Issues

The Horry County Democratic Party believes in cooperation, respect, and teamwork. Unity is better than division and we can work together to protect civil rights and voting rights, women’s rights and workers’ rights, LGBTQ rights, and the rights of people with disabilities. Each child deserves a good education and decent healthcare, no matter what zip code they live in.

We work to make the changes necessary so that Americans can balance work and family, so that there is equal pay for equal work, so that our veterans are cared for at home, and so that seniors can retire and live with dignity.

We will aim to protect every citizens’ right to vote and fight to end the currently broken campaign finance system. We learn from the scientific facts that climate change poses a real and urgent threat to our economy, our coasts, our resources, our national security, and to our children’s health and future. We can work together to build bridges and strengthen our local communities.

equality

Opportunity should not be limited by race, ethnicity, national origin, language, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability status. Equality is inextricably linked to human rights. Everyone deserves the ability to live a dignified life, with access to decent education, competent health care, and meaningful employment at fair wages.

Horry County Democrats fully endorse the Democratic Party vision that everyone deserves an equal opportunity to make the most of life.

We advocate for and support efforts to:

• Prohibit discrimination based on race, education, or economic circumstances
• End prejudice based on sexual orientation or gender identity
• Eliminate barriers preventing disabled persons from full participation in society
• Ensure our criminal justice system is fair and equitable for everyone
• Put an end to modern day slavery – human trafficking in labor and the sex trade

Democrats oppose discrimination of all forms. Period.

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environment

We must work to fight the reality of dangerous climate change. Real and actual effects that scientists had predicted in the past are now occurring – worsening storms, loss of precious arctic ice, accelerated sea level rise, and longer more intense heat waves. The reality of global climate change has already had observable and disastrous effects on the environment, human health, and species extinction. The damage to our coastal areas will include increasing floods, further beach erosion, stronger storms, and more dangerous hurricanes.

Pollution and waste are also real threats to the Grand Strand, our waterways, and to our state’s rural gardens and neighborhoods. These are factors that all citizens can work together in solving.

Across Horry County, environmental dangers caused by human activity include:

• Overuse of pesticides and agricultural chemicals
• Pollution from asphalt and cement plants
• Illegal outdoor burning of trash
• Aging water and sewer systems
• Stormwater outfalls close to the beach and in the ocean
• Trash and litter along roadways

Democrats are committed to curbing the effects of climate change, protecting natural resources, and ensuring the quality of our air, water, and land for current and future generations. From investing in clean energy to protecting our ecosystems, we are working to address our biggest environmental challenges and paving the way to a more sustainable America.

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healthcare

With the dominant industry in Horry County being tourism, which relies on low-paying seasonal or part-time jobs, it leads to the reality of a high percentage of working adults not having health insurance and thus are often reluctant to seek medical care. Many community members may work two or three jobs just to make ends meet, but they earn too much for standard Medicaid, or not enough to qualify for assistance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Every day, citizens face the risk of an unexpected accident, illness or hospitalization – which can often lead to debt or bankruptcy. Democrats have been fighting to secure universal health care for the American people for generations.

In Horry County, an estimated 30% of adults aged 18-64 had no insurance coverage as of 2012. While the Affordable Care Act has reduced this number, the need is still great.

Horry Democrats support Medicaid expansion in South Carolina to provide hardworking people with access to the medical care they need and deserve.

Seniors aged 65 and older are the fastest-growing population in Horry County. As the huge “baby boom” generation ages, tens of thousands of retirees have been relocating to our area.

Since 1965, Medicare has been a “sacred promise between America and its people”. In return for contributions made during their working years, seniors receive guaranteed benefits from preventive health screenings, prescription drug coverage, hospital insurance, and skilled nursing home care. Proposals to shift Medicare to become a privatized system could spell disaster for millions of people in the event of market downturns or collapse.

Horry Democrats believe it is essential to protect and expand Medicare as a federal government program to ensure that older generations do not face impoverishment and insecurity in their golden years.

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education

Every child, no matter who they are, how much their families earn, or where they live, should have access to a high-quality education. From preschool through high school, children need to be able to learn and feel safe.

HCDP is actively seeking the leadership and means to strip off the worn out and harmful veneer that is South Carolina’s current state of education, and to apply practical and proven solutions. Each child should have the opportunity to reach their goals and to fulfill their own American Dream.

The high costs of continuing education in colleges and universities needs to be re-examined. Any citizen wishing to earn a degree should not have to face a lifetime of debt to do so. Improving the accessibility to trade schools and community colleges will also be of huge benefit to our youth, as well as for the future strength and well being of our country.

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energy

We must work together to lead the way to more clean and sustainable energy. Sustainable energy sources – wind, solar, ocean waves – are abundant in South Carolina. By encouraging investment in clean, renewable energies, we can support new industries, create jobs based right here, and secure genuine energy independence.

From investing in clean energy to protecting our ecosystems, we are working to address our biggest environmental challenges – and paving the way to a more sustainable America. Horry County is on the front line of battle for sound energy and environmental management in South Carolina. Decisions about electric costs and local options over environmental concerns are hot topics in the state legislature.

Life would simply not exist without fresh air and clean water. Horry County sits on the “Grand Strand”, a pristine uninterrupted 60-mile stretch of coastline renowned for white sand beaches, waterways, marshes, and park lands teeming with wildlife. Our tourism, outdoor recreation, and commercial fishing industries depend on clean beaches with healthy marine and coastal ecosystems. The over 14 million visitors per year are the economic engine of the county and a significant source of tax revenue for South Carolina.

Horry County Democrats strongly oppose the federal proposal to open the mid-Atlantic and South-Atlantic ocean to seismic testing and drilling for offshore oil and gas. Every coastal municipality in South Carolina has passed resolutions against this proposal.

All testing and drilling carries the risk of spills, fires, and leaks – which would irreparably harm the sea and its animal and plant life, and create an economic disaster. Industrial infrastructure such as pipelines and refineries would forever alter our natural, historical, and cultural resources.

We support increasing recycling efforts and litter control measures throughout the county and beyond. A noteworthy example for its integration of landfill management, education, recycling and technology – the Horry County Solid Waste Authority operates a state-of-the-art facility rated for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

Democrats will continue to be advocates for clean energy solutions and stronger enforcement of environmental protection laws.

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gun laws

The combination of poverty, a lack of education, and few avenues for economic advancement has caused violent crime to soar in our state – with gun violence leading the way.

In 2016, South Carolina had the dubious distinction of having the 10th worst violent crime rate and the 10th worst firearm mortality rate in the United States. In that year, 891 South Carolina residents died from gun play – either by homicides, suicides, or accidental shootings. Records from 2013 showed that someone is killed with a gun every 14 hours in SC, and an aggravated assault with a firearm occurs every 1.5 hours. The rate at which law enforcement officers are feloniously killed with guns in the state is also the 10th worst in the nation. This rate of gun violence is simply unacceptable.

South Carolina has some of the weakest gun laws in the nation, making it a favorite state for illegal gun traffickers to purchase guns. Our state has reviewed and argued 50 gun bills since 2017 and none have yet been made into law.

Democrats will continue to push for safety and common sense when it comes to responsible gun ownership laws.

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opioid crisis

South Carolina, and Horry County in particular, have been in the midst of the terrible opioid crisis claiming the lives of many citizens. Horry County led the state in the number opioid deaths, as 101 people died of overdoses in 2016 according to the Department of Health and Environmental Control. That is one-fifth of the 550 deaths that occurred statewide. Nationwide, more people have died from prescription pain killer abuse than in all of the Vietnam War.

Opioid addiction, whether it is pain killers or heroin, often stems from not just the treatment of pain, but also from untreated mental health issues. The number of psychiatric hospitals in our state has decreased over the years from 15 to just 4. Community treatment and support services are scarce, especially for those who lack the funds for private treatment. Block grants for Medicaid often do not prioritize mental health, and many more people simply do not have any insurance at all.

While addiction can strike anyone of any age or financial background, about one-third of all homeless people have mental disorders or addictions that go untreated. The stigma of addiction has made it so that most addicts feel like they are seen as criminals, thus they tend not to seek out treatment in the first place. Treatment for addiction to opiates can take a long time, and there are too few resources in our county. Detoxification is only the first step, and recovery is an ongoing process. While it is important to treat people in crisis, there needs to be support in place to help them stay on the path to healing and wellness.

The Congressional bill called The American Health Care Act makes things worse, as mental illness will be seen as a pre-existing condition that the state can choose not to cover.

We all need to step up and insist on more funding for governmental programs for mental health, as well as for a greater number of addiction treatment programs and centers here in Horry County. Our state legislators need to take the lead in finding ways to provide the resources for affordable treatment. As community members, we all need to educate ourselves and others about the dangers of these drugs within our homes, our schools, and our communities.

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consumer protection

Democrats believe that strong laws and enforcement against unfair or deceptive business practices have the effect of weeding-out unsavory businesses, reducing unfair competition, curbing false advertising, and increasing transparency – in turn strengthening the profitability of businesses that treat their customers fairly and honestly.

From phishing schemes, identity theft, and unscrupulous business practices – Horry County Democrats will work together towards supporting legislation regarding the prevention of crimes against consumers and for the protection of our citizens.

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jobs

Sadly, nearly 20% of county residents live below the poverty line, and thousands are homeless at any one time. A quarter of a million children live in poverty in South Carolina, and the high rate of childhood poverty means that over 50% of children in public schools are eligible for free or reduced meals.

The unemployment rate in Horry County is consistently higher than the state and national average. The majority of work in Horry County revolves around the tourism industry and health care facility jobs. Most other work is in retail stores and restaurants which rely on low-paid seasonal or part-time workers. The county needs to entice more varying businesses to the area for providing better jobs to its citizens.

Democrats support economic development beyond tourism that emphasizes clean industries and high-tech businesses which can create higher-paying, year-round jobs for our county residents. We believe that entrenched poverty is best tackled by the government in partnership with all of the community members.

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transportation

Rapid growth and expanding tourism have placed heavy burdens on our roads and bridges. Hundreds of new housing developments have put thousands more cars and trucks on our already busy roads. Democrats advocate a “Fix it First” approach to existing local infrastructure before building new highways.

In a county about the size of Rhode Island, having a car – or access to one – is most often the only way to get to work, appointments, school, or stores. As we invest millions to attract new businesses and create more jobs, Democrats believe that equal attention must be given to expanding access to low-cost public transportation to help people compete for these new opportunities.

Horry County is home to the Myrtle Beach International Airport, making our area an easy destination point for air traffic and the Coast RTA transit shuttle service provides ten regular bus transportation routes in and around Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Conway, Surfside Beach, Garden City, Murrells Inlet, Pawleys Island, Georgetown, and Andrews. While boating can also be a viable means of traveling within the county via the Intracoastal Waterway, our residents still need further options for affordable transportation.

Many parts of our county still severely lack any public transportation at all, and most of the existing roadways do not allow for safe pedestrian traffic. While Horry County continues to grow each year, we need to work on fixing this. Residents need to be encouraged to be active and walk and bike more, not less.

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infrastructure

The brisk rate of development in Horry County means that all area citizens need to be active and aware about what is being done to maintain and improve the infrastructure of our county.

Horry County Council members have been debating ways to find more money for building and maintaining the roads and making the necessary stormwater system improvements.

Many residents feel that the area is being over-developed too quickly. We may see several hundred thousand new residents come into the county in the coming years. This not only adds to traffic woes, but to concerns about the issue of increased crime. This highlights the need for more municipal and county police officers to keep up with crime response times and solving cases.

The county and many local municipalities struggle to keep police and first responder forces at full staff. We, as Democrats, support fully funding budgets to offer competitive salaries to recruit, train, and support these essential public servants.

Flooding in area neighborhoods is also of great concern. Horry County needs to provide for improved infrastructure to manage the flooding and hold developers and builders accountable for poor planning as well. The changing climate has already caused observable damage to our coastal areas. Our county will need to brace for increasing floods, further beach erosion, stronger storms, and more dangerous hurricanes.

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ethics

The elected members of our nation’s government, and that of each state, should be able to stand for honesty and transparency in everything they do.

Democrats wish to work together to preserve the integrity of public officials and institutions – to remove governmental corruption, conflicts of interest, and acts of impropriety.

We support the public disclosure of the financial and employment history of public officials, and that of their immediate family members, to ensure that the public is kept informed about those who are in office to represent their best interests.

We know that to prevent conflict of interest and coercion in government, a fully informed voter is the best protection.

It has been a national shame to see a select few corporations and billionaires working behind the scenes to tip the balance of political power in their favor. Our campaign finance system needs to be reformed and corrected, with undisclosed dark money removed from politics. Through incorporating public support, teamwork, and grassroots efforts we can accomplish this together.

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voter rights

Horry County Democrats believe that increasing access to the ballot will strengthen our society, and that any efforts to restrict voting access only weakens our democracy. We are determined to fight for restoring, expanding, and protecting voting rights across South Carolina.

Horry Democrats are active in educating voters about:

• New Voter Photo ID requirements and the reasonable exceptions to voting without a Photo ID. For example, a person who does not have a birth certificate, or who has religious objections to being photographed, may vote without a Photo ID. Bring your non-photo voter registration card with you to the polls. You can vote after signing an affidavit stating your “reasonable impediment” to obtaining Photo ID.

• Restoration of voting rights after a person has served his or her criminal sentence and/or has satisfied any probation requirements. When a citizen has made full restitution to society, he or she can register to vote.

• Every Vote Counts! Celebrate your right as an American citizen and be a full participant in our democracy. Don’t waive your privilege to vote just to avoid the potential for jury duty, or for any other excuse!

All citizens should be confident that their votes are counted correctly and that election equipment and results are accurate and accountable. The iVotronics machines used in SC were purchased second-hand in 2005. These machines are no longer actively manufactured, making repairs difficult or impossible. There are voting machine malfunctions during every election at more than one polling location in Horry County. This should be completely unacceptable.

Horry Democrats are urging the South Carolina State Election Commission to undertake a transparent process to select and choose new equipment that produces an auditable paper trail. We also support the Horry County Voters Registration and Election Commission effort to provide laptop computers in all county precincts for faster and smoother voter check-in on Election Day.

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youth issues

We need to work together to promote the rights of young people and to nurture young leaders.

Students and young Americans have long played an important role in society, and they represent our next generation of leaders to tackle our nations’ foremost challenges.

The Democratic National Committee’s Youth Coordinating Council was made an official council of the Democratic National Committee in December 2005, with a goal of increasing involvement of young people in the Democratic Party. Alongside College Democrats, who meet on campuses across the country, other young Democrats are also driving discussions and organizing on some of the most important issues facing youth today – college affordability, racial equality, campus sexual assault policies, access to health care, and tackling the threat of climate change.

Young people have had new opportunities to become more active with county and state Democrats, and they are instrumental in helping to shape our party across the country for decades to come.

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women's rights

The fight for women’s rights also includes raising awareness concerning their health and safety. South Carolina ranks #1 in the nation for the number of women killed by men, and the killings are most often perpetrated via being shot with a gun. As Democrats, we advocate for stronger sensible gun control laws, stiffer penalties for abusers, and education through domestic violence prevention programs starting as early as middle school to help end the cycle of violence in families.

Women in America are still consistently paid less for the same work as their male counterparts. The high cost of child care adds undue burden to mothers, and for many single mothers, it is a constant struggle between raising children and the demands of working to supply an income to shelter and feed their families. The risk of poverty for these families is a tragic reality. The sharp rise in the number of children living with a single mother or single father in the United States from 1970 to 2015 coincided with the poverty rate for families with a female householder as being much more prevalent.

Women have been fighting for more than 100 years for equality. Although progress has been made, we are not there yet. Numerous issues still need to be addressed and rectified. By confronting violence against women, fighting for workplace equality, pushing for pro-family policies like paid family leave, and defending a woman’s right to control her own body – Horry County Democrats work to make sure that women can thrive in our county. We know that when women succeed, everyone succeeds.

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veterans

While we do believe our country must continue to have the strongest military in the world, we also have the moral responsibility to support and care for all of our active service members and our wounded veterans at home.

As Democrats we are committed to maintaining the Department of Veterans Affairs to deliver exceptional services and care. We must take care of those who have put their lives on the line to defend us. Coordination needs to exist between the VA and the Department of Defense to help in creating a smooth transition for veterans from active duty back into civilian life.

According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, 22 million military veterans account for 7 percent of the population, but veterans make up about 12 percent of the adult homeless population in our country. Democrats in general support the necessary safety nets needed to help the homeless and Americans in poverty across the board. Social systems such as universal healthcare and affordable housing need to be put into place so that all citizens can live in peace and dignity.

Strengthening our economy and communities by empowering veterans and connecting their unique skill sets with jobs of the future is yet another goal. We will also continue to stand with the military spouses and their children as they pursue their own lives as well.

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LGBTQ Rights

We stand with the LGBTQ community’s fight for equality and are committed to ending the bullying, violence, and discrimination. All Americans, no matter their sexual orientation, are to be treated with dignity in their communities, workplaces, and schools.

Horry County Democrats applaud the decision by the Supreme Court that recognized that LGBT people have the right to marry the person they love. There is still much more to be done in support of our citizens as LGBT kids continue to be bullied at schools, restaurants may sadly decide not to serve transgender people, and same-sex couples are often at risk of being discriminated against or evicted from their homes.

We fully endorse the Democratic Party vision that everyone deserves an equal opportunity to make the most of life. Everyone deserves the ability to live a dignified life in peace, with access to decent education, competent health care, and meaningful employment at fair wages.

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Seniors should not have to choose between putting food on the table, keeping a roof over their heads, or buying the medication that they need to stay healthy. HCDP fights to protect the elderly in our county from losing their homes, living in poverty, and lacking proper healthcare.

In Horry County, there is not enough senior housing units for low-income seniors and many cannot afford health care, in large part because South Carolina opted not to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – foregoing millions of dollars in federal financial support. About 123,000 South Carolinians are in the “coverage gap” with no realistic access to health insurance. Medicaid can help low-income seniors who have little in savings. It supplements Medicare payments to doctors, but not all doctors accept Medicaid as payment. For those over 65, original Medicare only pays 80% of most bills, and private Medicare supplemental insurance policies are often confusing and expensive.

Horry County’s population is growing faster than nearly every county in the state of South Carolina, adding 12,471 people from 2015 to 2016. Citizens age 85 or older are the fastest growing segment of our state’s population. Estimates show that more than 1 million South Carolinians will be older than 65 by the year 2029. This means that the spending associated with an aging population will continue to rise in our county and in our state. Expenditures will increase on Medicaid insurance for poor elderly residents and state pensions.

While many seniors will come into our county as retirees with retirement incomes and pensions from other states, there are many local senior citizens born here in Horry County that may have the toughest time. We will need to work together to balance the extensive healthcare and housing needs of those who “have”, without further harming those who “have not”.

We fully endorse the Democratic Party vision that everyone deserves an equal opportunity to make the most of life. Everyone deserves the ability to live a dignified life in peace.

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“No other country in the world does what we do. On every issue, the world turns to us, not simply because of the size of our economy or our military might – but because of the ideals we stand for, and the burdens we bear to advance them.”

–Barack Obama


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