Military leaders share concerns and successes of past year with SC Governor
COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — Military jobs represent 1 in 12 of total jobs here in South Carolina according to the state’s Department of Veterans Affairs.
Thursday, the department’s secretary along with members of all branches of the military from bases across the state sat down with Governor Henry McMaster to voice the current state of operations and voice any concerns at the annual Governor’s Commander Briefing.
“This is a military state. A lot of our people are military people,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “We have a lot of retirees as well as eight major bases. They’re growing and they’re going to be here a long, long time.”
One of the bases is here in Columbia. While improvements to infrastructure are going on at Fort Jackson, the South Carolina Department of Veterans Affairs secretary says there are quality of life concerns for military members. One of those being affordable housing.
“I think it’s very immediate. We have rising housing costs. Although pay increases happen, they only happen once a year,” said SCDVA secretary Will Grimsley. “Housing prices go up, pay stays the same and availability shrinks because there’s competition for housing. I think it’s very important. 54 other locations in the United States got a temporary bump by the Department of Defense. That’s great for them. We believe there’s several communities in South Carolina that needs that as well.”
Another one of his concerns, better educational opportunities for military members and their families, is also shared by the governor.
“When the military people are moving into the state and are being assigned to a particular location, we need to have the highest quality of education there,” McMaster said.
However, both the governor and secretary believe the overall future is bright for the state’s bases despite the toll the pandemic took on funding.
“Just the continued emphasis that the state puts on service members, veterans and their family members is a huge part of why South Carolina is such an attractive place to live and work,” Grimsley said. “We’re a very military friendly state and people love being here.”