Voters in the Carolina Forest and Wampee areas of Horry County are in the enviable position of having two well-qualified candidates to represent them in their new S.C. House district. Both Dennis DiSabato Jr. and Mike Ryhal are accomplished leaders who would be strong advocates for the area. But while either would be a fine choice for voters, we give the edge to Ryhal.
DiSabato has certainly impressed with his energy and dedication to the area. His work in creating the Carolina Forest Civic Association and building a grass-roots network to promote the area’s needs cannot be discounted. He has spent the past few years as perhaps the most high profile voice for Carolina Forest and as such has done commendable work ensuring that the concerns of its residents on issues such as transportation and development are heard and addressed.
But while DiSabato’s record is impressive and we believe he would continue his strong advocacy for the area in Columbia, we still prefer Ryhal’s experience.
Both candidates put forth similar visions of government: smaller, more efficient and more accountable to its citizens. Both hope to resurrect the county’s stalled railroad and support continued work to ease the transportation issues that plague Carolina Forest. But Ryhal brings to the table a lifetime of knowledge and know-how that DiSabato simply hasn’t had the time to acquire yet.
Having worked his way from the very bottom up to the executive level of the utility he worked for up north, Ryhal can identify with workers on all levels of business. We appreciate Ryhal’s keen emphasis on personal responsibility and his optimistic refusal to accept failure. In a district that extends to the rural areas north of Carolina Forest, we were impressed that Ryhal made a point of expressing interest in representing the entire district, not just the densely populated, better-known sections.
Ryhal’s recent history starting and building his own small business should also stand him in good stead as the legislature continues to look for ways to jump-start our state’s economy. And in a race where the two candidates have such similar policy views, Ryhal stands out for his personal life. It’s no small thing to raise a family, send children to school and know firsthand the issues involved with putting those kids through college. Having experienced such events on a personal level is an undeniable asset when it comes to discussing policies that will affect how others go through the same experiences.
We’re confident that whoever the voters choose on Tuesday will work hard for the betterment of the Carolina Forest area and its residents. Either candidate would be a fine addition to our delegation. But for us, Ryhal simply outshone his opponent.