In 2012, Horry Democrats planned our first dinner fundraiser to salute local candidates, community leaders, activists and volunteers. With the Democratic National Convention taking place in Charlotte, NC (practically our backyard!), there was a good chance to bring a nationally-recognized speaker to Horry County.
Under the leadership of then-HCDP Chair Doris Potter-Hickman and State Executive Committeeman Cedric Blain-Spain, the first “HCDP Executive Committee Dinner” was held at the Sheraton Myrtle Beach Convention Center with Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter delivering the keynote address. The following year at the Clarion Hotel, Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter (D-Orangeburg) was keynote speaker, and we celebrated the achievements of local politicians and Young Democrats.
But the dinner name was confusing. Was the event just for Executive Committee members? Was it a business event, a gala, or something in-between? The planning committee decided to change the name in 2014 to honor local and national Democratic leaders, and the resulting acronym — SHORE — was also a playful reminder of Horry County’s seaside location!
The SHORE name represents these individuals and families:
S is for Helen P. Sasser, 1935-2014. Mrs. Sasser was a lifelong Democrat who remained loyal to the Party despite “white flight” to the Republican Party. Twice a candidate for the South Carolina House of Representatives, Mrs. Sasser carried on her family legacy of social justice and integration throughout her long life of political activism.
H is for Rupert Hickman, history teacher to generations of Horry County students for over 40 years. Mr. Hickman has voted in every single election since age 18. A staunch Democrat, he has served loyally in many Party roles on the state and county level.
O is for Barack Obama, our nation’s first African-American president, who sealed his historic campaign with his primary win in South Carolina – “Fired Up, Ready to Go!” – whose vision of Hope and Change continues to resonate with Democrats across the nation.
R is for the Robinson family, Michelle Obama’s ancestors from neighboring Georgetown County, with whom many Horry County Democrats share Gullah-Geechee roots.
E is for Senator Dick Elliott, 1935-2014, the longest serving Democratic State Senator in South Carolina, who represented Horry County for over 30 years as a skilled statesman who understood the value of compromise to advance the people’s interests
The dinner is now a popular annual event. The keynote speaker in 2014 was Rep. Bakari Sellers (D-Bamberg), and in 2015, attendees were treated to a rousing address by U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO-5th).
Stay tuned for the announcement of the keynote speaker for the 2016 SHORE Dinner on Sunday, Sept. 25, and be sure to order your tickets today!