NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Eight candidates vying to fill three open seats on the North Myrtle Beach City Council gathered Wednesday to talk economics, jobs and tourism.
The moderated forum with prepared questions was hosted by the North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce, and drew several residents and campaign supporters to their headquarters.
The following candidates attended the forum:
Cherry Grove Ward:
- Doris Williams
- Fred Coyne
- William B. Ambrose, Jr.
- J. Baldwin
- Terry Fletcher
- Hank Thomas
- Gary Stephens
- Tom Powell
Candidates were asked three questions focusing on building and maintaining tourism in North Myrtle Beach, tourism promotion, turning to smoke-free facilities and jobs.
Several candidates said North Myrtle Beach is on the right track with their efforts to expand off-season tourism by embracing sports tourism. The idea of a multi-million dollar sports complex was recently approved by city council, but candidates said Wednesday it's now the city's job to capitalize on the new amenity.
Candidates say while tourism continues to bring in nearly $400 million to the oceanfront town each year, the city should also focus on how it can improve and diversify its workforce.
Several candidates say more jobs catering to the middle-class should be drawn to North Myrtle Beach in sectors like technology and manufacturing.
North Myrtle Beach residents will vote on who will fill the three vacant city council seats on Nov. 1.