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Red Bank businessman running against incumbent for seat in SC House of Representatives District 96

Red Bank, SC 04/24/2024 (Paul Kirby) – Red Bank businessman Mike Sturkie is running against Incumbent Representative Ryan McCabe to represent the people of SC State House District 96 beginning next year. Sturkie, who lives on Old Orangeburg Road, has been married to Kathy for 42 years. They’ve lived in the same place and had the same phone number all those years. The couple have 3 children and 9 grandchildren. Their grandchildren range from 3-years-old to a freshman in college.  

 

Sturkie’s family dates back in Lexington County’s history to 1835. That’s when his great, great, Grandfather Augustas “Gus” Sturkie came to the Swansea area of the county. “Gus Sturkie Road was named after him and it’s still there to this day,” he stated.

 

Although Sturkie’s parents were Holiness missionaries to South Africa most of their lives, he has not followed in his father’s footsteps. Instead, he has made his living in development. He started as a home builder before establishing himself as a contractor that puts in the infrastructure for projects such as banks, restaurants, and shopping centers. He has also installed and prepared the ground to build subdivisions by installing all the infrastructure. This includes both the water and sewer as well as the curbs, gutters, sidewalks, and asphalt roadways where homes would be built. He now spends much of his time working at his construction and demolition debris landfill and recycling business that takes waste wood and concrete and grinds it into useful materials like mulch and stone for driveways and other projects.

 

Recently during an interview Sturkie said, “I’m blessed in the fact that I am semi-retired now. Some of my children and their spouses work in my business and it’s freed up more time for me to offer myself for public service. I feel like I have a great deal of time to offer my friends and neighbors by running for office.”

 

Sturkie is no newcomer to politics and has followed it closely for years. He has run for several offices before but has always fallen a little short of prevailing in a race. Several years ago, he ran against Representative R.J. May for SC House District 88 when Mac Toole retired. He did well enough to go to a runoff in that election before May edged him out. He recently ended up being moved to House 96 during the last mandatory reapportionment. Now, he says with the changes in his life, he feels he’s ready to challenge an incumbent again and decided that the House was where he could do the best for the most people.

 

Sturkie says he is a Christian who is 100% pro-life and believes in the rights of the unborn child. He is also a supporter of the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution. “I believe people have a right to carry a weapon and defend themselves,” he stated recently. “I am a little uneasy about how far our state has taken this over the last few years. I am not against concealed carry or open carry,” he continued. “What does concern me is Constitutional Carry which requires no training at all to buy or openly carry a gun. That means that a young person who’s just turned 21 today can go to a gun store and buy any type of gun that’s legal. Unless the store’s clerk spends the time to show them how to handle it, they might not even know how to load it. The same could be said for an older person who’s suddenly living alone and wants a gun for home protection. They at least need to know how to click the safety on and off and chamber and eject a live round. To me, a little training is just common sense.”

 

Where Sturkie has the most experience is in roads and bridges. He advocates for more State Transport Police Officers that get out and get tough on overloaded trucks. He feels that if zones marked as no truck routes were enforced, the roads in front of many of the homes in District 96 would last longer. “The road I live on is a perfect example he said. They resurfaced it a number of years ago for passenger vehicles. Then 80,000 lbs. + dump trucks began using it as a cut through to the Edmund Landfill. In no time, the road was falling apart. If the Transport Police forced the heavy trucks to stay on South Lake Drive, Platt Sprigs Road, or Edmund Highway, roads that were constructed to carry that weight, Old Orangeburg Road wouldn’t be in the condition it’s in.”

He also feels as if congested roads could be eased by everyone coming to the table and talking about the traffic issues. He explained that he meant local, state, and federal government officials and some of their smaller departments depending on what they are discussing. Some he suggested included the fire service, EMS, public works, and law enforcement. He feels there is power in numbers and advocates for things like new interchanges off I-20. “I’d like to see 4 new interchanges off I-20 between the Saluda River and Exit 44. One at Mineral Springs Road, another at Cedarcrest, another at Two Notch Road, and a final one at Calks Ferry Road. This would allow the people who live around Lexington, even out toward Gilbert, Boiling Springs, and Pelion to bypass downtown Lexington. This would be so helpful to the people in the town because all that traffic that exits I-20 at Sunset Boulevard, Augusta Road, South Lake Drive, and Longs Pond Road wouldn’t have to all funnel into a huge traffic jam in Lexington,” he stated. “If we all worked together, it seems like we could impact this in some way.”

 

Sturkie likes some of the ideas that Lexington County Council has implemented to slow congestion in the county by changing certain areas to be zoned for less housing density. “They are on the right track with some of that. You can’t just keep packing homes in these little subdivisions in very congested areas. You don’t have the infrastructure for it, and you can’t improve that quickly. The school district says one of these subdivisions that has 500 or 600 homes amounts to a new elementary school. We are getting to the point where we just can’t afford to build all the schools they say we need.”  He also said that the problem of the need for new schools might be solved by the way that Lexington County approves subdivisions. “Let them build in areas where schools have extra capacity and pump the brakes on developing neighborhoods where the schools are at or over capacity. That way you better utilize school capacities and slow down the need to build so many.”

 

When talking about education, Sturkie has some ideas that are certainly different than other politicians have proposed. “I think we ought to consolidate the school districts into perhaps 2 or 3 or whatever the experts say we need. We currently have 5 in Lexington County. Then split the leadership of these into 2 distinct boards each. One board would oversee the teachers, the curriculum, attendance, and other services related directly to the students every day. The other side of the board would be all about the new buildings, existing buildings, maintenance and capital projects, and these types of expenditures. On each board, the members would be experts on the task assigned to that board. “It’s like going to see a doctor,” Sturkie said. “You go to one doctor for your back, a different one for your sinuses, another for your stomach, and so on. Each has their own specialty. Right now, a school board has these members that have a lot of experience in educating children, but no one who has a healthy knowledge of commercial construction. That’s a lot of responsibility on a board member who’s a retired principal let’s say. We’ve seen what I consider some issues with Lexington One schools because of these types of things.”

 

Sturkie also believes that school district attendance lines ought to be adjusted more often. “There are schools in Lexington County District One that are nowhere near capacity. Then down the road, there will be another school of the same grades that’s at capacity or near it. Whether it’s popular or not, the attendance lines need to be adjusted to more evenly utilize the space in these schools,” Sturkie stated.  

 

Sturkie said he didn’t know the incumbent well but because he is a member of the SC Freedom Caucus, he sees a problem with his and the other caucus members right away. “They are anti-business,” Sturkie said of the caucuses’ members. They don’t believe the state should be spending any money on +economic incentives to bring new industry to the state. We need those new jobs to keep bringing in new taxpayers.” He also believes that they have no ability to compromise. “If they don’t get everything they want, their answer is to say no, no, no to everything. I’m a person that believes that if I can get 7 tenths of what I want, it’s a win.  

 

Sturkie said in closing, he believes in “effective change through positive ideas.” As your House member, I won’t go to Columbia to bury my head in the sand and simply say no all the time. I’ll work with the rest of the legislature to bring about the effective changes we desperately need.”

 

To reach and talk with Mike Sturkie, call him on his phone at (803) 513-8899, email him at mcsturkie@yahoo.com, read more about he and his family on his webpage at https://sturkieforhouse.com/, or follow him on social media.

 



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