By Bob Gatty
The Horry County Democratic Party (HCDP) is charging into the future with a new leadership team determined to attract new voters and candidates and elect them to office.
“Hopefully, we will be able to accomplish many good things, but the main thing is that we have to be inclusive. We’ll take any Republican that decides to make a greater life for themselves,” said Alester Linton-Pryor, who was elected as HCDP’s new chair at its virtual convention on March 27.
“I want the people to know that Democrats stand for a living wage, equity in pay, the American Rescue Plan that not a single Republican voted for, quality education in every Horry County zip code. We don’t want your guns; we just want sensible gun safety laws. We stand for climate control, for protecting our environment, for equality for all.”
“As Democrats, we also stand for protecting our communities and building trust by reforming our criminal justice system, achieving affordable, quality healthcare, and building a stronger, fairer economy,” she stressed.
Pryor, who has been co-chair of HCDP’s Voter Committee, said registering voters and attracting candidates for office will be a priority as she takes over the party’s leadership. She will continue as chair of the Carolina Forest Democratic Club.
Elected First Vice Chair was Dr. Bruce Fischer, who sought the Democratic nomination for Congress in 2018 and then ran for the District 56 seat in the state House of Representatives in 2020. Kohn was elected Second Vice Chair and Da’Vita Foushee was elected third Vice-Chair. All pledged to work closely with Pryor to help her achieve her agenda.
They succeed First Vice-Chair Barbara Hake and Third Vice-Chair Tess Emiroglu. Pryor had served as Second Vice-Chair over the past two years.
HCDP’s third Vice-Chair must be under 36 years of age, and Foushee said she intended to work to “encourage and empower young people, to make them know that their votes and activism is important. They need to be part of the movement, part of what the future holds because they’re going to be the ones living in it.”
Cunningham Blasts McMaster, Republicans
Former Rep. Joe Cunningham, of Charleston, who was narrowly defeated for re-election last November, pointed out that Donald Trump’s coattails in South Carolina resulted in Republicans having their largest majority in the state’s legislature’s history. He blasted Gov. Henry McMaster as being a “ceremonial” governor and said voters should “stay engaged, stay hopeful – and stay tuned.”
All of that GOP success “will show the people what Republican control looks like,” Cunningham said. “Their first priority was an unconstitutional abortion bill that was immediately struck down by the courts. They want to allow people to carry AR 15s in the open, and law enforcement is begging them not to, but they are doing it anyway. It will only get worse if we don’t do something about it in 2022.”
He pointed out that South Carolina is last or “near dead last” in education and is “one of the worst states to raise a family.” He blasted former Gov. Nikki Haley for refusing to accept funding to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act to simply “make a political statement against Barack Obama.”
“South Carolina has all the potential in the world,” he said. “We need to change our politics. I’m about results. Will he or she put South Carolina first; anything else is irrelevant.”
Calling McMaster a “mostly a ceremonial governor” who focuses on attending ribbon cuttings, Cunningham said, “He wants the title, but not the job.”
McMaster’s Covid 19 response “has been an unmitigated disaster. He’s been unwilling to take basic steps to protect us, and it’s cost lives,” he declared, noting that South Carolina is “dead last in the nation in vaccinated people.”
“If Henry McMaster was a college football coach in South Carolina, he would have been fired a long time ago,” Cunningham quipped.
The 2022 election offers a great opportunity to turn things around for South Carolinians, he said. “Our economy is going to come roaring back because of strong Democratic leadership. The Republicans drove us into the ditch and Democrats pulled us out,” he added, referring to President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.
“We need you to engage. Let the insurrection that happened on January 6 remind us what’s at stake. We can do it again, and we will. I’m taking a hard look at how I can best serve the state and be part of the solution. Everything I do is for my three-year-old son. He’s the gas in my tank and the fuel to my fire. We are fighting for this party, for this state and our collective future,” Cunningham declared. “Stay engaged, stay hopeful – and stay tuned.”
Robertson Looks Ahead
South Carolina Democratic Chair Trav Robertson said South Carolina will receive $3.6 billion from the American Rescue Plan, and that Horry County’s share will be about $69 million.
But, if the state had participated in the expanded Medicaid program, “we would receive an additional $600 million that the state would not have to pay back,” he said, which would enable South Carolina, stressed by Covid 19, to substantially improve health care.
Robertson pointed out that an infrastructure bill, now being pushed by the Biden administration, will provide massive amounts of funding for flood prevention, transportation and other needs, but when Obama was president, he recalled, Gov. Haley refused to accept similar funds that could have helped ameliorate flooding in the state and county.
He said the SC Democratic party is working to continue its progress and revealed that it has launched a major voter registration initiative aimed at closing the gap in upcoming elections.
“Our goal is to move forward with plan and catch lightning in a bottle,” he said.