I make no apologies for being a Democrat, just as others do not shy away from claiming their party affiliation. The problem for Democrats during these midterm elections is the perceived lack of excitement for their nominees. While the results will surely be close, I am optimistic that Democrats will not lose control of Congress and Haley will not be the next governor of South Carolina.

In order to change the direction and focus of a state, voters must elect a governor who will make a tangible and lasting positive impact on the state. The choice is clear for us in South Carolina. We can elect someone with the same closed-minded agenda of Sanford like Haley, or we can elect Sheheen, who has a broad vision and substantial plans to improve the state’s reputation and provide more for the next generation through education and job creation.

I am not one to vote a straight-party ticket. I am one who votes and encourages others to vote. Those who are not registered to vote but can be, and those who are registered but do not vote, have no room to complain about government services and those who are elected. Too often people say they support the military and enjoy the freedoms we have in this country, yet they do not vote, while those of us in uniform protect our way of life at home and abroad so that we can remain a free nation and participate in safe, democratic elections. How can one complain about their way of life, their elected officials at each level, and what is not working when they do not vote?

When a comparison is done on the solutions and ideas of all the statewide candidates on both sides, I believe that most of the Democratic candidates fair far better than the Republicans. The direction of our state for the next decade lies in who we elect to be our leaders this election. Now is not the time to return to business as usual and a failure in leadership. Democrats must stand up and not be afraid to put forth their agenda, ideas, and beliefs. Republicans do a good job of delivering a message and not backing down from a good fight. Regardless of which issue it is, you know where Republicans stand, even if that position is simply saying no to a Democratic one.

One of the main causes that Republicans are championing going into the midterm elections is repealing the Healthcare Reform Law. It amazes me that people say nobody supports the Healthcare Reform Law when Americans voted for President Obama in part because of his healthcare proposal. Need I mention that every candidate had a healthcare proposal and, God forbid, that a winning candidate actually makes good on issues they campaigned on?

Republicans ought to say what they would repeal. Extending healthcare to those on their parents’ insurance until age 26? Closing the donut hole that seniors face? Ending discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions? A ban on higher premiums for women? A ban on people with pre-existing conditions? A ban on lifetime limits? The problem here is that too many voters rely on one point of view and sound bites, thus they continue to vote against their self-interests.

The question we in the great state of South Carolina must address is who deserves a promotion? Vincent Sheheen or Nikki Haley? Simply put, if we vote for Sheheen purely on his detailed vision for South Carolina and his ability to work with the General Assembly, we benefit. If we go with Haley, we will have to look up to see the bottom, and we will start to move backward at a rapid pace.

Check the record, study the two gubernatorial candidates’ plans for South Carolina, and compare for yourself.