Filing glitches behind them, Ryhal and DiSabato set for Dist. 56 rematch

mprabhu@thesunnews.comJune 8, 2014 

  • Dennis DiSabato

    Age | 35

    Occupation | attorney with a focus on real estate, estate planning and business law

    Family | in Horry County, parents ; brother, sister-in-law and niece; iancée Laura Luce, lives in Horry County (engaged to be married on 5/2/15)

    Civic and political experience | chairman of the board of directors for Coastal Carolina SERTOMA Club; charter member Carolina Forest Kiwanis Club; founding member, past president, current secretary and director of public pelations of Carolina Forest Civic Association; executive committee member and chairman of the Ways and Means Committee for Horry County Republican Club; former president of Conservative for Responsible Government PAC; ran for S.C. House Dist. 56 in 2012

    Education | Bachelor of Arts English, SUNY Binghamton University; JD, New York Law School

    Military experience | none

    Contact information | 333-9823; 903-1212;

    Question | What can be done at the state level to improve infrastructure in District 56 as it continues to grow?

    Answer | We need strong support of the local government fund to insure more of our tax dollars are coming back to Horry County; we also need to make sure any gas tax and other use taxes and licensing fees associated with vehicular travel are used solely for infrastructure improvements. We also need an advocate to insure that there is geographic equality concerning how infrastructure spending is being done in Columbia. We are one of the largest donor counties in the state and get a disproportionate share of our tax revenue back to use on local projects. As the fastest growing community in the fastest growing county in the State, we need to make sure District 56 is not left out in the cold when it comes to infrastructure spending.

  • Mike Ryhal

    Age | 56

    Occupation | Retired utility executive; small business owner

    Family | wife, Carrie; three daughters, Kaitlyn, 21, Kristin, 19, and Michaela 17

    Civic and political experience | S.C. Representative District 56; Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee; American Legislative Exchange Council; Grand Strand Area Transportation Study Policy Committee; Rotary International; Health Policy Fellows; Carolina Forest Civic Association; Horry County Republican Party.

    Education | Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering, Geneva College; Associate Degree Engineering, Geneva College;

    Military experience | None

    Contact Information | 655-2452;

    Question | What can we do at the state level to improve infrastructure in Dist. 56 as it continues to grow?

    Answer | As we continue to grow it’s critical we keep working on bringing state revenues to our district. My recent efforts include: working with the DOT to change their funding formula resulting in GSATS (Grand Strand Area Transportation Study) Committee receiving 3.8 million this cycle, passed legislation which increased funding for the County Transportation Committee (including adding two new local board members), passed legislation to make $500 million available for needed state projects, which include replacement or repair of several bridges and roads in our district. I will continue these efforts to insure we get our share of needed revenues.

Two years ago, Mike Ryhal and Dennis DiSabato both ran to be the first person to represent Dist. 56 in the S.C. House of Representatives.

When the ballots were counted, the two Republicans were separated by 114 votes – about 1 percent – and Ryhal claimed the seat.

This year, DiSabato said he thinks he has a good chance to win in Tuesday’s primary. No Democrats filed to run for the seat.

“It was really close last time and I felt like the things the district needed still hadn’t been addressed,” DiSabato said, adding that he did not feel as though Ryhal spent enough time with his constituents in the district.

Ryhal said he’s spent the last two years working on building relationships – both in the district and the county as well as in Columbia.

“The biggest key is learning that you have to work as a team to get things done,” he Ryhal said. “You need to build relationships and work with everybody. It’s a matter of coming up here and working with people here and back in the district.”

He said the fact that he’s been able to establish those relationships is why he should be elected to another term.

But DiSabato said he believes elected officials work directly for the people they represent and would spend much of his time building relationships with his constituents.

If elected, the first thing DiSabato said he would like to do is work to lower the Conway water rate. Residents in Carolina Forest, which makes up a large portion of Dist. 56 and is where both DiSabato and Ryhal reside, receive water service from the city of Conway.

“The city of Conway water rates are excessive in Carolina Forest,” he said. Dist. 56 also includes Conway and Longs.

Ryhal and DiSabato ran against each other in the 2012 general election instead of in a Republican primary because they were among the more than 250 candidates thrown of the ballot due to filing errors.

“We rewrote election law [at the State House],” Ryhal said, saying that was something he was most proud of accomplishing in his first term. “It’s much easier to understand now.”

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday for the primary election.

Contact MAYA T. PRABHU at 444-1722 or on Twitter @TSN_mprabhu.

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