Thumbs up to S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley and S.C. Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster. Haley has been appointed by President-elect Donald Trump as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. McMaster will ascend to governor, the job he has always wanted. It’s a win-win proposition, pending approval by the U.S. Senate. Haley has aspired to a national role and is getting it in a cabinet-level position. No telling what kind of springboard this could be for her future in Washington. The move is surprising, given her strong opposition to Trump before the South Carolina primary and Republican National Convention. She has been an exceptional economic ambassador for South Carolina, but the daughter of Indian immigrants lacks experience in foreign policy and diplomacy. She led the state well after a Charleston church massacre, the so-called Thousand-Year Flood and Hurricane Matthew. She also clashed with the General Assembly in general and S.C. Sen. Hugh K. Leatherman of Florence in particular. We still haven’t forgiven her for calling him out while speaking at a Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce luncheon. She endorsed one of his opponents in a bitter primary race. We believe the easygoing McMaster will work well with our legislators. Now maybe a much-needed gas-tax increase without strings attached will stand a chance so South Carolina can fix its crumbling roads. As the nation’s first statewide official to endorse Trump, McMaster was being mentioned for a possible role in Washington. That could have opened the door for Leatherman to ascend to governor, which would have presented a dilemma. He’s more powerful as the president pro tempore of the Senate and the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. He certainly is more powerful than the lieutenant governor, a largely ceremonial position, which is why he is expected to step down as president pro tempore to avoid that “promotion.” McMaster endorsed Leatherman before the Republican primary. We look forward to a solid relationship between the two for the good of South Carolina.
Thumbs up to Florence School District One for its success in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. After months of work, the district is now home to two STEM-certified schools: Southside Middle School and West Florence High School. In September, Southside earned AdvancED STEM certification; West Florence received certification in early November. This is a big deal that was worth celebrating Monday. The two schools join a small group worldwide that has received the certification. According to Florence One, Southside is the 51st school and West Florence is the 52nd school to receive it. When “some outsiders come in and say you are doing this about as well as anyone in the world, that is pretty powerful,” Florence One Superintendent Randy Bridges said at the celebration. He’s understandably proud. We are impressed.
Thumbs up to volunteers. We have been spotlighting them this week in a third-annual “Helping Hands” series. To make an impact in the community, nonprofits need volunteers. We hope that holding up a few as good examples might inspire others to follow their lead. The volunteers we have been spotlighting represent a vast demographic of ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things. These are the kind of people who make Florence a better place to live. We give thanks to those who give back.
Thumbs up to small businesses. Today is Small Business Saturday. We’ll echo what we said a week ago. Small businesses are the backbone of our community. We should support them not only today but every day. Please shop local during this holiday season. Local businesses employ family, friends and neighbors. When they thrive, they often create more jobs. When you help businesses that are locally owned, you’re helping other people who are invested in our community.
Thumbs up to football. Congratulations to the high school teams in our region who advanced in the state playoffs with victories Friday night. The annual college game of the year will be played tonight when No. 4 Clemson plays host to South Carolina. The Tigers will try to stay in contention for a second consecutive berth in the four-team playoffs. They fell one victory short of a national championship last season. South Carolina struggled early in its first season under Coach Will Muschamp but has come on strong to become bowl eligible. These are good times at Clemson. Better days are ahead for South Carolina. We’re not taking sides in this heated rivalry. We merely hope that fans will be civil toward each other after the game and in the year ahead.
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 email@example.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.