus, plus the educational gains, you see a true and exceptional leader. He is deserving of accolades for exceptional tenure.”

Thumbs up, thumbs down is a regular feature of the Morning News and appears each Saturday on our Opinion page. We seek nominations for both good and bad deeds from our readers. Send nominations to us by email at letters@florencenews.com. Be sure use the word “thumb” in the subject and include a contact number. Thumbs can also be mailed to us c/o The Morning News, 310 S. Dargan St., Florence, S.C., 29506.

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