MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Matthew Hardee is a Myrtle Beach native who has lived on 13th Ave. S his entire life. He currently leads the music ministry for his church, Jamestown Baptist Church, and studies political science as a student at Coastal Carolina University.
Hardee is running on the campaign slogan 'We Can Do Better!'
He met WMBF News at his favorite spot in Myrtle Beach, Withers Swash Park. It's a place he said needs a lot of work, and is a place he frequently sees needles and homeless people. This is one problem he'd want to change if elected. "It's time to elect leaders who aren't scared of the problems, who aren't scared to step up when there is a problem and address it. It's also a time to elect leaders who are going to listen to the needs of the public and address those needs and create a better, safer, cleaner environment in this city," he stated.
Hardee on re-development:
Hardee said downtown Myrtle Beach needs an update, but is mostly fine as is. If elected, he'd be for re-painting the area. Parking should be added, he said, but noted garages are located nearby. He does not want to see a children's museum and library built in the Five Points area. He said it won't attract more tourists, but lasting restaurants and businesses will.
"I don't like the idea of a library and a children's museum, especially a children's museum...since EdVenture isn't willing to put up money for it. Along with this, we need to bring in businesses, we need to attract businesses that can last here...we can offer incentives, we can offer so many things. But, with revitalization, first comes public safety...and if we don't offer public safety then I don't know what good comes with revitalization. I mean, right back here is Family Kingdom. The 25 year conceptual plan has no more Family Kingdom. Family Kingdom's gone...it's turned into an art park, parking garages and that sort of stuff. So what I'm saying here is I don't like the current plan and what they're trying to do," he said.
- Support small business
- Get rid of loophole laws & regulations
- Stop eminent domain
- lower taxes
- Make sure taxes spent properly
- Disband DRC immediately
- Resolve homeless issues with compassion
- Invest in infrastructure & transportation
Hardee on public safety:
Hardee believes in community policing and believes it isn't utilized in Myrtle Beach. He said police are being pushed to the tourist areas too much, and not enough towards neighborhoods. Officers are being stretched thin, he said. Hardee also wants to invest in more police technology and cameras, if elected. While interviewing with WMBF News at Withers Swash Park, he pointed to cameras there he believes help with crime in the area.
Hardee doesn't think 70 new police officers will be enough in the next seven years.
"I like the idea of 70 more officers, unfortunately not all of those are uniformed officers. But with that, I don't like the time span. Seven years is far too long to get those officers in here. We have the ability to get them in here, we have the quality of life to bring more officers here, we have the beach and all sorts of things...we have plenty of room for them to come, let's get the officers here. Let's offer them a good pay raise, but I really want to go back to community policing more than anything. We have several neighborhood watches, and we're still growing. I'm working with a group of people now trying to start another one, and every single neighborhood watch has an area I think they should have their own certain amount...two to four officers that they know...and they know that area...and those officers are always there, always on call. They know where the problems occur in the area, where to go if there's a problem and those sorts of things," Hardee said.
- Combat drugs/crime/prostitution/immoral behavior
- No barricades on the boulevard
- Free parking for county residents
- Clean, accessible beaches
For Hardee's full answers to the questions, watch the clips above.
This is the second of WMBF News' profiles of Myrtle Beach City Council candidates. The series began Oct. 16, and will run nine days, with the last candidate being profiled Oct. 26. WMBF News will interview each of the nine candidates in alphabetical order, and will ask the same three questions to each. Those questions are about re-development, public safety and why he or she should be chosen for city council.
Here are the air dates for each candidate:
- Oct. 16: Ann Dunham
- Oct. 17: Matthew Hardee
- Oct. 18 Mike Hobeika
- Oct. 19 Mike Lowder (incumbent)
- Oct. 20 Brooks Myers
- Oct. 23 Gregg Smith
- Oct 24 Kevin VanWinkle
- Oct 25 Jackie Vereen
- Oct 26 Randall Wallace (incumbent)