By: AIF Staff
Charleston, SC – Last month, the American Idea Foundation facilitated two site visits in South Carolina, holding roundtable discussions with federal legislators, policy experts, and community leaders. At a tech incubator located in an Opportunity Zone and at Nurse-Family Partnership in McLeod, participants heard testimonials about how some of the policies championed during Paul Ryan’s tenure as Speaker of the House are being implemented.
Following the visits, AIF President and former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said:
“In my experience, learning from these front-line organizations and talking directly with the individuals doing the hard but amazing work in our communities is incredibly valuable as legislators look to craft more impactful public policies.
“Today’s visits provided first-hand examples of how laws like Opportunity Zones and MIECHV are making a difference in alleviating poverty, improving outcomes, and expanding economic opportunities for South Carolinians. I’m thankful for my former colleagues in Congress taking the time to see the positive effect of organizations like the Charleston Tech Center and the McLeod Nurse Family Partnership.”
A comprehensive look at these conversations and the major takeaways is available here: Lessons from the front lines of South Carolina. A recap of the local media coverage from the day’s conversations follows.
The State: Former GOP House speaker Paul Ryan to visit Charleston alongside U.S. Sen. Tim Scott
“Paul Ryan, the former Republican speaker of the House, will travel to Charleston on Friday in a visit that puts him alongside a popular GOP figure in a state known for having an outsized influence on presidential politics….
“While in Charleston, Ryan will tour the Charleston Tech Center, a newly opened tech incubator located in an Opportunity Zone, a tax program Scott introduced to help revitalize economically distressed communities.”
Read more from The State here.
The Sumter Item: ‘More than health care’: Former House Speaker Paul Ryan visits McLeod Health Clarendon to see Nurse-Family Partnership program
“Nurses in a pregnancy and motherhood program at the county’s only hospital know their work goes beyond health care, breaking barriers between provider and patient, outsider and friend. Now, their stories have reached the ears of who was once one of Congress’ top leaders.
“Children played in the next room last week as McLeod Health Clarendon’s private dining room, which had just the day before hosted a reception marking the hospital’s 70th anniversary, hosted a roundtable discussion about the Nurse-Family Partnership program. Attending were mothers, nurses, hospital executives and former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.
“Ryan said he has been involved in the war on poverty for more than a decade and that he has spent the last two years since leaving Congress and Washington, D.C., learning about evidence-based poverty-fighting solutions across the country. He founded a nonprofit to promote those solutions and inform policy….
“Four mothers took turns telling their story, their nurses by their side, to Ryan. He heard about the mother who was sick her entire pregnancy and had her texts answered late at night. He heard about the nurse who ensured her mothers were signed up for COVID-19 relief payments. And the nurse who started educating a mother’s young sister on how to care for a newborn when COVID-19 put the mom on a ventilator.
“What Ryan learned from the mothers, nurses and program and hospital leaders was why this program works. “It’s more than health care,” he said.
“The relationship the nurses build with their mothers goes beyond a check-up. They become friends. They help their mothers study for their GED and get a job. They carry their children to let them rest. And to play with the cuties, of course….
“We’re dealing with high-pressure situations, but we’re improving lives,” Miller said. Each nurse usually has at least 25 moms at a time, with 14 nurses covering McLeod Health’s seven-county reach.
“If Ryan was looking for evidence-based solutions, he came to the right place when he visited the rural hospital in Manning. As Frank Daidone, CEO of the national NFP, put it, McLeod’s program is the most efficiently run and best performing NFP in the country.”
Read more from The Sumter Item here.
Live 5 News: Sen. Scott meets with small businesses at Charleston Tech Center
“Lawmakers met with small businesses on Friday in downtown Charleston to tour the newly opened Charleston Tech Center and discuss the economic impact of opportunity zones.
“United States Senator Tim Scott and former House Speaker Paul Ryan along with US Representatives Joe Wilson and Ralph Norman met with representatives from some of the companies that call the Charleston Tech Center home.
“Ernest Andrade, Executive Director of Charleston Digital Corridor, says the $54 million building on Morrison Drive and the companies housed inside help attract and keep recent college graduates in the city.
“As a state, we were producing them [college graduates], but basically, we were a net exporter of talent to the rest of the country and we had to reverse that,” Andrade said. “We had to basically avoid that brain drain and create opportunities….”
“One of the things that we always thought about when this happened was, we didn’t want this to be a regentrification machine,” Ryan said. “We want it to be about revitalization about bringing capital into these communities to revitalize those communities meaning to revitalize the people in those communities.”
Former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said he had worked on similar programs in the past and felt that private investment into communities was one of the best ways to fight poverty.
Read more from Live 5 News here.
WCBD News 2: U.S. Sen. Tim Scott tours Charleston Tech Center as part of ‘opportunity zone’ legislation
Lawmakers from across the state were in the downtown Charleston on Friday to hear from small businesses about how opportunity zones are helping to revitalize part of the Lowcountry.
The Charleston Tech Center, which opened this year, is part of U.S. Senator Tim Scott’s ‘Opportunity Zones’ legislation, which is designed to bring money into impoverished areas and help turn things around.
Sen. Scott hosted former Speaker Paul Ryan along with US Representative Joe Wilson (2nd District), US Representative Ralph Norman (5th District), and staff from U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham’s office during a trip to the tech center Friday afternoon….
Former House Speaker Paul Ryan said he worked with Congressman and later Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Jack Kemp, many years ago on similar enterprise zones without much legislative success.
“I think the big benefit of Senator Scott‘s legislation is it’s brought tens of billions of dollars of capital into the poorest communities of America. That’s money that would’ve never come otherwise. It’s also brought in the private sector and the public sector to focus on getting people out of poverty, getting revitalized in these poor communities. So, this is an idea a lot of people fought for a long time. Tim Scott actually got it done…”
Sen. Scott says they have seen less than 5% of gentrification in the opportunity zones. He believes this is proof the plan is working.
“This has to be a win-win; a win for investors, a win for citizens, and a win for America and so far, so good,” he said.
Read more from WCBD News 2 here.
ABC News4: Top lawmakers touring Charleston Tech Center Friday
“Some of the area’s top lawmakers are gathering in Charleston on Friday for a tour of the Charleston Tech Center….
“This is the first office project to be completed as a federally designated Opportunity Zone, which was part of bipartisan legislation led by Sen. Scott. The Charleston Tech Center is part of the city’s Digital Corridor, which looks to enhance the region’s tech economy by attracting these types of businesses to the Holy City.
“The 92,000-square-foot building features its own garage and currently hosts nearly three dozen tech and tech-related companies. $54 million in capital went into the project, potentially creating upwards of 400 jobs.”
Read more from ABC News 4 here.
The Sumter Item: Paul Ryan visits McLeod Health Clarendon
“Since former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has left Washington, he founded the American Idea Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes poverty-fighting programs and policy to help Americans achieve their idea of the American Dream.
“To further those efforts, he visited McLeod Health Clarendon on Friday to learn about the Manning hospital’s Nurse Family Partnership program.
“The program connects expectant, first-time mothers with a nurse, who helps guide them through the physical, financial and emotional journeys that come with pregnancy and motherhood, and they stay with the mother until their child turns 2.” Read more from The Sumter Item here.