Republicans vying for Florence State Senate seat - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Republicans vying for Florence State Senate seat

Long-standing Sen. Hugh Leatherman faces competition from two fellow Republicans. (Source: WMBF News) Long-standing Sen. Hugh Leatherman faces competition from two fellow Republicans. (Source: WMBF News)

FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) The South Carolina State Senate seat held by the same man for 35 years is now being challenged in the Pee Dee.

Dean Fowler, treasurer of Florence County, Richard Skipper, chairman of the Florence County Republican Party, and Hugh Leatherman, senator and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, are all looking to win votes in the election for District 31.

WMBF News asked each candidate about past experiences that set them apart from their opponents.

“There is not a top five. I’ve got hundreds and hundreds. If I went down the list from the time I was first in the Senate, your newscast could not run it all today,” said Leatherman.

He added he recently has been pushing and getting state funds to help boost the education of younger students.

“My latest one in education is early childhood education. It’s a phenomenal program. We have got to get those young children,” Leatherman said.

Leatherman has been successful in getting state funds to fuel those efforts through Florence School District One.

“The power belongs to the people. They are tired of it being abused,” said Fowler. “They are tired of their power being usurped by people who glad hand one another. You know, give you a plate of barbecue or something and make you think they are doing something wonderful for you.”

Fowler has been in his current role as treasurer for 15 years. He said his experience has taught him what the people of Florence County need.

“I’m at the places where people bare their hearts and souls to you and they want someone who will remember them and not all the giveaways. They realize that when money is given away, it’s their money and it’s going to be them that ultimately has to pay the price,” Fowler said.

Fowler said he wants to show the people how a politician is supposed to serve and be fiscally responsible with their money.

He added that his office handled $500 million last year.

“It’s certainly not my plan to go to Columbia and be serving when I’m 75 or 80 years old,” said Skipper. “I think leaders should go up there and build a path and encourage good people. They build a path for other people to come behind them and serve.”

Skipper said he would also focus on reforming some agencies’ departments, ethics and tightening term limits.

“I believe in terms limits. I don’t know what those terms are, but I believe we need turnover in our leadership for time to time,” Skipper said.

Skipper is also a local insurance agent and will soon be stepping down as chairman of the Florence County Republican Party.

Copyright 2016 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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