Much of the best political advice Randal Wallace ever got came from the late James Frazier, an Horry County councilman who died in 2016 after serving for 35 years.
Some of that advice is the title of Wallace’s book, “Always Vote Your Conscience.”
And the sub title of the book that Wallace says describes “lessons learned from a lifetime in politics” is “Don’t take it personally & don’t fight the same old battles over and over again,” also Frazier-isms.
After serving on Myrtle Beach City Council for 16 years until 2018, Wallace has a good bit to say about how the city – and the country – should be run, and his 500-plus page book lays that out.
The autobiographical book also details Wallace’s personal life, including a particularly rough time when his 25-year-old brother, step-father and father passed away, and his mother battled cancer and the beginning of dementia.
Explaining the reason for the book, Wallace wrote, “This book is an attempt to get back on track and put my thoughts back in front of you,” and he adds that he has no plans to run for public office again.
His political journey began when he found a student’s scrapbook about the 1960 presidential campaign that his mother, who’d been a schoolteacher, saved.
“It was about John Kennedy and Nixon, and how it survived in the house for 20 years I have no idea,” he says.
“The scrapbook was fascinating, and at the same time, the 1980 presidential campaign started. I’m a Republican now,” he says, “but I started campaigning for Ted Kennedy.”
He was 9 years old, standing on the side of the road with a poster board sign endorsing Kennedy.
When his man lost, Wallace turned his sign over and encouraged folks to support Ronald Reagan.
He says he was probably the only person in the country who supported both Ted Kennedy and Ronald Reagan in the same election cycle.
One of the issues Wallace is passionate about today is Congress working full time. And while he says “It may be naïve pie-in-the sky thinking,” he also says, “If they worked a five-day work week, maybe they could work together to find solutions.”
And while his book outlines that possibility going forward, it also talks about the past and some of the good things that happened, and didn’t happen.
For example, Wallace writes about Richard Nixon “being in the process of re-organizing the government and welfare reform.”
Those are things he says would move the country forward, but adds “The Eisenhower/Nixon mentality was a missed opportunity. Had we continued down that path, some of the problems we have now would have been resolved.”
Wallace says that in the 40 years between 1946 and 1996, “the World War ll generation ran this country, and while they made mistakes like Viet Nam and Watergate, those people knew how to run the country.
“What we have now started in ’98 with the impeachment of Bill Clinton and it’s like Dad left and the kids are running over Mother.”
Wallace admits he’s “old school” and says that “No one is playing the role of ‘Let’s act for the good of the country instead of the good of my party.’”
Politics is extreme, he says, “very far right or very far left, and you can’t run a country like that for long.
“You don’t run your marriage or your family or your business with extreme views - my way or the highway - you’ve got to compromise.”
Wallace has opinions about Donald Trump, health care, Social Security and immigration.
He also has opinions about professional wrestling, millennials and plastic, which he calls the “nightmare of the sea.”
While he says he’ll always be interested in local and national politics, today Wallace is a real estate agent with Waccamaw Land and Timber Company and says he still “does some political work for friends.”
His book is available on Amazon and on Kindle.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the age of Randal Wallace's younger brother.