Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-3rd-Laurens) used part of his back-home time from Congress to hear from and thank first responders from around his far-flung district. His stops included the MS Bailey Municipal Building in Uptown Clinton on Tuesday.

Several law enforcement officers and first responders came over from Laurens, as well. 

“I want to say thank you on behalf of the 770,000+ people I represent. You run into danger whatever that may be,” Duncan said.

Concerns he has encountered in these meetings are about drugs and carrying Narcan so officers and first responders have access to the potentially life-saving substance for when they come into contact with people using dangerous drugs. The question, Duncan said, is how to fund this when the federal government is in trillions of dollars in debt, but the states have surplus money.

He said officials also are concerned about recruiting volunteer firefighters, to the point of giving volunteer firefighters money for out of pocket expenses.

Officers are concerned about dangerous drugs, especially Fentanyl, Duncan said, and law enforcement tells him “just about everybody we come in contact with has the smell of marijuana or has marijuana on them.”

Duncan also said continuing concerns have been raised about human trafficking.

The Congressman said his Anderson and Clinton offices have a grant writer who can asset local departments in the search for grants by typing key word into the federal database.

Duncan congratulated Randy Randall on his election as Mayor of Clinton. He said this will be the first time he has been able to work with Randall as a representative to Washington, since Randall had gone to the SC Public Service Commission when Duncan was first elected to Congress. 

Asked about money for communications equipment, Duncan said he remembered as a state legislators that in 2007-08 a statewide radios network had been budgeted some state money.

He was told that $5 Million has been depleted and Laurens County has upgraded radios that now will be out-dated in 2027 when new regulations come along.

Duncan said the idea of unified communications came about after 9/11/2001 when first responders at the World Trade Center realized they couldn’t communicate on so many different systems.

“The General Assembly is working on the budget this week. Call your legislator about the House version and Senate version, to put in the money in their versions of budget. It sounds like something Washington would do - force you to do it and not give you the money. I’m not sure if there was federal money for the communications system,” Duncan said.

Clinton Police Chief Sonny Ledda communicated the group’s congratulations to Jeff and Melody Duncan on the birth of their new grandson. Duncan posted to his office’s Facebook page on March 5, “It’s so amazing and special to spend time with our first grandchild, JW, (John Waylon). My new favorite title is PaPa!”

Duncan said one of his priorities is work as a subcommittee chairmanship to concentrate on energy policy. In another post, he said, “I met with David Wright, Commissioner for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and fellow South Carolinian, last week to discuss ways to further develop nuclear energy technologies in my role as Chairman of the Energy, Climate, and Grid Security Subcommittee. Advanced nuclear can provide clean, reliable, and abundant energy across the nation, but unfortunately, the current regulatory structure has prevented new technologies from coming online. We must accelerate the regulatory process and bring advanced nuclear technologies into our energy mix.”

Clinton’s electricity is supplied by a share of the Catawba Nuclear Station, through the Piedmont Municipal Power Agency.

“America could be energy dominate again,” Duncan said. “We just need to harness those resources.”