SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Russell Fry took his oath of office for the State House Seat 106 on Saturday afternoon at the Surfside Beach Council Chambers.
Fry won the Republican runoff earlier this summer with nearly 60 percent of the vote. Then on September 15 he won the general election uncontested.
Fry takes the seat vacated by former state Rep. Nelson Hardwick, who resigned in May after ten years in the seat. He resigned amid allegations that he harassed a female House staffer.
According to a press release announcing Fry's swearing in, almost all of Fry's work for the Republican Party has been behind the scenes helping local, regional, and state campaigns. The release also states that in 2013, he was elected to the party's executive committee and re-elected earlier this year.
Fry ran on a campaign of infrastructure improvements, boosting better business, and education reform. Fry told WMBF News when he won the runoff election in August that he has always been focused listening to the voters and serving the 5th District.
Fry is 30 years old. He is not the youngest representative, but he does plan on bringing that fresh perspective to the state capital. He wants to focus on a balanced approach of catering to businesses, locals, and tourists. Especially for those in the South Strand, which is where he is from. Fry was born in Surfside Beach.
"It's a wonderful place," says Fry. "And I look forward to working with the town council here and of course our county council so that we preserve the quality of life here and enhance it."
Fry wants to focus on infrastructure improvements, educations reform, and boosting business.
"People my age are going to Charlotte, going to Atlanta, or Charleston," says Fry. "And we need to make sure we're being competitive here. And we need skilled people here as well."
Rep. Fry says he has everyone in mind in his district when he heads to Columbia. The 106th Districts includes Surfside Beach, Garden City, Burgess, Deerfield, Glenns Bay, and Marlowe. Fry says creating a healthy environment to boost business is key to satisfying businesses, locals, and tourists. And to keep people here, education reform will be crucial to Fry.
"We need to fundamentally change the way education is done," says Fry. "Give more choices to parents. Allow them to make the best decisions for their child so that where you grow up doesn't determine your quality of education."
Fry mentioned looking at how Indiana is successful in providing parents more options to cater education to their children. But Fry is not just focused on grade school. Fry wants to make sure all students are given realistic opportunities to pursue university or training for a specific skill.
Rep. Fry also plans to continue the SELL program from his predecessor. SELL is the Southern Evacuation Lifeline.
He is the co-owner of a small consulting business and lawyer with the Coastal Law firm in Myrtle Beach. He is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and the Charleston School of Law.
Fry chose the Surfside Beach Council Chambers for the location of his swearing in because he was born in Surfside and graduated from Socastee High School. The Speaker of the South Carolina House, Jay Lucas, administered the oath.
Fry's term will come to an end next November during the slated general election.