In a U.S. Congressional representative, it is a matter of effectiveness. For this simple reason, I am in support of Tom Rice continuing to serve as our 7th District, U.S. House Representative.
As Chairman of the Georgetown Port Task Force, I have had the opportunity to work with Tom Rice in advocating for funding of maintenance dredging for the Georgetown Port, which has lacked any reasonable attention for the past two decades.
The Georgetown Port has lacked funding for routine maintenance dredging because it has been unable to surpass 1 million tons per year in volume. Consequently, the port is a “chicken and egg” scenario; whereas, the port cannot be dredged unless the volume is above 1.0 Million Tons, and the volume cannot be reached unless the port is dredged.
Tom has been effective in forging meaningful relationships with key federal leaders, which has enabled him to be is a position to advocate for the Georgetown Port. Tom was assigned as a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the U.S. House committee that is responsible for oversight of America’s ports. Tom was effective in having the chairman of the U.S. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee visit Georgetown, in order for him to see, first hand, the situation and needs of our port.
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Tom was effective in co-writing language in the Water Resources Reform & Development Act (WRRDA) that allows Georgetown’s port to be eligible for federal funds for maintenance dredging, without having to meet the 1 million ton per year threshold established by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Tom was effective in being selected to the WRRDA U.S. House/Senate Conference Committee, resulting in the Act being signed into law.
Two years ago, he promised to work on behalf of the Georgetown Port to secure federal funding and support. I am pleased that he has worked diligently to fulfill his promise by obtaining the ability to receive the matching federal funds required to dredge the port. While the federal and state portions of funding have been allocated, the local 15 percent matching funds required will be on referendum vote on the Nove. 4th ballot for Georgetown County residents.
The writer lives in Georgetown County and is president of EnviroSep and Tilley Technologies, Inc., chairman of the Georgetown County Economic Development Alliance, chairman of the Georgetown Port Task Force, and vice-chairman of the Horry Georgetown Technical College Foundation.