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When government works for the people

posted Jan 25, 2018, 6:20 AM by Oconee Democratic Party

Posted on January 23, 2018, The Journal, Seneca, SC


Justin Lee Campbell’s article on the Jan. 1 “First Day Hikes” at our local state parks sent me down memory lane and reminded me what is possible when the government works for the people. At these hikes, park rangers talked about the role of U.S. government Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps, which “put people to work while building and improving park systems” during the Great Depression. The CCC camps were Democratic policies created under FDR that put money in people’s pockets, helping to stabilize the economy and ultimately stopping the country’s downward spiral. My late uncle was one of these proud, hardworking but poor CCC cadets who were provided shelter, training and three square meals each day and nominal pay, most of which was sent home. In South Carolina alone, the CCC built 16 state parks still in use today. CCC camps also planted trees, laid telephone lines, built bridges, fought fires, constructed lookout towers and built roads. These young men used the skills they gained to lead productive, successful lives.

Having grown up and lived most of my life in Seneca, I have spent many a day at Oconee State Park and on hiking trails throughout local national forests and wilderness areas. Oconee State Park’s beautiful rock and log shelters, cabins, buildings and the dam and lake stand as a legacy to the CCC, a successful Democratic initiative. When I look at what makes America great, I think of our legacy of state and national forests and parks. I cringe today when the current administration is moving to sell off public lands, reduce the size of national monuments and make entrance fees unaffordable for average families. Preserving these as public lands and keeping them accessible IS our heritage!

With today’s critical infrastructure needs, we would do well to have bipartisan consideration of the Democratic blueprint to fund infrastructure projects in our communities that will create jobs and generate economic benefits that will pour — rather than “trickle” — down.

Jody Guy Gaulin