Lindsay Buchanan contributed to this story.
Residents from across the Pee Dee region attended a hearing at Florence-Darlington Technical College Wednesday night on the state’s upcoming redistricting process. The Florence hearing was the ninth in a series of hearings being held across the state by the South Carolina Senate panel overseeing the process.
Florence resident Pat Gibson-Hiemoore explained why she came.
I want to be a part of something that I think is important, that we have our say-so in the redistricting. It needs to be fair and equitable across the board. No one needs to be represented any more or any less than anyone else.
Lenora Powe from Chesterfield says she wanted to hear what others had to say.
Well, I’m on the county council and I came to make sure we keep the two senators we have, Senators Vincent Sheheen and Senator Gerald Malloy. I think that they’ve done an excellent job in our community and I’d like to see them continue to represent us.
Stephanie McLaughlin Rawlinson is president of the Women’s Republican Club for Florence County and first vice chairman for the Florence County Republican Party.
The Republican Party in Florence wants to be in the 7th District. We feel like we have a lot in common with Myrtle Beach, mainly because of our news media. All of our news comes out of Myrtle Beach, it doesn’t come out of Columbia. Unfortunately, when we’re paired in a Congressional district with Columbia we don’t get all of the news regarding our district, and that’s a real problem for our people in this area.
Rawlinson said she was concerned about where the lines are currently drawn.
Florence County is 55% Republican, but currently we’re represented in Washington, D.C. by a Democrat because we’re drawn into a congressional district that is designed for a Democrat which cause major problems for the county as a whole who vote Republican, but they’re not being represented by Republican values and issues.
She added that she has concerns about where the lines are currently drawn.” The lines for Districts 5 and 6 are very confusing. They cut Florence County in half. Precincts are cut in half and it causes problems when it comes down to… voting and when it comes to campaigning in those areas. It’s very hard to figure out who’s in which congressional district.”
Florence resident Tommy Phillips says, in the more than 50 years he’s lived in the area, he’s seen a lot of growth.
It’s grown as a Pee Dee community and as a Pee Dee community that incorporates… Darlington, Florence, Marion, Dillon, Marlboro, and then of course Horry County sits right down there. You kind of have to go through all those counties to get to Horry County and that’s why I’m here.
Senator Glenn McConnell (R-Charleston) chairs the bipartisan committee, which consists of six other senators from around the state.
The committee is taking under consideration the input it hears from citizens as they work together to devise a plan for redrawing the lines for state Senate, House, and congressional districts.
According to federal law, the lines must be redrawn every ten years to comply with the most recent census data.