Originally created 07/24/99

Capital travel plan to go to Aiken soon



AIKEN -- The date's not set yet, but Aiken will be the state capital for a day sometime in the next few months.

Gov. Jim Hodges is launching his initiative to bring government closer to the people it serves with a full slate of activities Wednesday in Charleston.

Keynote of the day is a meeting of the full state Cabinet, after which citizens will be able to meet the governor and other top officials and get face-to-face assistance with their concerns.

"After more than 200 years the state capital is coming back to Charleston," Mr. Hodges said. "In the coming months and years I want to bring state government to every region of South Carolina."

Among the cities already identified to visit are Aiken, Greenville, Greenwood, Hartsville and Lancaster, Hodges representative Nina Brook said Friday.

A more definite schedule could be available as early as next week.

It's already known, however, that the same basic format will be used in all of the areas, and it will give them each a chance to show off their best eateries and tourist attractions while hosting the governor and his Cabinet directors.

In Charleston, in addition to working and meeting the public, they'll be eating with Mayor Joseph P. Riley at a King Street diner and visiting one of Charleston's newest attractions, the South Carolina Aquarium.

The governor is starting in Charleston because he already had plans to be there all week and to set up a base of operations to work from there during that time, she said.

"The governor is committed to making government more accessible to the people, and this is one approach to doing that," said Ms. Brook. "He strongly feels that the people need state services, they benefit from state services, and this is a step toward making services more accessible."

Margaret N. O'Shea covers the city of Aiken for The Augusta Chronicle. She can be reached at (803) 279-6895 or scbureau@augustachronicle.com.