Issues in Horry County are as varied as our towns, neighborhoods, farms, small businesses and mega-entertainment complexes. Along the rapidly-growing coast and waterways, flooding, beach erosion, traffic, and crime are top issues. Further inland, agricultural pollution, damaged roadways, limited public transit, and lack of jobs are major concerns.
Pressing issues are everywhere.
Nearly 20% of County residents live below the poverty line, and thousands are homeless at any one time. Over 50% of children in public schools are eligible for free or reduced meals. Democrats believe that entrenched poverty is best tackled by government in partnership with community and faith-based services to offer a chance for a better life.
Unemployment rates in Horry County are consistently higher than the state and national averages. Democrats support economic development beyond tourism that emphasizes clean industries and high-tech businesses which can create higher-paying, year-round jobs for County residents.
Women’s Health & Safety
South Carolina ranks #1 in the nation for the number of women killed by men, most often with guns. Democrats advocate for stronger gun control laws, stiffer penalties for abusers, and domestic violence prevention programs starting in middle school to help end the cycle of violence in many families.
Horry County and many local municipalities struggle to keep police and first responder forces at full staff. Democrats support fully funding budgets to offer competitive salaries to recruit, train and support these essential public servants.
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 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 the only way to get to work, doctor’s appointments, skills training, or shopping. As we invest millions to attract new businesses and create more jobs, Democrats believe equal attention must be given to expanding access to low-cost public transportation to help people compete for these new opportunities.
You can help Democrats have an impact on these issues in Horry County. Our numbers are increasing as the population grows, especially among young adults and college students who are excited about making positive change. Democrats need qualified candidates to run for office and win elections. Check out these questions to see how you might qualify.
Horry County residents deserve affordable health insurance and access to medical care.
Horry County Democrats believe that increasing access to the ballot will strengthen our society. Efforts to restrict access only weaken our democracy. We are determined to fight for restoring, expanding, and protecting voting rights here and 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 election equipment and results are accurate and accountable. The iVotronics machines used in SC were purchased second-hand in 2005. The machines are no longer manufactured, making repairs difficult or impossible. There are voting machine malfunctions during every election at more than one polling location in Horry County.
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, smoother voter check-in on Election Day.
“The America we want for our kids – a rising America where honest work is plentiful and communities are strong; where prosperity is widely shared and opportunity for all lets us go as far as our dreams and toil will take us – none of it is easy. But if we work together; if we summon what is best in us, with our feet planted firmly in today but our eyes cast towards tomorrow – I know it’s within our reach.”
–President Barack Obama
Horry County Democrats fully endorse the Democratic Party vision that everyone deserves an equal opportunity to make the most of life.
Opportunity should not be limited by race, ethnicity, national origin, language, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability status. Equality means the ability to live a dignified life, with access to decent education, competent health care, and meaningful employment at fair wages.
Equal opportunity is inextricably linked to human rights.
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.
The dominant industry in Horry County is tourism, which relies on low-paying seasonal or part-time jobs. This reality contributes to a high percentage of working adults who do not have health insurance and are often reluctant to seek medical care.
Many of these people are our neighbors, family or friends. They may work two or three jobs just to make ends meet, but earn too much for standard Medicaid or not enough to qualify for assistance through the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
Every day they face the risk of an unexpected accident, illness or hospitalization — all it would take to send them into bankruptcy, debt, misery and, often, dim prospects for the future.
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, and as tens of thousands of retirees relocate to our area.
Since 1965, Medicare has been a “sacred promise between America and its people.” In return for contributions made during working years, seniors receive guaranteed benefits, from preventive health screenings and prescription coverage to hospital insurance, skilled nursing home care, and much more. Proposals to shift Medicare to a privatized system could spell disaster for millions of people in the event of market collapse.
Horry Democrats believe it is essential to protect and expand Medicare as a federal government program which ensures that older generations do not face impoverishment and insecurity in their golden years.
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
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 parklands teeming with wildlife. Our tourism, outdoor recreation and commercial fishing industries depend on clean beaches and healthy marine and coastal ecosystems. 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- 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.
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.
Across the County, other threats to our air and water 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
On the plus side, Horry County Solid Waste Authority operates a state-of-the-art facility rated for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), and is noteworthy for its integration of landfill management, education, recycling and technology.
Democrats are advocates for stronger enforcement of environmental protection laws.