By Paul Gable
Russell Fry has now been in Congress for a month representing (I use the term loosely) those of us in the 7th Congressional District.
The Chinese spy balloon, which was shot just off the Grand Strand coast Saturday, provided Fry to get out some of his best sound bites so far. Fry joined a chorus of Republicans criticizing the Biden administration for waiting so long to shoot down the balloon. Fry went so far as to say he didn’t understand why the balloon wasn’t shot down over Montana or Kansas “where there is a lot of open space.”
It is no secret I did not support Fry’s election to the Congressional seat and, as a very rookie Congressman, I suggest Fry would be better off letting the generals decide when and where to exercise such duties while he sticks to the process of getting his feet wet before he runs off at the mouth.
However, there is one area I would like Fry to address further – his appointment of Heather Ammons Crawford as District Director for his Congressional district. Included in the announcement of Crawford’s appointment to the post, a short bio said she is the current representative to the SC House of Representatives for District 68.It also mentioned Crawford holds seats on the Waccamaw Regional Council of Governments, the Salvation Army of Horry County Advisory Board, the National Board of Directors for Women in Government and served on Gov. Henry McMaster’s statewide Floodwater Commission.
The district director typically coordinates and supervises the work of the local district offices. This work includes attending events for which the Congressman cannot be present, scheduling and attending events where constituents gather to hear the Congressman and overseeing the answering of the multitude of questions and requests for service which are received from constituents.
I spoke with several former district directors for other Congressmen who told me the minimum number of hours they spent on the job as district director was 40 per week and could easily go up to 70-80 in busy weeks.
It is my opinion that Russell Fry, in the words of Ricky Ricardo, has some ‘splainin to do’ with his appointment of Crawford as district director.
How is someone who is committed to attending House sessions in the General Assembly at least three and one-half days each week for approximately the first five months of every year, as well as attending meetings for these other organizations, going to be able to spend the time necessary to do a thorough job as district director? Additionally, how will Crawford’s ability to vote on bills in the SC House be affected by her job as district director, especially those bills which include federal funding?
Crawford, her husband, county councilman Cam, and Fry have a business association together in the political consulting firm Crescent Communications, LLC. Did this business association have anything to do with the appointment of Heather Crawford as district director?
By my approximate calculations, the Crawford’s will now be raking in between $130,000-$150,000 per year of taxpayer dollars from three levels of government, federal, state and local, for these positions held to represent the people. Will we, the people, get our money’s worth? Or, is this just another example of supposed conservatives spending government money to help their associates?