Gubernatorial candidate is lifelong outdoorsman
By Glenn Corley
Does the name Vincent Sheheen ring a bell? No, he's not a pro bass fisherman or a guide. A Democrat, he is a state senator who is running for governor.
I first met Sen. Sheheen and his sons on a dove shoot several years ago. Then the next year I met him again at a Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus and again in February at a political function. I asked Sen. Sheheen if he would give me an interview if he won the Democratic nomination for governor -- if I promised to take him fishing on one of our Upstate lakes? He said yes; if I would take him fishing on Lake Keowee. When he was a student at Clemson, he never got to fish Lake Keowee.
Sen. Sheheen with his son, Anthony, arrived that morning at 5:30, ready to go fishing. We threw topwater plugs for bass off the points but no luck. Then we started to drop-shot with live minnows. We did not get any bass in the boat, but Sen. Sheheen and Anthony each caught a flathead catfish.
The following is from a biographical sketch from the Sheheen web-site and questions that I asked Sen. Sheheen that morning on my boat.
Vincent Sheheen was born and raised in Camden, where his family has lived for well over a century. Before his election to the state senate in 2004, Vincent served as a city prosecutor and a state representative. Now serving his second full term, he represents Chesterfield, Kershaw, and Lancaster counties.
Sheheen met his wife, Amy, while both were students at Clemson University. They married while he was in law school at the University of South Carolina. They live in Camden with their three sons, 13-year-old twins Austin and Joseph and 9-year old Anthony. Sheheen practiceses law in a small firm.
Senator Seheen is one of the founders and chairman of the South Carolina Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus.
Q: Do you hunt or fish and what are your favorite pursuits?
Sheheen: I first started fishing with my grandpa in lakes and ponds for bass and bream. I enjoy fishing for bass and catfish on Lake Wateree. As for a hunting, I consider myself wing shooter for doves, ducks, and quail. I sometimes deer hunt.
Q: What are your thoughts on Second Amendment rights?
Sheheen: I am a strong supporter on Second Amendment rights.
Q: What is your position on "right to hunt and fish?"
Sheheen: As one of the few legislative members who hunts and fishes, I am a protector and advocate of the right to hunt. This was the purpose of me being one of founders of the South Carolina Sportsmen's Caucus.
Q: What is your stance on allowing wildlife biologists to make hunting/fishing regulations based on biology, instead of politics and letting the legislature make the rules.
Sheheen: Biology and science most play an important role in setting regulations. We must deter to science and the experts to tell us what needs to be done and support what they say.
Q: Will you support the South Carolina Conservation Bank?
Sheheen: As a floor leader of the conservation bank, I am a strong supporter to work and conserve the areas that are important. We must make a priority to the areas that are preserved to open hunting and fishing.
Q: How do you propose to blend in economic development with conservation of natural resources?
Sheheen: Neither is not mutually exclusive. We must go together to attract South Carolina to businesses and living in the natural environment that God blessed us with. Agriculture is a large industry, and we can't see it all developed. Sportsman's activities, guiding, tourism, and recreation, are major economic areas of the state that must be preserved. As a senator that represents three rural communities and that has high unemployment, rural economic development must highlight and market the outdoors and opportunities for industries and economic focus around that asset.
Q: What is your position on building mega-ramps like Georgia has done to bring in more professional tournaments and increase economic development?
Sheheen: The governor appoints the board of SCDNR.I would appoint people who would make improvements and marketing of the lakes and outdoors to bring economic growth.
Q: What is your stance on the proposed legislation, but did not go pass, on raising fees on hunting/fishing licenses?
Sheheen: I support a small increase if it is dedicated to maintaining and protecting the natural resources.
Q: Will you work to seek better management of the Savannah River and Catawba Rivers and continue to pursue those rights in federal court if necessary?
Sheheen: I helped create a bi-state river commission, and I am on the board. The purpose is to work with North Carolina on how to agree on protecting the Catawba/Wateree Rivers. I will fight to protect our water resources and reach agreements with surrounding states whenever fair and possible.
Q: Will you work to find sources of funding natural resources agencies, including the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, Parks, Recreation, and Tourism, and the Forestry Commission to assure that we protect our natural heritage and preserve it for future generations.
Sheheen: Our state is having historic budget cuts. I believe that we need to dedicate a larger part of what we have to the Department of Natural Resources and wildlife officers. If we put a little bit more in, it will make a big difference.