By Paul Gable
Governor Henry McMaster and Attorney General Alan Wilson rolled to big victories in Republican Primary runoff elections yesterday meaning there will be no changes to the political power structure in Columbia.
Most of the incumbents in the General Assembly will be returning because they faced no opposition in the primaries or the upcoming November general election.
When voters continue to send the same people back to Columbia election after election, they can’t expect changes in the way state government operates. It is simple to suppose that special interests and lobbyists will continue to control the legislative agenda in Columbia at the expense of the average citizen.
Horry County will continue to be a large donor county to the rest of the state because our legislative delegation is so weak. Roads that should be paid for with state and federal funds will continue to be funded by local option sales taxes. The real estate and development lobby will continue to oppose impact fees satisfied that current citizens will continue to pay for infrastructure costs associated with new development.
One interesting sidebar to yesterday’s runoffs locally was the City of Myrtle Beach removed candidate signs from the areas near polling precincts in the city early in the day. According to several sources who spoke with the workers removing the signs, “the word came from City Hall.”
Whether this was an attempt at voter suppression or just another example of the arrogance that continues to emanate from city officials, it does seem to show complete disregard for the election process.
However, the citizens in Horry County will see some changes at the county level with the election of a new chairman for county government.
No longer will over 20 minute response times to 911 calls be acceptable to council while large pots of tax dollars are accumulated to build Interstate 73 through Marion and Dillon counties to connect to Interstate 95.
No longer will the needs of county departments be ignored because of personal animosities in Conway.
No longer will 12 million taxpayer dollars be spent on swamp land while the needs of first responders and citizens are ignored.
No longer will new zoning for large new subdivisions be approved without consideration of the infrastructure that is needed to support them.
Change comes slowly because government works slowly. But positive changes for the citizens are coming to Horry County. Changes in Columbia will have to wait.