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Local tea party hears from politicians

About 200 Grand Strand residents crammed into the Myrtle Beach Train Depot Thursday night for a town hall meeting sponsored by the Myrtle Beach Tea Party that mimicked an old-fashioned revival - with amens and answers rom the crowd.

Seven of the Republican candidates vying for the 1st Congressional District seat being vacated by Henry Brown spoke at the event, including Mark Lutz, S.C. Rep. Tim Scott, Carroll Campbell III, Stovall Witte, Katherine Jenerette, Larry Kobrovsky, and Clark Parker. Each repeated core principals of the tea party throughout the event, including smaller government, less spending, Christian values and a stronger national defense, often to a crowd-wide positive response.

A local Horry County accountant and former Coastal Carolina University trustee, Parker told the crowd he wanted to renew the economic viability of the country by curbing spending, to focus on strengthening our defense department and to combat illegal immigration.

Kobrovsky, a Charleston County school board member and lawyer, said he always keeps two documents in his pocket, his grandfather's citizenship papers and a copy of the U.S. Constitution.

Kobrovsky said as part of his campaign, he will be handing out pocket copies of the Constitution to help people become better citizens and fight for their rights.

North Myrtle Beach resident Jenerette, a military officer who has run for Republican office several times, said she was running for Congress to stand up against big spending, complicated legislation, and to repeal the 16th and 17th Amendments to the Constitution.

She also argued against firearms registration and conceal and carry permits.

Witte, a former Brown chief of staff and a vice president of advancement at Charleston Southern University, told the crowd that he would fight for national security, for economic security by lowering taxes and stopping out of control spending, and for constitutional security.

Scott got some of the biggest cheers of the night with an anecdote about his mother "knowing how to lower the dropout rate," when she kept him in line and kept him in school. Scott made the politics personal with stories about hard work, conservative mentors and adages from his single mother. Scott focused on his record as a legislator and councilman citing tort reform, fiscal conservatism and keeping national health care out of South Carolina.

Campbell, the son of former Gov. Carroll Campbell Jr., cited his decision to enter the race before Brown had announced his retirement and his similar spirit to his father, a well-known politician. Campbell said he would stand up against the Democrats in power as well as to the Republican establishment, including saying no to selective health insurance and a government option.

Lutz, a Mount Pleasant businessman, said he would like to freeze spending at a pre-stimulus level and then lower spending by 5 percent every year for the next five years. He also said he would like to make the U.S. a tax haven and limit the length of bills that go before Congress to make them easily understood.

Republican candidates Mount Pleasant Town Councilman Ken Glasson, Isle of Palms City Councilman Ryan Buckhannon, and Charleston County Councilman Paul Thurmond, son of U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond, were not at the event Thursday. Three Democrats also are seeking the Congressional seat, commercial pilot Robert Burton, Georgetown businessman Robert Dobbs and retired accountant Dick Withington of Horry County.