State Rep. Liston Barfield, R-Aynor, announced he will retire at the end of his term, and at least one man is considering a run for House seat 58.
“Twenty four years is a long time,” Barfield said. “I have certainly enjoyed having an opportunity serving the constituents. I’ve tried to return calls and reach out to as many people as possible.”
Barfield, 68, who represents the western portion of Horry County including Conway and the Aynor area, was first elected to the House in 1986. He is an Army veteran who toured in Vietnam. Barfield graduated from Coastal Carolina University with a bachelor’s degree in 1975 and then Webster University with a master’s in 1983. He attended the University of South Carolina and South Carolina State College.
Barfield took home the Legislator of the Year award in 2005 and in the same year won the Founders Medallion at Coastal Carolina University. He also served as a member of the Veterans Monument Committee and was awarded the National Defense and Vietnam Service Medals, Vietnam Campaign Medal and Good Conduct Medal.
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“What I’ve enjoyed most is when a constituent was faced with a trouble and I was able to help them,” Barfield said. “And that happens quite often if you take your job seriously... You can make a big difference in people’s lives.”
Now, at least one man, Horry County school board member Jeffrey Garland, is considering seeking the Republican nomination for Barfield’s seat.
“I just want the best for Horry County and District 58,” said Garland, who isn’t sure how soon he will decide whether to run. “We’re losing Liston and many years of experience [in the House].”
Garland was elected to the school board in 2012 and represents District 11, which includes Aynor, Conway and Green Sea Floyds. He said there are several issues he would want to address, including public safety, economic development, the I-73 connector and, of course, education.
“We need to do something to transform and reform funding for education in South Carolina, but funding is only part of the issue to provide a good, quality education for all students in South Carolina” he said.
Garland is a retired state employee and business owner. He earned a bachelor of science degree from Coastal Carolina College and a master’s degree in business administration from Winthrop University.
Barfield said his job has allowed him to make great friends locally and some new friends all over the world.
“I’ve been able to be successful because I’ve worked hard at it,” Barfield said. “I’ve been there 24 years. A lot of good memories.”
Reporter Vicki Grooms contributed to this story.