Local leaders, community members bring Grand Strand issues to Columbia

Local leaders, community members bring Grand Strand issues to Columbia

COLUMBIA, SC (WMBF) - Local members and leaders of the Grand Strand met with state representatives during the 2015 Legislative Reception.

Just as it's important for local members of the community to voice their concerns to those who help make the decisions, several state officials said they too enjoy and learn a great deal from crossing paths with people they normally wouldn't.

It wasn't long before a line formed to collect their name tags and head into the reception.

Among the 300 or so people who showed up to meet were state and house representatives.

"We've also had some constitutional officers like Alan Wilson who are coming here to find out what's happening in the Grand Strand," Brad Dean said.

Though put on by the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber president said it's more about giving a voice to the entire Grand Strand.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson did want to catch up with what was happening on the Grand Strand, and said it was because of the crucial role it plays in the state's economy.

"I've gotten to speak with several members of the delegation on various pieces of legislation. Obviously we're standing here on a replica of I-73, I know that's very important to the industry out there," Wilson explained.

"I think because they're talking infrastructure this year, even though the priority is on maintenance, we don't want them to forget that if we could build 35 miles of asphalt - would create thousand jobs and that would lead to an economic explosion in the Grand Strand and Pee Dee," Dean said.

Another big topic of conversation during the reception was the amount of tourism generated by the Grand Strand. South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Director Duane Parish feels the reception goes a long way.

"It takes that infrastructure from state government to local government to private individuals such as myself in my prior career in the hotel business, that can create an atmosphere to...get everyone to understand how important it is and, two, get everyone on the same boat," Parish said.

Senator Luke Rankin believes the timing could not be more perfect.

"It's a great impact during the session so as the needs we have or whatever the issues we're debating, we can put a local spin on it," Rankin added.

Myrtle Beach Area President, Brad Dean says this event has proven to be a success in the past and has no doubt that will be the case this year. Attorney General Alan Wilson says he has two weeks worth of meetings scheduled from the reception alone.

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