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Candidate Forum Recap

Pictured: Jeremy Holland (Professor of Sociology at Horry-Georgetown Technical College, moderates Candidate Forum) with Ernest Carson (center) and Ryan Thompson (right).

A candidate forum was held last night at the Burgess Community Center. The forum was moderated by Jeremy Holland, Professor of Sociology at Horry-Georgetown Technical College.

Democrat Candidates in attendance were:

Candidate Ashley Preaux, SC House District 61 was unable to attend due to a family member’s illness.

Republican Candidates in attendance were:
  • No Republicans cared to attend the discussion.

Opening Statements

In their opening statements, Carson said, “It was unfortunate that opposing candidates can’t join us.”

His sentiment expressed that he would have welcomed hearing their views and debating them.

Thompson said he was a “proud local”, wanting to give back to the community.


Q: What do you bring to the legislature?

Carson: What happens to our tax dollars? I propose once our money gets to me there will be a timeframe of issuance and road repair.

Thompson: I was a student rep in college, I have campaign experience. I am the voice of Gen Z, the largest voting group.


Q: The opposition says they’re fighting taxes, what will you propose for economic stability?

Carson: She [GOP opponent] should be here. It’s not her money, it’s our money. (I propose) to decrease flooding by dredging every 10 years.


Q: SC officials have attacked education, tried to pass CRT bills

Thompson: Pay teachers like we care about them. Pay them a dignified wage. CRT is NOT taught in K-12.

Carson:I feel sorry for our children. CRT is taught in law school, we should tell the whole story of building America, take on what’s good and bad and learn from our wrongs.


Q: On debt forgiveness

Thompson: SC sued to prevent this; I side with Biden. We pay taxes for roads, parks, and hospitals, [we should] take on the burden, help the most amount of people to benefit SC.


Q: On legalizing marijuana

Both candidates support the legalization of medical marijuana.


Q: Issue of overdevelopment

Thompson:Horry County has a surge in growth vs environment. I would work with the county and local government to balance infrastructure and protect lands and wildlife.

Carson: I am a US Army and National Guard Vet;(regarding) homeless vets, use condemned hotels, have vets work on these (for housing) with Coastal Carolina psychology students providing social services. Put the vets back into society.


Q: McMaster wants to ban all abortions

Thompson: This is about women’s health. With this ban, In vitro fertilization (IVF) would not exist, [women’s health] it’s not my or the government’s business. I am always on the side of women.


Q: On Inflation

Carson: This is a world economy, not U.S. or SC, it’s a world economy, one economy. There will always be inflation.


Q: On hate crime law

Thompson: SC is one of two states in the U.S. that won’t pass a hate crime bill.

Thompson pledged to work on getting bi-partisan support to pass a hate crime bill.


Q: What’s the first thing you would do if elected?

Carson: Ask where the money is, get a readable accounting of our taxes. Gov McMaster is sitting on an allocated bill for a Native American Museum.

Carson wants to know what’s happened to this allocation.

Thompson: [I would] call the SCDOT, request sidewalks and lights, a walkable community.

Thompson shared a story of a student hit by a car because no safe walkable access was available.


Q: What legislation would you sponsor if elected?

Carson:I don’t know. My priorities are yours, tell me what you want me to do.

Thompson:Hate crime, medical marijuana, (bills that) benefit all the people of District 106.


Q: On the SC Constitutional amendments; rainy day and reserve funds

Carson:No. we already have 732 million in reserve not being used; teachers have to buy their own crayons. Let’s use it for teachers, and first responders.

Thompson:Yes for the Rainy-day fund, No for the second, we already have a reserve.


Q: lack of affordable childcare

Carson: Proposed to have H.S. seniors care for children, supervised by college kids

Thompson: Proposed universal pre-k, expand paid parental leave, and increase funding for teachers and childcare workers.


Q: What are two actions you would accomplish?

Carson:Show me the money (referring to where tax money goes) , and term limits.

Thompson: Hate crime bill, propose changing the legislature from a part-time position to full-time professional legislature.

Thompson stated that only retirees or the wealthy can afford to run for a part-time legislature that pays $10K and requires


Closing Statements

Carson: Thank you for coming out. Our society is in trouble across the U.S.; if we lose, we’re going to pay for it.

Thompson:I couldn’t find anyone else to (to run). I love this area, 1st generation college student, it’s my love letter to this community. I put people first to represent the locals.


Audience Question on Education

Carson: There’s a prison pipeline because students are not taught to dream early.

Thompson: Increase Teacher pay to 50K, add mental health resources, and reduce class size

Penny Sunshine, a member of the HCDP Communications Committee, resides in Little River, SC. Formerly a lifelong NYer she moved here in 2021 and is committed to turning SC’s red tide into a blue wave.
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