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Monday, September 30, 2013

Constitutional Literacy Course Offered


Let's all get better in learning how to enforce our leaders' to preserve, protect and defend our U.S. Constitution.
"This is for OUR AMERICAN LIBERTY! I'm excited for this opportunity. This is low key, interactive, and will be fun! I look forward to seeing you." 
~ Michelle Wiles, 2nd Vice Chair Pickens County Republican Party

October 1, 2013 6:30PM
104 W 6th Ave.
Easley, SC 29640

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The New Schools Will Make Things Better?

When the new school building plan in Pickens County was approved (despite a two to one referendum against it) we were promised a few things …

"There will be better morale at the schools."

"The new facilities will afford children better test results because of better resources."

"The new schools will boost the County's tax base by attracting employers."

Two full years into the completed building plan in Pickens County, here's what we have:
Test scores excluding Daniel, Edwards Middle, and Clemson Elementary are for the most part flat or down at all the other schools. Some schools have seen only marginal improvements. 
We must also factor in something else when considering Daniel - a select few students perform perfectly or close to perfectly on tests. This, in turn, also skews Daniel's results <--- or any other school's results for that matter. 
Proof of lackluster Daniel performance can be gained from athlete's college acceptance. Athletes from Daniel have failed to qualify for college. 
Daniel (and the Clemson area schools) were performing exceptional in comparison to the rest of the Pickens County School District BEFORE the new buildings. 
In 2013, Pickens County students remained above the state average, but fell below the national average overall. 
The average score for Pickens County was 1483 compared with 1423 for the state. The average score for Pickens County in 2012 was 1541. (A 58 point drop overall)

According to
Eye Taken Off The Education Ball: 
In 2009, most [functions] were in a mess, so the district’s focus was on dealing with those problems and not on the educational effort. That was a major problem.

Buildings: In 2009, the building program was two years old …  all the administration and the board did was buy some land, push around a lot of dirt and draw and redraw plans, wasting millions of dollars. The program was stalled and the building program budget was being eaten up by contractors. The district lacked expertise at the top when it came to the building plan.
In 2013, the percentage of students scoring at or above grade level on the PASS test fell 0.5%.

The last time that we had more than six board members they spent over $400 million dollars on new schools and mortgaged the future of our children.

Schools that were deemed unusable have been remodeled to the tune of millions each.

Athletic facilities costs have run rampant. Stadiums, practice fields, minor sports facilities, and massive land purchases have replaced the already adequate facilities that were in place. Some may argue that moving the stadiums from the city centers may have also affected business districts that were previously built up around these facilities. The new buildings may have also made land near the new schools less desirable.

An eight member school board, save one, voted to increase the $311 million cost of the new schools to over $375 million and precipitated the largest tax increase in Pickens County history.

These issues should be throughly examined before we add additional board members for any reason.

Will additional board members save us money?
Not according to previous boards with more than six trustees. Redistricting is estimated at $30-$35,000. The monthly stipend the additional board member would receive would be better spent on additional resources or teacher and support staff pay.
Will additional board members educate our children better?
Nothing added has created a better education for Pickens County students. Statistics shown above prove that. 
Will the tax burden continue to rise?
It was mentioned that the school board may need to raise taxes next year to meet the new plateau for payback of the school building fund.
With Common Core curriculum implementation, will we have any control at the local level? 
Your answer there lies with the success records of any federal program - such as No Child Left Behind.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Gun Free Zones From Schools Extend Into Your Front Yard?

FoxNews reports:
Two 7th grade students in Virginia Beach, Va., were given lengthy suspensions Tuesday that will last until the end of the school year for playing with an airsoft gun in one of their front yards while waiting for the school bus.

13-year-old Khalid Caraballo and Aidan Clark will face an additional hearing in January to determine if they will be expelled for "possession, handling and use of a firearm" because the guns were fired at two others playing in Caraballo's yard.

A neighbor saw Khalid shooting the airsoft gun in his yard and called 911, telling the dispatcher, "He is pointing the gun, and it looks like there's a target in a tree in his front yard," the station reported.

Khalid claims he never took the toy gun to the designated bus stop or Larkspur Middle School, according to the report. Two other students who fired guns were also suspended.

It's Called "Climate Change" Now … Don't Ya Know ...

Gone are the days when "environmentalist whackos" use the term "Global Warming". Why? Because it just isn't happening.

Instead, they use the word "Climate Change" now. Good word, much more vague. It will fit into any sentence or statistic the left throws out there now.

From The Daily Mail UK:
A chilly Arctic summer has left nearly a million more square miles of ocean covered with ice than at the same time last year – an increase of 60 per cent.

The rebound from 2012’s record low comes six years after the BBC reported that global warming would leave the Arctic ice-free in summer by 2013.

Instead, days before the annual autumn re-freeze is due to begin, an unbroken ice sheet more than half the size of Europe already stretches from the Canadian islands to Russia’s northern shores.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Defund ObamaCare

Defund ObamaCare to Fund the Government
by Representative Jeff Duncan (R-SC) & Michael A. Needham

For a lawyer, President Obama has displayed quite a disregard for the rule of law and the separation of powers. As he continues to pick and choose the laws he will enforce and the ones he will ignore, the President should remember the Constitution grants Congress the ultimate “power of the purse.” If Congress, led by the Republican-controlled House, chooses not to fund ObamaCare for the upcoming fiscal year, the Obama Administration cannot implement the law.

Earlier this year, the House demonstrated its ability to set the agenda by successfully resequencing some major fiscal battles to the benefit of the taxpayer. House Republicans were able to lock in sequester savings while also forcing the Senate to pass a budget for the first time in years. While this was a good first step, now is the time to do more.

House Republicans can and should pass a government spending bill ensuring that not another dime is spent on ObamaCare. At that point, House Republicans can say they’ve done their work by passing a bill to fund the government and jumpstart job creation but simply leave out funding for the increasingly unpopular ObamaCare program. The President has said that he will not negotiate with Republicans on the debt ceiling; Republicans should not negotiate with the President on funding ObamaCare.

Any blame for a government shutdown would then fall on Senate Democrats and President Obama, who would be left defending an unpopular law that they’ve admitted is not ready for primetime. But they will have a hard time winning the public argument because the case against ObamaCare is growing by the day. Over the past several months, it’s become painfully obvious President Obama’s signature legislative achievement is holding back job creation, driving health costs higher, and pulling Americans away from their doctors.

Two weeks ago, the Obama administration announced it would delay the implementation of the employer mandate. Unfortunately, this temporary reprieve will do little to stem the tide of layoffs and hour reductions directly tied to this provision of ObamaCare.

And while the economy slumps under ObamaCare’s weight, the real burden is being born by the very people the law was intended to help. Not only are jobs hard to come by and hours being reduced, but the cost of health insurance continues to rise. The President promised to “cut the cost of a typical family's premium by up to $2,500 a year.” Yet, Indiana recently announced the cost of the average health insurance plan would increase by 72% next year.

Many of us were skeptical when President Obama guaranteed “If you have insurance that you like, then you will be able to keep that insurance. If you've got a doctor that you like, you will be able to keep your doctor.” Sadly that skepticism was well placed. In South Carolina, the second-largest health insurance company recently announced that they’re closing their doors because of ObamaCare . And not only are doctors more likely to retire because of the new healthcare law, but the government’s website kindly informs visitors that they only “may” be able to keep their current doctor.

Presidential guarantees don’t mean much these days, which is why few are rushing to the law’s defense. Even the heads of three major unions -- unions which aggressively supported the law -- now believe the law could “destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.”

The Obama administration understands two forthcoming dates -- October 1, 2013 and January 1, 2014 -- serve as the lynchpin for ObamaCare’s future. If the law advances past these two dates, it will have a built in constituency, making repeal in pursuit of a patient-driven health care system nearly impossible.

Coincidentally, October 1 also marks the start of the new fiscal year. A full and complete defunding is the only way to halt ObamaCare’s new entitlements before they start. It would also prevent the implementation of the law’s 18 separate tax increases and thousands of job-crushing regulations.

Rest assured some political pundits - even some of our friends - will say this cannot be done.

For us, it’s simple: we need to fund the government, but defund ObamaCare.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Pickens Sentinel / Easley Progress Spin Legislative Meeting

The spin from The Pickens Sentinel & Easley Progress here is pretty rich …

(click link to read full story)

The meeting was held in relative secrecy with no public notice, potentially violating quorum rules.

Last line: 
"Public forum details will be announced as soon as they are made known."
How can public input be sought if you meet in secret and don't have a date?

The Twisted Amendments ...


As reported by The Blaze:
"… Hillcrest High School in Simpsonville, SC, has received “several emails and phone calls” expressing concern over how the textbook, “The Americans,” defines the Second Amendment.

... the district has “looked into the matter and found that page 149 of the state-adopted textbook does not accurately present the Second Amendment.”

“It states that citizens have the right to bear arms as members of a militia of citizen-soldiers,” he added. “This is not accurate. We will inform our high school social studies teachers that they should refer to page 166 of the textbook which accurately presents the Amendment (as originally ratified).”

The textbook, considered by the American Textbook Council (ATC) to be a “widely adopted” history book across the country, is also “state-adopted” in South Carolina.

… the “State Department of Education (DOE) was notified of this issue so they can take appropriate action.” Any future action will be determined by the state DOE.
Read the full story here:

Conservatives, also should pay close attention to the lumping of the fourth through eighth amendments ~ completely eliminating property rights.

Another question would be … if this textbook is in wide use around the country, under Common Core would the states, or local school districts have the the say so in its use? Or, instead of questioning it on a local level, would we have to take it to a federal level?

Conservatives Of The Upstate is in the process of determining whether the textbook is used in Pickens County?

According to The School District Of Pickens County:

"The book The Americans is not in use in Pickens County Public Schools."

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Against It, Then For It … What Our Leaders Tell Us In Person Isn't Always What They Really Are Telling Us

In 2012, the state of South Carolina reauthorized the State Land Conservation Bank through the year 2018.

The first time the bill went through the House, Easley Representative Phil Owens voted against it, but when the bill came back from the Senate for the House to vote on it again, all the Pickens County Republican House members voted for it. Lee Bright and Mike Fair were the only ones to vote against it in the Senate.

Upstate Forever and The Nature Conservancy seem excited about a bill that Lindsey Graham co-introduced in the U.S. Senate earlier this year.

The bill is S.338 - Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act of 2013 and you can see that out of 32 sponsors, only two are Republicans ~ one being Lindsey Graham.

Just to keep this straight for conservatives that have not figured out Agenda 21 yet, the federal government gives out grants (YOUR money) to groups like Upstate Forever to make land off limits to development or even human activity. The state Land Conservation Bank ends up being used for the  same purpose. The goal is to have everyone contained in cities and living in minimal space.

Pickens County Legislature Continues To Subvert The Will Of The Informed Majority & GOP Stance

* Posted on The Pickens County Courier website 5 HOURS AFTER meeting

On September 9, 2013 @ 9:00AM … The Pickens County Delegation met to discuss The School District of Pickens County Board of Trustees Make-up and District Map.

Members of the media did not find out about this meeting until AFTER the meeting had already begun possibly violating the public notice of quorum laws.

Some notes of the meeting given to Conservatives Of The Upstate:

• Phil Owens, Easley SC State Representative chaired & announced that NO public input would be allowed

• Thomas Alexander, SC State Senator for the City of Clemson was absent

• Pickens County SC State Senator Larry Martin, Clemson/Central SC State Represenative BR Skelton and Liberty SC State Representative David Hiott were the members of the delegation present.

• School Board Trustee for Dacusville, Jim Shelton was present in the audience.

Senator Larry Martin described the reason for allowing the public in the meeting: the Delegation is required to discuss County School Board issues in an open forum.

Martin noted that the public was not given the opportunity to make comment/input today, because it would be allowed at a LATER date.

Discussion of Odd Number Board Format vs six seats now:

• Martin described a 3 to 3 vote as, a failure.

• Martin detailed the history of the School Board in Pickens County.

• Martin discussed his negative considerations for adding an at-large member as resulting in a potential lawsuit under the Voting Rights Act.

• Skelton disagreed with Martin's assessment of the Voting Rights Act & the at-large members.

• Phil Owens said the argument for considering a 7th member is because the even number school board allows tie votes.
Note that any board member added would favor Easley, Owens district.

Why hasn't the Delegation also questioned the six districts of County Council?
• Martin discussed a map of drawn attendance areas showing there are actually seven districts. The map did not break up any voting precincts.

• Skelton moved to get public input before signing into law.

• Hiott asked if there would be costs associated with making these changes.

• Martin answered that the new voter registration cards issued last year would need to be replaced at a cost of $30,000 to $35,000, and that the School Board or County Council would have to pay the costs.
Note: There would also be compensation for the board member, not to mention the cost of the election.
• No date was set for public input.

It should also be noted this meeting comes less than 24 hours after the Delegation met with the League Of Women voters and expressed full support of Common Core Standards for Pickens County.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fences ...

* a view of the Swamp Rabbit Trail in Greenville.

"Whenever you see a fence … there's a reason it was put there. 
No matter where the fence is or what it's made of."

Monday, September 16, 2013

Exposing Common Core ...

by Johnnelle Raines

In a recent Gallup Poll ( it was revealed nearly two out of three Americans have NEVER heard of Common Core Standards (CCS). Further alarming is the fact that nearly 33% of those who have heard of it, don't understand it.

South Carolina Parents Involved in Education (SCPIE) is a group working very hard to correct these statistics.

I recently sent a letter to ALL principals and Dr. Kelly Pew, Superintendent of Pickens County Schools, requesting the opportunity to hand out a flier to parents at their next PTA/PTO event with well documented facts exposing problems with Common Core Standards. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated over $1million dollars to PTA's across the United States to support these standards. That donation has effectively cut off involved parents in finding out the problems associated with these standards.

Dr. Pew has refused to allow SCPIE the opportunity to hand out these informative fliers. 

Her response, 
“We will share the information that is given to us by the SC Dept of Ed, The Education Oversight Committee and our Instructional Dept. The SDPC cannot endorse information from others who are inconsistent with our state adopted goals and standards.”
Denying taxpaying citizens the right to disseminate accurate information about their child's education which has been well researched is without a doubt ~ DENYING US FREEDOM OF SPEECH.
WE THE PEOPLE do pay for education of our children through our tax dollars and this is an example of taxation without representation!

At present, 20 states are in some form of opting out of these dangerous educational standards, and Maine's Governor LePage has issued an Executive Order to stop implementation in his state. Governor Haley and SC State Superintendent Mick Zais have both expressed opposition to these standards. This proves there is something amiss.

Please call your child's school and demand to hear SCPIE's reasons for wanting to STOP COMMON CORE STANDARDS. You can also go to our website: for more information.

Johnnelle Raines

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Conservatives, please contact the following ...

Jeff Duncan, 3rd Congressional District Representative …


Jeff Duncan
116 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515


(202) 225-5301

To email securely, visit:
Ask Jeff to ensure your property rights as a Pickens County resident concerning rails to trails legislation. 
Mr. Duncan should know what you are referring to by this statement. We must ask him individually to show our need for his help in this matter.
Also …

Larry Martin, South Carolina State Senator, representing SC District 2, Pickens County


P.O. Box 247
Pickens, SC 29671


(864) 878-6105

email securely, visit:
Ask Mr. Martin not to allow The Pickens County School Board to expand to seven seats, allowing two Easley seats. This expansion would give Easley an unfair advantage on the board. Tell him that Pickens County eliminated two at large seats and would like to see continued savings and fair school board votes that represent each area equally.

Questions To Conservatives ...

In the cleanup and preparation for the Doodle Railroad to be turned into a trail, where are "the materials" going?

The barrels, the railing, the cross ties?

Are there any contaminated materials being removed?

Has the entire Doodle rail line been tested by the EPA or SCDHEC?

These are some things to think about as stories like this come out into the news:

Exposing Common Core ...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Honesty ...

"Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom."
~ Thomas Jefferson
Conservatives … before success in any battle comes honesty and integrity of your character in negotiations.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Summer Of The Swamp Rabbit

The title of this post sounds like a R.L. Stine children's horror story novel, but isn't meant to be alarmist.

The truth is, chilling facts are in the headlines regarding our local "rails to trails" project ~ The Swamp Rabbit Trail.

With litigation also looming over property rights and civil matters … can we really afford this taxpayer headache?

The headlines should have you concerned about bringing the same to Pickens County via the Doodle Trail.

Headlines taken from WYFF.COM website from the past 75 days:
Minivan lands on Swamp Rabbit Trail  June 24, 2013

A minivan landed right in the middle of the trail over the weekend.

Coroner: Man shot to death near Swamp Rabbit Trail August 14, 2013

A man found dead near the Swamp Rabbit Trail was the victim of homicide.

Bicyclists: Shots fired along Swamp Rabbit Trail August 22, 2013

The Greenville County Sheriff's Office is investigating a report of shots fired near bicyclists on the Swamp Rabbit Trail.

Downtown security to increase after robbery August 25, 2013

A late-night armed robbery of a teenage bicyclist earlier this month just off the Swamp Rabbit Trail in Falls Park.

Second incident of gunfire reported on Swamp Rabbit Trail August 26, 2013

For the second time in less than a week, shots were fired at a popular Upstate bike trail, according to the Greenville County Sheriff's Office.

Police: Woman assaulted on Swamp Rabbit Trail, suspect on loose September 06, 2013

Greenville police are looking for a man who they say assaulted a woman Thursday morning.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Conservatives Of The Upstate: A Look At The 1st Amendment:
Part 2: Freedom Of Speech, or of The Press

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

1) Congress … this indicates that only the United States Congress has the power to alter our unalienable rights. This means that ONLY the Congress has this power, but when it comes to the Constitution and the amendments - Congress COULD make the law but they CANNOT in the outlined circumstances. The only way Congress COULD alter the rights provided is by adding an amendment. Note that "case law" is an oxymoron. There is no such thing. Those trying to take away your freedoms would like to make you think that decided cases are somehow law, when in fact, they are merely opinions that still can be argued before the courts. Also note that recently the Supreme Court ruled ObamaCare constitutional by completely rewriting the Affordable Healthcare Act to say it was a tax; thereby making it a law. The Supreme Court does not have the authority to create a federal system or law - ONLY Congress can do that - and again - in most instances they CAN NOT!.

This said, the Bill Of Rights (or the first ten amendments to the Constitution), is a clarification of what our God given rights are. These rights are presented in CLEAR language. The Bill Of Rights is a list of rights that not even the United States Congress can "toy with".

2) shall make no law … it doesn't get any more poignant than that. NO LAW can be made that would infringe upon these rights enumerated in this amendment.

3) or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; … That is to be said all together - it's not two sentences.

Freedom of speech is definitely one of our most prized rights in this country.

Politicians have for decades tried to stifle free speech. Most recently, politics have tried to remove conservative talk show hosts like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh from the radio and television. It was also discovered that conservative groups were being targeted in audits by the IRS.

With the responsibility of having the freedom of speech, we must cede to allow all forms of speech. This includes pornography. However difficult that may be to accept, the case of pornographer Larry Flint serves as a lesson. We have the responsibility to teach our children and to honor our bodies. The government is not your nanny. If you don't want to have pornography in your life, you can stand against it, but you cannot tell Congress to make a law to remove it. It is considered free speech or free expression.

This said, Conservatives Of The Upstate takes a strong stance against pornography. We, as Christians, should have a moral compass to know the difference between right and wrong. Pornography is clearly wrong. Pornography is difficult to avoid in today's media exploitation, but we must do our best. We must also stand against it and we can be successful in removing it from our communities, but we cannot petition for a law to be created to remove it.

The first and second part of the first amendment tie into each other. We are to have freedom of religion thereby also having the freedom to SPEAK about religion and to print anything we care to about our religion ~ whatever that peaceable religion may be.



Monday, September 2, 2013

European Union Proposes That All Cars Should Have "Speed Limiters"

The European Union is proposing, under what is known as the "Intelligent Speed Adaptation" that all cars should be fitted with devices that stop them going over 70mph.

Under the proposals, new cars would be fitted with cameras that could read road speed limit signs and automatically apply the brakes when the car passes that limit.

For more read:

Labor Day

* Painting of the 1st Labor Day celebration in New York City

From the United States Department Of Labor website:
Labor Day: How it Came About; What it Means

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Founder of Labor Day

More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.

Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold."

But Peter McGuire's place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.

The First Labor Day

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a "workingmen's holiday" on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

Labor Day Legislation

Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From them developed the movement to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During the year four more states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

A Nationwide Holiday

The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take were outlined in the first proposal of the holiday — a street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations" of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.

The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television.

The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation's strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.
* Picture above found via The New Centurist Blog

Quote Of The Day ...

"Whenever governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins." ~ Elbridge Gerry

Elbridge Thomas Gerry (July 17, 1744 – November 23, 1814) was an American statesman and diplomat. As a Republican he was selected as the fifth Vice President of the United States of America, serving under James Madison, from March 4, 1813 until his death a year and a half later.

Gerry was the first Vice President never to run for President of the United States.