GEORGETOWN, SC (WMBF) - Right now the House has a plan that would lump Horry County with Georgetown and seven other counties which would give Horry County more political power. But the Senate's plan would combine Horry, Georgetown and Charleston. Many are worried that Horry's voice would be lost because of Charleston's size.
Tuesday the House and Senate will come together to see if the House will approve the Senate's plan. If they do not, we could be looking at a free conference committee where three members of the House and Senate separately come up with a revised plan and then come together for approval.
It is an extremely difficult and complicated process that even lawmakers are concerned will lead to a gridlock. Senators say it is all about getting more representation in Washington. Senator Dick Elliot says, "I believe that area will send somebody to congress who is very conservative and will do their part to help us balance the debt and get us on to solid financial ground in this country which we must do if we're going to survive in the future." Senator Elliot says it may take a year before a solution is reached and then the court may end up drawing our redistricting lines if we are not able to come up with a solution.
Lawmakers say the biggest issues we have on the table are our roads and jobs. Where Horry County is put on the map could determine if we get the representation to bring them to our area. The biggest road project is I-73 because we are one of the largest tourist destinations that does not have immediate access to an interstate. Some believe not having an interstate limits our road system to get everybody out safely in an emergency like a hurricane evacuation.
Horry County Council member Tom Rice says we could see a fifteen percent increase in tourism with a new road. Rice believes it would make it easier for people to get here which would boost our economy even more. When it comes to bringing jobs in, a representative could push for Horry County to be an attractive option. Lawmakers say we need someone who's looking out for our needs.
Horry County Council Chairman Tom Rice says, "Different parts of the country are always competing for federal dollars everybody has their projects that are very important to them and the question is how do those dollars get prioritized. If we don't have our own representative we're always going to be playing second fiddle."
Locals understand how serious this is and a group from the Pee Dee is leaving from the Magnolia Mall in Florence to go to Columbia to let lawmakers know how important this issue is to our future.