It took some time, but Jim Clyburn’s Rural Energy Savings Program (RESP) became the law of the land in 2014. RESP allows the nation’s Rural Electric Cooperatives to make loans to their members to increase the energy efficiency of their homes.
Although new to the country, this program is not new to South Carolina. Several years earlier South Carolina’s rural electric co-ops determined that many of their members could realize tremendous savings on their utility bills by retrofitting their homes. A pilot program proved such to be the case.
It occurred to Congressman Clyburn that this South Carolina innovation should be codified so it could be broaden in the State and exported throughout the nation. The customers repay the loans on their monthly utility bills, and most of them realize significant monthly savings.
Jim is working to expand RESP and develop a similar program to make broadband more available in rural communities throughout the country.
Jim Clyburn’s bill creating the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor became law in 1996. Four years later, he proposed the Gullah-Geechee Heritage Corridor and was told that South Carolina was too small to have two Heritage Corridors, but he did not let that attitude deter him.
It took six years, but his Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor bill became law in 2006. In 2016, the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Commission, which manages the Corridor in partnership with the National Park Service, was reauthorized for five more years.
Jim is developing a third Heritage Corridor in South Carolina to highlight Revolutionary and Civil War sites. Tourism is South Carolina’s number one industry and heritage tourism is the tourism industry’s leading economic engine.
Congressman Clyburn is working to make sure South Carolina gets its fair share of the tourism economy.
Jim’s 10-20-30 plan directs at least 10 percent of appropriated funds to communities where 20 percent or more of their populations have lived below the poverty level for the last 30 years. He successfully got i10-20-30 inserted into four agricultural accounts of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
ARRA expired in 2010, but Jim Clyburn continued his pursuit of the concept, and 10-20-30 has begun receiving broad bi-partisan support. The Republican Speaker of the House and the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee have inserted 10-20-30 into 12 funding accounts – 9 Agricultural accounts, 1 Commerce, Justice, 1 Interior, Environment, and 1 Financial Services and General Government – of the 2017 Appropriations Bill.
10-20-30 is helpful to predominately Hispanic communities in states like Arizona and New Mexico; Native American communities in states like South Dakota and Alaska; White communities in states like Kentucky and West Virginia; and Black, White and Hispanic communities throughout South Carolina. It is an efficient and effective way to assist citizens and communities along the I – 95 Corridor, and throughout South Carolina; and It removes partisan political decision making from the funding process.
Jim is working hard to make 10-20-30 permanent law and more broadly applied.