Government & Politics

Special primary election Tuesday to fill 7th district council seat

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Candidates on both sides of the political aisle will face their first test with voters Tuesday in a special primary election to fill the seat of retiring Horry County Councilman James Frazier.

The 77-year-old Bucksport native was the first African-American elected to the council and its longest-serving member. He stepped down from his seat on March 1 after 35 years of service due to health issues.

In Tuesday’s runoff election, three Democratic candidates will square off for their party’s nomination, while two Republicans are also competing at a chance to take the historically Democratic seat.

The special general election to decide which party’s candidate will serve is scheduled for July 5. The 7th district includes U.S. 701’s southern corridor and much of Conway.

The Sun News sent a questionnaire to all the candidates this week. Republican Mike Robers was the only one who did not respond.

Some responses have been edited.

Name: Orton Bellamy

Age: 60

Occupation: Real estate agent and owner of Parole and Pardon Consulting Services

Family: Widower with one daughter

Education: BA degree in criminal justice, master’s degree in public administration

Civic and political experience: Served 20 years as a member and chairman of S.C. Probation, Parole and Pardon Board

Military Experience: Retired Army officer, served 21 years active duty

Question How would you address the issue of rising crime in Horry County, and management of the Horry County Police Department?

Answer A community can take several steps to prevent crime in our neighborhoods and decreasing the number of victims of a crime. Immediate measures to prevent crime in our community are: identifying the needed support and resources; promoting after-school programs, tutoring centers, and extracurricular activities for our youths and adolescents to deter negative influences; partnering with the police department to provide a centralized focus on solving problems instead of reacting to events; conducting periodic clean-up community service events in the neighborhood; immediate reporting of suspicious activity to the police; conducting training and awareness sessions with the communities on various subject matters such as reporting crimes, crime prevention, cultural diversity training, expectations of the law enforcement role and its expectation of the community. Horry County Police deserves geographically competitive salaries. Funding should be provided for continuous professional development opportunities for officers.

Question With the road selection made for new construction projects in the RIDE III program, how would you address maintenance needs on other roads in the 7th district and countywide?

Answer I would continue the established initiatives of the RIDE III Program’s plans for paving the county’s 600 miles of dirt roads with a cost of $60 million. The plan also includes resurfacing 100 miles of county roads with a cost of $15 million. The county has appropriated funding for road maintenance for each individual district and countywide roads. It would be a priority for me to continue to promote these initiatives.

Question What is the most pressing issue facing residents in Horry County and how would you address it?

Answer There are several critical issues facing the residents in Horry County, but the most critical issues are: promoting safety for all citizens; promoting economic development (I-73), and public transportation:

1. It is important that we work with our law enforcement agencies and their initiatives to deter crime in our communities.

2. Construction of I-73 will be the catalyst for promoting and fostering economic development in Horry County. I-73 is essential to attracting high-paying jobs to Horry County, I’m a very enthusiastic supporter of I-73.

3. It is important to provide annual dedicated funding for Coast Regional Transportation Authority and expand services throughout the county. Public transportation is very critical for employees to have transportation to and from work, as well as students attending Horry Georgetown Technical College and Coastal Carolina University.

Question How would you help create more higher paying jobs in Horry County?

Answer As of April 6, 2016, Horry County has received certification through the South Carolina Work Ready Communities (SCWRC) initiative. South Carolina leads the nation with the most certified work-ready communities. Our state continues to attract international business development due to its commitment to economic growth and a robust workforce pipeline. To meet the needs of new industry moving to Horry County, we have the capacity to provide the facilities for training potential employees. Horry Georgetown Technical College provides educational opportunities in various fields of studies to promote high paying jobs such as health care services, welding, robotic technology, electronic engineering, civil engineering and aviation maintenance.

Name: Harold L. Phillips

Age: 68

Occupation: Retired military officer with 26 years service, small business owner

Family: Wife, Geneva, one son, three grandchildren

Education: Dekalb Community College

Civic and political experience: Served on Horry County Solid Waste Board for 8 years and chairman for 2, presently serving on the Horry County Planning Commission, also chairman of the W.E.O.C board of directors

Question How would you address the issue of rising crime in Horry County, and management of the Horry County Police Department?

Answer I would first meet with the community leaders to determined the problem, then the public safety department head and council members to determine our best course of action in solving or handling the problem.

Question With the road selection made for new construction projects in the RIDE III program, how would you address needs on other roads in the 7th district and countywide?

Answer That’s a good question, the county is responsible for maintaining all county roads which is about 800 miles of paved road and adding more roads to a system that’s already at a point where something needs to be done (before it) creates more problems. We need roads and we want them maintained, so we as a council have to come up with ways to reduce the cost of maintaining our roads without reducing the quality of maintenance on all our roads.

Question What is the most pressing issue facing residents in Horry County and how would you it?

Answer In my talking with some of residents of district 7, public safety and roads especially 50, also drainage problems in the rural areas of the county after the flood we had. I would ensure the concerns of the community are brought to the council and we will have the required committee address those issues and bring a solution back to the council for action

Question How would you help create more higher-paying jobs in Horry County?

Answer By working with the economic development to get busy locating companies that want to come to Horry County and what it takes to get them to locate here, now that we have a functional railroad this should be a big selling point.

Name: Robert J. Shelley

Age: 60

Occupation: Retired from the Horry County Police Department in 2004, current supervisor with the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles, Dealer Licensing & Audit Unit

Family: Wife Tammy M. Shelley, daughters Lyndsey E. Shelley, Dara C. Shelley

Education: Graduated Conway High School, attended Coastal Carolina University

Civic and political experience: None – first running for office

Military Experience: None

Question How would you address the issue of rising crime in Horry County, and management of the Horry County Police Department?

Answers The salaries and benefits for the police officers with the Horry County Police Department as well as those of the Sheriff’s office need to compete with other departments of similar size in South Carolina. Competitive salaries will retain experienced police officers within the department. In addition, increasing the number of police officers on the street would reduce response time and decrease the size of an officer’s assigned area of Horry County. This would make law enforcement officers much more visible in the community and will serve to deter crime.

Question With the road selection made for new construction projects in the RIDE III program, how would you address maintenance needs on other roads in the 7th district and countywide?

Answer I think it is important to work towards paving the remaining dirt roads in District 7. I would also seek improvements to Highway 501 to make that highway safer for the citizens of Horry County as well as the tourists visiting our area. I would like to see the fruition of The Southern Evacuation Lifeline as it would also benefit the citizens of Horry County by providing an alternate route to 501. We can’t forget that new roads are necessary but we must work to maintain the existing roads in our county as well.

Question What is the most pressing issue facing residents in Horry County and how would you address it?

Answer Public Safety: County Council must be dedicated to adequately funding operation of Horry County Fire and Rescue, Horry County Police and Sheriff’s departments and providing the tools they need to better protect themselves and our citizens.

Many local residents depend on the Coast RTA as their means of transportation to and from work and County Council should dedicate funding annually to insure adequate service.

Question How would you help create more higher-paying jobs in Horry County?

Answer Council needs to focus on infrastructure development, which will provide an immediate impact on our economy and attract new businesses to Horry County. But most importantly, County Council should encourage new businesses by developing a more business friendly environment, and removing unnecessary regulations.

Horry County is my home. I am willing and able to work with our communities, leaders and the county government to support improvements that will enrich the lives of our citizens and encourage economic growth of our great county. My desire is to make Horry County a safe and inviting place for our citizens and visitors. I would be honored to give back to Horry County by serving the constituents of District 7.

Name: Lee Sherman

Age: 65

Occupation: Retired

Family: Wife, Dorothy, children Schizo, Lamalik, Tabatha, Shonda, eight grandchildren

Education: Whittemore High School, attended St. Paul College and Horry Georgetown Technical College

Civic and political experience: Served as president of the Association For The Betterment Of The Bucksport Community, and president of the Kingston Lake Baptist Association.

Question How would you address the issue of rising crime in Horry County, and management of the Horry County Police Department?

Answer We need to take more time to reach out to the younger generation. I used to take 120 boys and some chaperones fishing, and would take kids to the Darlington races and other sporting events. We need to keep them busy and active, and it needs to start in the home with parents reaching out to their children. But it also takes a spiritual and moral point of view. My platform is to raise our voice for our power for our community, and it takes a community to reach out, volunteer and show our love to help our children. I also think we need to work with prisoners to prevent repeat offenders, and that more jobs would mean less crime. Tough choices will need to be made, and I’m the guy to make those decisions.

Question With the road selection made for new construction projects in the RIDE III program, how would you address maintenance needs on other roads in the 7th district and countywide?

Answer Roads, roads and roads is one of my main concerns, as well as improving drainage in all the ditches and getting rid of the toxic water and waste it collects. Kids are playing in the ditches and getting germs and diseases, and it’s a breeding area for mosquitoes and the Zika virus.

Question What is the most pressing issue facing residents in Horry County and how would you address it?

Answer One of the problems is we can’t use the Frazier building for catastrophes or shelter during hurricanes because it’s not up to code. I think that building should be utilized more, right now it’s closed during the day and open during the evening. We could use it for computer training or satellite office for police, but most of the time it’s locked up.

Question How would you help create more higher-paying jobs in Horry County?

Answer We need to encourage industry to come into the county, work with stakeholders like Santee Cooper and Horry Telephone Company to offer incentives so we can put 200 to 300 people to work. If we don’t have an incentive plan, then Georgetown will reap the benefit of everything Horry County turns away. We’ve got to have diplomacy among our leaders.

Myrtle Beach alone is not enough for our children, and I hate to see our children leave Horry County and the state to find good jobs with benefits and retirement plans.

Audrey Hudson: 843-444-1765, @AudreyHudson

If you vote

The following polling places will be open May 17 from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. to cast ballots:

Adrian Academy of Tech & Academics-5639 Hwy 701 N, Conway

East Conway Conway Library – 801 Main St, Conway

Four Mile Bethany Bible Chapel-1668 Four Mile Rd, Conway

Homewood Homewood Elem School - 2711 N Hwy 701, Conway

Inland Bucksport Lib/EMS – 7657 Hwy 701 S, Conway

Jamestown South Conway Elem School – 3001 4th Ave, Conway

Maple Maple Baptist Church – 4500 Hwy 65, Conway

North Conway #1 Collins Park Bldg – Main & 16th Ave, Conway

North Conway #2 Conway Elem School – 1101 Snowhill Dr, Conway

Pawley Swamp Pawley Swamp Bapt Church – 7480 Pawley Swamp Rd, Conway

Port Harrelson Bucksport Senior Center – 1370 Bucksport Rd, Conway

Racepath #1 Conway Senior Center – 1519 Millpond Rd, Conway

Racepath #2 Whittemore Pk Middle School – 1808 Rhue St, Conway

Red Hill #1 Waccamaw Elem School – 251 Claridy Rd, Conway

Salem Salem Methodist Church – 2376 Hwy 90, Conway

Toddville Union Methodist Church – 4491 S Hwy 701, Conway

West Conway Horry County Justice Center – 1301 2nd Ave, Conway

Wild Wing Christ the Servant Lutheran Church – 2105 E Hwy 501, Conway

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