Dr. Oran Smith

South Carolina’s Tom Roe is Smiling

September 15, 2017

Dr. Oran Smith

I truly believe that looking down on us from heaven right now, Tom Roe is smiling.

Tom Anderson Roe Jr. (1927-2000)–Greenville native, Furman graduate, and successful businessman (remember Builders Marts of America?)–was the founder of the state-based policy movement. He is the father of not only several state policy councils but of the national “trade association” of those groups known as the State Policy Network (SPN).

I recently had the pleasure of attending SPN’s 25th Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas. What a significant organization and powerful event.

There were scores of panels and breakout sessions to attend, including Palmetto Promise Institute’s own Elisabeth Kines’s outstanding presentation at “Events: The Good, the Bad and The Ugly.”

The policy areas covered were, not unsurprisingly, centered around the vision that Mr. Roe gave them, freedom: school freedom, occupational freedom, religious freedom, healthcare freedom, tax freedom and even freeing our nation from opioid addiction.

Many of the organizations presenting at the conference are those with whom we are proud to have a solid track record of cooperation: the SC Policy Council, the Foundation for Government Accountability, the American Enterprise Institute, EdChoice, Excel in Ed, the Institute for Humane Studies, Mercatus, ACU, National School Choice Week, and the Tax Foundation just to name a few. Their individual organizations – and the collective idea-sharing facilitated by the SPN network – strengthens our work on policy solutions that serve the people of South Carolina and the cause of freedom.

The theme of SPN’s 25th Annual Meeting was “built for such a time as this” and this mighty freedom network is proving that true every day.

In South Carolina, we have a unique pride in who did that building. May all of our efforts reflect Tom Roe’s winsome character and boundless vision.