Vote Them Out!!! Comparing 2018 Midterm Candidates
The upcoming 2018 midterm election on November 6th could be one of the most important elections of our times. The U.S. House of Representatives seat in District 7, South Carolina Governor, S.C. Secretary of State, State Treasurer, House District 106, and State Attorney General are all at stake! Plus, we have great Democratic candidates running for local offices in the Horry County Government.
There are currently eight incumbent Republicans holding positions in Federal, State, and Local offices in Horry County with solid Democratic candidates challenging them. It is time to vote the Republican incumbents out and put an end to one party rule!
In every midterm election since the Civil War, the party of the sitting President has lost an average of 32 seats in the House and two in the Senate. Currently, Democrats hold 194 of 435 seats, short of the 218 required to regain majority control.
Democrats nationwide need to flip at least 24 seats in the House, and just two to take control of the Senate. It is a formidable challenge as Democrats will need to win the popular vote by an especially wide margin to overcome the considerable disadvantage caused by GOP gerrymandering, a byproduct of the state-level losses endured in 2010 before the last round of redistricting.
But we can do it. We must do it, and you can help.
Become part of the Blue Wave! Vote to protect equal rights, affordable healthcare, our environment, our economy, and our children’s futures. Vote to uphold the values of equal opportunity and fairness for all.
It is up to all of us to decide which vision of America will prevail – the Republican vision that is based on fear and lies that come directly from President Trump, or the positive vision of fairness, equality and progress espoused by Democrats.
We must be united to succeed. The stakes could not be higher!
U.S. Congressional Delegations from South Carolina
U.S. House South Carolina (District 7)
S.C. Rep. Robert Williams
U.S. Rep. Tom Rice (I)
Williams believes healthcare is a right, not just for those who can afford it. He is in favor of “Medicare for all”, which by definition means the healthcare industry is controlled and operated by the government. He believes a healthy nation relies upon everyone having access to health care.
Rice supports repealing the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), which uses private health insurance companies to offer government regulated plans though the marketplace. Rice opposes “Medicare for all”, instead he supports private market-based health insurance, which allows insurance companies to refuse to cover those with pre-existing conditions.
While supporting the second amendment, Williams opposes the sale of assault weapons. He argues that we are “not in combat” and therefore ordinary citizens have no need for combat style weapons. He supports universal background checks and is opposed to open carry without a permit.
Rice has said he is against bump stocks and favors thorough background checks, but feels existing gun control laws need to be enforced. He has said he would oppose a bill banning assault weapons, but would consider an age limit on those able to purchase an assault weapon.
Wages and Economic Security
Williams advocates good paying jobs to the district to restore economic security and supports legislation to raise minimum wages. He has argued affordable housing is a must, and utilities need to be regulated so they don’t outpace rent or mortgage costs.
Rice has been an advocate for bringing industry and projects (Interstate 73) to his home district, with an eye toward job creation and boosting the economy. He also favored the tax bill cutting taxes for the wealthy passed by Congress stating that he thought it would improve the economy. Despite his previous concerns about the increasing the U.S. deficit, he has supported the President’s initiatives on defense spending and building a wall at the Mexican/U.S border.
Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security
Williams served four years in the U.S. Army on active duty, is a veteran of the Irag War, and served 20 plus years in the National Guard. Williams says he has first-hand knowledge of the sacrifice of our service personnel. He supports policies and programs that treat veterans with dignity and respect, including medical, psychological, and dental health care initiatives. He feels strongly that special attention needs to be given to eliminating the backlog and waiting lists of veterans awaiting treatment and services.
Rice’s number one priority in Congress is to strengthen the U.S. military. He has supported the President’s budget to both bolster the defense budget and build a wall to protect the Mexican/U.S. border. He also claims that he will work to hold the Veterans Administration accountable if it fails to adequately address the needs of veterans. Rep. Rice did not serve in the military.
The South Carolina Education Association ranks Williams at 89% on positions on public education teaching profession issues. Williams supports public education starting at pre-K and continuing through to an advanced degree level. He supports funding initiatives to provide schools with tools and technology that will enhance and advance learning opportunities.
Rice supports local funding and governance of education versus federal initiatives. The National Education Association rated Rice a 0% on its 2017 Legislative Report Card.
In the SC State Legislature, Williams voted to expand use of solar power, and received a 90% rating from Conservation Voters of SC positions. Williams is a strong believer that human behaviors such as over-reliance on fossil fuels and potential pollution effects of offshore drilling are having negative impacts toward preserving our earth for generations to come.
Rice believes the government’s authority to limit carbon emissions is unconstitutional. His solution is to rely on the “free market of individual choices made by the American people”. At the same time, he professes to be an “environmentalist”, but feels that jobs and the economy have priority over the environment.
Williams’ campaign has focused on addressing needs of local infrastructure including power, water and roads. He advocates creating and encouraging small businesses to address infrastructure issues – which at the same time will advance the economy. He is particularly focused on infrastructure needs in rural areas and supports the construction of Interstate I-73.
Not surprisingly, Rice, too, is focused on local infrastructure needs, especially the improvement of the roads and bridges in South Carolina. His number one infrastructure priority has been the construction of Interstate I-73, which he feels will create jobs, and make the local area more attractive to tourists and industry.
Womens’ Rights and Equality
Williams argues that, “This country is losing its democracy, its liberties for which I fought.” He advocates equality for all, regardless of race, gender, age, sexuality, or gender identity. To the LGBT community, he says, “I know what discrimination feels like—you have my support.” To women, in general, he offers this advice, “It is time for you to stand up—our Supreme Court is tainted by the confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh.”
Rice feels that it is unconstitutional to force anyone to offer public business services that violates their religious beliefs, and is staunchly opposed to requiring religious organizations to offer health insurance that covers abortions. He opposes public abortion funding and supports parental notification for abortions. He is against using public funding for organizations offering family planning assistance that includes abortion. Rice voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. Rice supports defining traditional marriage. He also strongly supported the confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh.
South Carolina State Executive Offices
Governor of South Carolina
S.C. Rep. James Smith
S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster (I)
On the first day of the job as Governor, with the stroke of his pen, James will expand Medicaid and deliver healthcare to over 150,000 South Carolinians who are being denied access to health care simply because they live in the Palmetto State.
Gov. Henry McMaster says any legislative fix to the current health law should “abolish” the requirements that individuals must purchase insurance and that businesses must provide plans to their employees or face financial penalties.
James fought to close a leaking nuclear waste dump, opposed attempts by the plastics industry to stop local plastic bag bans, and fought to limit unchecked use of rivers by mega farms. He led efforts to protect South Carolinians’ right to sue to stop pollution or development. Smith has the endorsements of the Sierra Club and The Conservation Voters of South Carolina (CVSC).
Gov. McMaster signed the industry-supporting legislation into law and received a $3,500 campaign contribution from Duke Energy. He supports the Trump administration’s effort to rollback environment protections to further corporate goals.
James is calling for smaller class sizes, project-based learning, and looping – where students and teachers move from grade to grade together. He is in favor of increasing teacher’s pay and supported using the state’s $177 million surplus for teachers and state workers. James supports a one-year freeze on higher education tuition.
Smith is endorsed by the South Carolina Education Association.
McMaster has a two-pronged approach. First, reduce poverty. As a new form of trickle-down, if the economy is growing, more funds will be available to education. Second, more charter schools.
Smith said he would have vetoed discriminatory state legislation. Smith explained, “This time, it’s gay couples being told they are less than others. We should not leave children in foster care or orphanages when there are any stable, loving homes that would welcome them.”
Smith is endorsed by the South Carolina Equality Coalition.
Gov. McMaster signed into law discriminatory language that would allow state funded “faith-based” adoption agencies to turn away qualified South Carolinians seeking to care for a child in need, including LGBTQ couples, interfaith couples, single parents, married couples in which one prospective parent has previously been divorced, or other parents to whom the agency has a religious objection.
James stood with March for Our Lives. As Governor, Smith will sign legislation that: closes the Charleston loophole, bans bump stocks and trigger cranks, requires universal background checks, makes it a crime to threaten violence on school grounds, and restrict the sales of military-style assault weapons.
Gov. McMaster advocates for putting an armed guard in each school. He supports closing the Charleston loophole and opposes the Constitutional Carry proposal in South Carolina.
Rep. Smith will expand Medicaid on his first day as governor. James thinks that an influx federal funds would reduce medical costs, rescue some smaller hospitals and doctor’s offices, and boost the state’s economy by adding jobs.
McMaster opposes Medicaid expansion and opposes increased access to quality affordable healthcare. 194,000 South Carolinians could get insurance if McMaster expanded Medicaid! Henry favors privately owned transportation programs, such as those provided by nonprofit groups.
James Smith and his running mate, Mandy Powers, propose comprehensive tax reform. This includes: sales tax, property tax, and income tax. Smith calls for a business-friendly environment that incorporates tax credits for things such as the Abandoned Buildings Act and the Historic Tax Credit that he has sponsored.
Gov. McMaster proposes to cut taxes and implement comprehensive tax reform. He has proposed a 15% across-the-board tax cut, the elimination of certain deductions and signed a conformity bill to allow South Carolinians to take advantage of the federal tax law changes.
https://governor.sc.gov/ (AARP Bulletin October 2018, Volume 59, No. 8, p. 48)
South Carolina Secretary of State
Melvin T. Whittenburg
Mark Hammond (I)
About the Candidate
Major Melvin Whittenburg (US Army), retired, was born and raised in Columbia, SC, where he graduated from C.A. Johnson High School. He is a graduate of East Carolina University, where he later was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He later pursued graduate level studies at the University of Phoenix and ‘Georgetown University.
In the Army, he served in military and relief operations, including Hurricane Hugo, Desert/Shield/Desert Storm and the Global War on Terror.
After retiring from the Army, he completed a successful career with ExxonMobil Corporation and served as Community Outreach Chairman of the Veterans Advocacy Support Team and Black Employee Success Team until retiring in 2017.
Mark Hammond grew up in Spartanburg, where he graduated from Dorman High School. He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from Newberry College in 1986, and a Masters in Education from Clemson University in 1988.
Hammond completed special basic training at the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy in 1991 and worked as a Criminal Investigator, aiding prosecutors for the 7th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, until 1996.
From 1996 to 2002, he was elected, then re-elected as Spartanburg County’s Clerk of Court. In 2002, he was elected as South Carolina’s 41st Secretary of State and has been re-elected three times.
• Continuously implement process improvements and ensure all legislation signed by the Governor receives the official state seal of South Carolina within ten business days of receipt
• Implement a “Boots to Business” initiative, waiving all application fees for veterans.
• Collaborate with non-profit “SC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce” to utilize their expertise and training programs to host quarterly business forums that Educate, Energize, and Empower to stimulate economic development within the Hispanic communities
• Conduct creative out-of-the-box collaboration sessions with Millennial organizations and business owners to identify attractive business opportunities that contributes to economic development through millennial business startups that includes waiving application fees for recent college graduates (graduated within the past 2 years)
• Collaborate with not profit “Building Better Communities” and African American communities to identify creative out-of-the-box methods that Educate, Energize, and Empower the community to stimulate economic development growth though entrepreneurship
• Hold quarterly meetings with State Chamber of Commerce leaders to discuss growing statewide economic development
• Provide opportunities to train unlicensed vendors on the requirements and benefits of owning a business license
• Meet annually with notaries to discuss issues and challenges, and work with neighboring states to provide dual licenses
Hammond’s office has been criticized for failing to perform a basic function required by law: to place the official state seal on all bills signed into law. He blamed this on “human error” and says the situation has been corrected.
He claims these accomplishments:
• Initiating reforms targeting charity and telemarketing abuses, collecting more than $1.3 million in fines to date
• Requesting and implementing improvements to the South Carolina Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act to facilitate enforcement of the Act, assuring charitable donors more accountability and transparency from nonprofit organizations
• Offering SC Business One Stop (SCBOS), a Web-based program that allows users to electronically register a new or existing business or apply for other licenses with several state agencies at one time
• Offering online search capabilities for boards and commissions vacancies, notaries public, Uniform Commercial Codes filings and recorded statutory liens
• Championing for and getting new legislation offering clear statutory definitions for notarial acts as well as other needed updates
• Seizing over $51.5 million in counterfeit merchandise, resulting in the arrest of more than 550 people
• Continuing the annual Scrooges and Angels list of charities, and providing the percentage of receipts that actually go toward the charitable cause
• The main objective of Secretary Hammond’s fourth term in office is to continue to make improvements ensuring that the Office of the Secretary of State is efficient and customer-friendly, with easy access to the services provided
South Carolina State Treasurer
(Statewide Office Responsible for Managing, Investing and Retaining Custody of Tens of Billions of Dollars in Public Taxpayer Funds)
Curtis Loftis (I)
About the Candidate
• Rosalyn is a native of Wellford, South Carolina.
• She is a licensed registered investment adviser and a Financial Services Certified Professional (FSCP) with 25 years of financial industry experience.
• As President and CEO of Glenn Destiny Consulting LLC, she has shared her successes with individuals, businesses, churches, and nonprofit organizations in developing financial strategies to ensure their longevity and sustainability.
Why is Rosalyn Running?
Rosalyn strongly believes that the SC State Treasurer must be the GLUE to allow all State Departments to work together to:
• SAFEGUARD the State’s financial resources;
• MAXIMIZE the return on the State’s investment (funded by you the taxpayers); and
• EFFICIENTLY allocate our resources to accomplish the State’s priorities.
Rosalyn is concerned that failed Statehouse leadership has caused the SC Pension Plan for state workers and retirees to be UNDERFUNDED BY 24 BILLION DOLLARS!
Bad investment decisions, poor plan structure, and intentional underfunding have crippled the state’s pension plan.
Rosalyn will be a Hands-On Fighter to right this wrong and protect the futures of our public workers and retirees, our friends and neighbors.
Rosalyn promises to bring a Higher Level of Character and Integrity if given the chance to Restore the State’s Treasurer’s Office to one which all SC residents can speak proudly.
In this fight Rosalyn has been endorsed by former Vice President Joe Biden.
• Currently serves as S.C. State Treasurer.
• In 2016 the South Carolina State Ethics Commission reprimanded State Treasurer Loftis for improperly influencing the selection of a longtime friend to receive $2 Million in legal work from the state.
• Following the Ethics Commission reprimand, the SC Legislature stripped Loftus of his direct involvement in the pension system.
• After the Ethics Commission findings, State Treasurer Loftus even lost respect among fellow Republicans.
• One South Carolina (Republican) legislator said, “I’m just not comfortable with one person (Loftus) in charge of a $29 billion banking relationship. I think the Ethics Commission would agree with me on that.”
SC House of Representatives (District 106)
S.C. Rep. Russell Fry (I)
About the Candidate
Robin Gause is a resident of Burgess. She has worked in healthcare for the past 20 years and has also worked in post-addiction community reentry. She is endorsed by several organizations including the AFL-CIO. Her positions on the issues:
Robin’s goal is to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. “If people make $15 an hour, they can pour it back into our economy,” says Robin.
Robin will fight for the closing of the Charleston loophole by advocating for complete background checks, regulation of all gun sales sold through the internet and at gun shows. “We do have the right to keep and bear arms, but also a right to be safe.” says Robin. “We must reform our gun laws by starting with our South Carolina legislature, before depending on the federal government to do so.”
Robin believes in a single-payer health care for all! “It is our basic human right. We need Medicaid expansion, with protection for pre-existing conditions in which it is affordable for all.”
Veterans: “They fought on the frontlines for us, and now it’s my time to fight for them, by advocating for affordable housing, healthcare and the benefits they deserve.”
Women need good healthcare, must have their rights recognized and must be empowered.
Russell Fry, incumbent, is a resident of Surfside Beach and an attorney. He has served as SC Representative of District 106 since 2015. His positions are gleaned from his Facebook page. He is endorsed by the NRA. Based on findings at Ballotpedia, Fry has not sponsored any substantive SC House legislation in the past two years. His legislation appears to be limited to either honoring someone’s status or commemorating someone who recently died.
Promote job creation and lower taxes.
Against the automatic stay provision of law when a lawsuit is filed to protect habitat.
Attorney General of South Carolina
Alan Wilson (I)
About the Candidate
Constance is an experienced attorney and is a leading expert on insurance and ethics law. Prior to joining the Charleston School of Law faculty, she served for 15 years as a senior attorney in the civil litigation division of the Anastopoulo Law Firm. Professor Anastopoulo has been married to her husband, Akim, for 25 years and they have two daughters, ages 22 and 17.
Alan was elected S.C. Attorney General in 2010, and was re-elected in 2014.
Prior to entering politics, Alan served as an Assistant Solicitor, and as an Assistant Attorney General before entering private practice with a Columbia law firm.
Following his graduation from Francis Marion University in 1996, Alan joined the S.C. National Guard and deployed to Iraq. Today he continues his military service as a Colonel in the Judge Advocate General Corps. Alan and his wife Jennifer have two children.
Constance believes that the people of South Carolina deserve an Attorney General who, as the chief law enforcement officer of the state, enforces the law instead of interfering with the process. She will push for stronger laws for transparency and ethics reform to bring about real change.
Constance will strongly attack the opioid epidemic by personally handling the litigation in S.C. to make the drug manufacturers responsible for the devastation caused by their addictive drugs. Constance had already done this while in private practice in 2005, and as Attorney General will lead this fight for all S.C. citizens.
Fight for Women
We deserve equal pay for equal work. Constance will work to end the gender pay gap, and strengthen the enforcement of laws against domestic violence. She will devote resources of the Attorney General’s office to deny domestic abusers access to guns.
As Attorney General, Alan has focused on supporting the passage of public safety legislation, such as the Ashley Hall bill, Emma’s law, an overhaul of S.C.’s domestic violence laws, strengthening the state’s human trafficking laws, and modifying federal law to combat online sex trafficking.
Alan has also defended the state’s right-to-work laws, helped lead state challenges to the federal health care mandate (Obamacare), and successfully defended S.C.’s voter identification and immigration laws in court.
State Grand Jury: “A.G. Wilson Impeded Corruption Probe”
After a 2-year investigation, a State Grand Jury report released on October 9, 2018, found that Attorney General Wilson’s inaction impeded an investigation into corruption at the S.C. Statehouse.
After former Republican House Speaker Bobby Harrell pleaded guilty in 2014, and named two other high profile lawmakers, Wilson’s inaction cost investigators 13 months and meant the statute of limitations on potential federal crimes like money laundering ran out, according the Grand Jury report. The Grand Jury concluded that Wilson’s loyalty “should lie with the citizens of South Carolina, who he represents, rather than with the [political consultants] Quinn family, and that his actions impeded this investigation.”
A.G. Wilson Keeps Ties with Controversial Quinns
Financial disclosure forms filed with the State Ethics Commission show that Attorney General Wilson’s campaign paid more than $71,000 to Richard Quinn & Associates for consulting and bookkeeping work between March 2015 and June 2017. During that same time period, SC state agents raided the firm’s office as part of the Statehouse Corruption Probe, and former Representative Rick Quinn was indicted.
Candidates for Horry County Government
Horry County Board of Education (District 1)
Holly Heniford (I)
About the Candidate
A resident of Little River, Gore attended Horry County Schools and graduated from North Myrtle Beach High School. He received his Bachelor of Education degree from South Carolina State University in 2002, and a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction degree from the University of Phoenix in 2007. He taught for 14 years in Brunswick County Schools and during this time his passion for education led him to earn a master’s degree in Educational Curriculum and Instruction.
In 2016, Gore became a Resource Advisor for ORIGO Education; ORIGO provides mathematical resources and professional learning to educators throughout the world, offering products to inspire and empower teachers and students. He works with states and school districts to help them “become better equipped to meet best practices in early childhood/elementary mathematics.”
Focus (in his own words):
“As an educator I have frequently heard the ongoing conversation regarding closing the achievement/opportunity gap, being innovative, and improving our country’s educational system. During this conversation it is often stated through press releases, interviews, documentaries, national and local news, etc., that there is a need for improvement in education. It is my goal to be elected as a Horry County School Board member and use this position to advocate for the Horry County community as well as be the bridge between our community and school district. There are many voices to be heard and I want to hear all of them. Although Horry County Schools is a phenomenal district, there is much work to be done regarding the continued improvement of our school, system-wide. I look forward to playing an instrumental role in this improvement through my relentless work as a Horry County School Board member.”
• Elected to the Horry County Board of Education in November 2014. A native of Horry County and a graduate of Loris High School, Heniford is a licensed real estate broker in the Carolinas and is currently the broker-in-charge of B Mack & Co. Real Estate in North Myrtle Beach.
• Heniford has served as a member of the Board of Directors for Sandhills Bank, the Grand Strand Board of Realtors, and the Horry Georgetown Home Builders Association. Heniford served on the Horry County Planning Commission from 2004-2009.
• Heniford earned degrees from the Art Institute and Brenau Women’s College, which are both in Georgia. Heniford earned a Master’s degree in Human Resource Management from Webster University in Myrtle Beach. She is the mother of one daughter, Carly, who attended Horry County Schools and now attends college.
Horry County Board of Education (District 10)
Neil James (I)
About the Candidate
• Born and raised in Loris
• 20-Year veteran of the Army Reserves (retired)
• Author and Founder of “I Am Enough” consulting and empowerment organization.
• Mother of 5 children, including 1 recent graduate and 4 of which are currently enrolled in Horry County Schools.
• Shakedra supports giving Horry County students the best education possible (such as STEM classes) to prepare them for the jobs• of the future. STEM (which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) is critical to our students’ education if they are to be prepared to compete for tomorrow’s jobs.
• Shakedra promises to be much more visible and accessible to the residents of District 10 than what they have seen of the current Board member.
• Shakedra promises to give a Strong Voice to areas of Horry County that have been ignored for too long! “Our kids deserve the same opportunities that are poured into other schools.”
• She promises to fix the School Board’s “parent liaison” program. This program was intended to help parents bring concerns to the Board, but no one knows who these parent liaisons are!
• Shakedra will also work to address the disparity in school discipline, and to increase the diversity in Horry County schools to help bring greater harmony among teachers, students and parents.
• Most importantly, Shakedra will bring the highest integrity to the Board and a promise that Board decisions are unbiased and inclusive.
• Appointed to Horry County Board of Education in 2009.
• Employed by Santee Cooper
• Married with 2 children.
James is a professional engineer and holds Bachelor of Science degrees in Agricultural Engineering and Electrical Engineering from Clemson University, and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Webster University.
Earlier this year, James voted to cut funding in the School Budget that would have expanded STEM programs to 10 more Horry County Middle Schools. STEM (which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) is critical to our students’ education if they are to be prepared to compete for the jobs of the future.
County Council (District 7)
Harold Phillips (I)
About the Candidate
• Harold Phillips, of Conway, is seeking re-election and is proudest of balancing the budget without raising taxes. He has chaired the council’s infrastructure and regulation committee for the past two years and serves on the transportation committee.
• If reelected, Phillips plans to hold more town hall meetings keep the district’s residents informed. He is “working to make a difference” in the lives of children, individuals, families and the community by bringing people together to create a district filled with economic opportunity.
• Phillips is a 26-year U.S. Army veteran.
• Married to Geneva Spain for 49 years, Phillips is a lifetime resident of Horry County. The couple has one son, Kenric, a Lt Colonel in the USAF. Phillips is a graduate of Horry Georgetown Technical College and is a progressive civic and business leader.
• He previously chaired the Horry County Solid Waste Authority Board and served on the Airport Advisory Board and Horry County Planning Commission. He is a successful business owner of Phillips Electrical Service.
• Phillips is Chairman of the Waccamaw Economic Opportunity Council with programs such as Head Start and summer food initiatives.
• On growth: Horry County is indeed growing and development through the county is good, not just the western part.
• Unique skills and insights: Our schools must grow by building new schools; the county must add new roads, building and storm-water construction, and sometimes that means taxes must be increased.
• Orton Bellamy, of Conway, is now a Republican, but unsuccessfully challenged Phillips in the Democratic primary in 2016 and was defeated. He subsequently switched parties.
• He is a military veteran and retiree from the S.C. Probation, Parole and Pardon Board. He is a widower with one adult daughter,
• When he ran in 2016, Bellamy said, “Improvements are needed in infrastructure, economic development, facilities, and conservation of resources, public transportation, I-73, storm water drainage, and veterans affairs.”
• He said he is, “Interested in education and in beefing up the employment benefits of Horry County employees, particularly those employed in the public safety sector, as well as improving medical insurance benefits and offering a wellness program, which said ultimately would reduce healthcare costs.”