Henry Ingram wants people to know he's not happy with South Carolina's schools.
The video-gambling operator recently posted a billboard along U.S. Route 17 in Jasper County that reads: "Gov. David Beeslay welkums you too South Carolina. We be gots de wurstest skools in de United State. We bees numbuh 50th."
"I did it to expose Beasley," Mr. Ingram said, referring to Republican Gov. David Beasley, who is up for re-election this year. "Our children are at the dead bottom in education, and our only salvation would be if Puerto Rico becomes the 51st state."
The state recently earned a last-place ranking for student performance on the SAT, which has Mr. Ingram concerned for his young grandchildren.
Education has become a big issue in the governor's campaign against Democratic challenger Jim Hodges. "Hodges will get us out from the bottom of education," Mr. Ingram said. "Beasley has had four years--I say give Hodges a chance."
Mr. Ingram, who owns video-gambling parlors, a restaurant, and several convenience stores in the state, has spent $4,000 dollars on the 14-by-42-foot billboard. He also plans to tour the state with a portable sign he will pull behind his truck until the Nov. 3 election.
Thanks to the resignation of one Republican member, the GOP composition of the Illinois state school board is just right, state Attorney General Jim Ryan says.
Board member Harry Litchfield stepped down last month after Democratic state Sen. Vince T. Demuzio asked the attorney general's office to determine whether--with six Republican members--the board was violating a state law mandating that no more than five of its nine members belong to the same political party. ("Partisan head count," Sept. 30, 1998.)
Mr. Ryan's office said the resignation brought the board into compliance. But any gubernatorial appointee named to fill the vacancy must comply with partisan requirements, the attorney general--and Republican candidate for governor--found.
--ADRIENNE D. COLES & JESSICA L. SANDHAM
Vol. 18, Issue 6, Page 16