Senator Ronnie W. Cromer —Republican (District 18-Lexington, Newberry, and Union Counties)
Chair – Senate Banking and Insurance CommitteeChair – Senate Higher Education Budget Subcommittee
Senate Committee Assignments:
Banking and Insurance (Chair), Finance, Fish, Game and Forestry, Rules
1973 graduate of The University of South Carolina
Pharmacist – Cromer Medical Services/LoRex Drugs (Newberry)
We are honored to feature S.C. Senator Ronnie Cromer in this month’s SCICU Legislative Spotlight. We asked Sen. Cromer eight questions about himself, his career, and the role higher education played in it.
1. How did attending college prepare you for your successful career?
The old adage of “College is 10% knowledge and 90% confidence” is pretty much true. I do believe you learn more than 10% through your studies in college but I also believe that a college education puts you on an equal level with all your peers and instills in you the confidence that you need in dealing with people on a day-to-day basis to become successful.
2. Do you have a particular professor or class that made an impression on you? If so, how?
One of the professors I remember most is Dr. Carl Baugess. Dr. Baugess was one of my pharmacy professors at The University of South Carolina who was very hard in the classroom but was also very fair in his dealings with his students. I can remember that I had to drop out of school for almost two years to join the U.S. Army Reserves (during the Vietnam war) and go off to basic and Advanced Individual Training. When I came back to Carolina, Dr. Baugess got several of my professors together along with the Pharmacy School Dean so that we could plan out my course schedule for the next year and a half to allow me to graduate. I can truthfully say had it not been for Dr. Baugess, my graduation would have been extended.
3. Why did you decide to become a state legislator?
In South Carolina, we take a course in the third grade called South Carolina State History. Most of those classes include a field trip to the S.C. State House as mine also did. I can remember sitting in the balcony of the State House and thinking how one day I would love to be a State Representative or State Senator working on the floor of the State House. It took me quite a few years to build a business and to raise a family before having the opportunity to run for an office. I ran an unsuccessful campaign for the House in 1998 but was successful for the State Senate in 2003 thus fulfilling a dream I had in the third grade.
4. Of what achievement in the S.C. Senate are you most proud?
I am one who does not dwell on personal achievements but I can say that achievements we (and I say we because I have never been able to do it all alone) have been able to make in helping others is what I am most proud of. If it was the day we were able to help the brother of a deceased sister obtain parental rights on his twin one year old nephews, or the day we were able to navigate state agencies to help a widow be able to negotiate down a tax lien on her home, or to help in repairing someone’s road, then all those issues we were able to resolve is what made me proud of our achievements.
5. Why do you consider it important to support students attending SCICU member institutions?
Not all students wish to get a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree. Some want to learn a trade such as underwater welding or draft design or computer programming which they can do locally at one of our community colleges and be able to do it while they work and also avoid the high costs of housing.
6. Why are SCICU member institutions important to the future of South Carolina?
SCICU member institutions are very important to the economic welfare of the State of South Carolina because so many of our new businesses and industries require new and evolving technologies which local community colleges can adapt into their curriculum in a very timely manner and in some cases the ability to train a new work force can mean the difference in a business or industry locating in a particular community.
7. You’ve been a successful pharmacist, but if you could pick another job, what would it be?
I am not sure I would want to change vocations but if I could, it probably would be something in the aviation field since I am a private pilot. One other possibility would be as an attorney since I have enjoyed working on and passing different legislation.
8. What advice do you have for students attending SCICU member institutions?
If you are attending a SCICU member institution, I would encourage you to not take only the courses required for graduation but take some other courses which interest you because I can tell you that I have made some interesting moves in my career. Not only am I a pharmacist but I also have been serving in the Senate for twenty years. I used my degree to get a direct commission in the military and served for 30 years in the military. I am a boat captain and love going from Edisto Beach to the Bahamas by water in my boat. I am a licensed private pilot and enjoy flying to different locations. I also enjoy doing my own carpentry work, my own electrical work (small jobs) and my own plumbing. So you see, you can never take too many courses because over a lifetime you will probably use all of those course skills.