Pee Dee makes final plea for 7th district - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Pee Dee makes final plea for 7th district

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Florence, SC -

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) – Residents in the Pee Dee believes wholeheartedly the area should be included in the states 7th congressional district.

More than 100 people made their arguments in front of the South Carolina State Senate Judiciary redistricting subcommittee at Florence-Darlington Technical College Wednesday night.

"In 2011, we can't think of this pocket here as being wealthy, and this pocket as being without," Wilhelmina P. Johnson said. The Lee County native now lives in Darlington and says the districts should espouse political and economic symmetry.

"We have to learn how to share the wealth for all people, and I don't think that's hard to do," Johnson suggests.

Those who attended the public forum had an opportunity to identify geographical areas they feel should be of special interest when redrawing district lines.

"I'm hoping that they're listening, because all we have to do is take a look at rural South Carolina. Someone is not doing the job that should be done for all people. And that must change," Johnson argued.

The subcommittee intended to propose Senate and Congressional districts.

Many of those who spoke to the subcommittee cited recent census figures to illustrate the Pee Dee's growth and potential for industry.

They also argue rural populations need more direct representation.

"Uphold that principle of one man one vote, regardless of ethnicity - that you have an equal voice and that you have a fair shot," Mal Weatherly insisted. He views Florence as the hub of the Pee Dee and feels everyone stands to benefit if Florence and its neighbors were include in the district.

"Then the representative knows what job needs to be done. He knows who to target. He knows what his priorities are," Weatherly added.

The South Carolina General Assembly will have to draw the state's 7 congressional districts, 46 state Senate districts and 124 Districts for the House of Representatives.

Each new congressional district must include approximately 660,767 state residents. Each new Senate district must include approximately 100,522 residents.

The subcommittee is accepting personal submissions of maps outlining the seven congressional districts.

The next public hearing is scheduled Thursday evening at 5 p.m. in the Courtroom & Council Chambers of the Ted C. Collins Law Enforcement Center in Myrtle Beach.

If you are unable to attend a public hearing, you can submit written recommendations to S.C. Senate Judiciary Committee, Redistricting Committee, P.O. Box 142, Columbia, S.C. 29202, or email them to SenateRedistircting@scsenate.gov.

All information should be submitted no later than Friday, April 8, 2011. For more information, go to redistricting.scsenate.gov.

Copyright 2011 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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