Forty years ago this week, the first edition of the Horry Independent took life.
The memory is as fresh in my mind today as it was four decades ago. My staff of Kathy Ropp, Annette Johnson, and Robbie Huggins worked throughout the night to meet the March 25 deadline while my wife watched our kids.
I was still making corrections as my friend, Rudy Price, drove me to Whiteville N.C., where the first copies rolled off the press.
A lot of people didn’t think the upstart newspaper would last very long.
Not only has it lasted, Waccamaw Publishers has added six other newspapers over the years including the Myrtle Beach Herald, the Carolina Forest Chronicle, the Loris Scene, the North Strand News, the News & Shopper and VISIT!
From the beginning, God has blessed our mission to provide communities that we serve with factual, unbiased journalism.
I surrounded myself with talented people who shared my vision of what great local newspapers should be.
Local businesses supported these efforts and I truly appreciate their loyalty.
None of the success our papers enjoy could have happened without the thousands of readers who subscribe to our papers or pick one up at the newsstand.
Over my career, I have avoided associating our papers with any political party or group. That is why I have made the difficult decision to step down as publisher.
Concerned by the impact the pandemic has inflicted on our nation and our communities, I decided last week to seek the office of S.C. House of Representatives District 105.
I am convinced the disease paralyzing our country will eventually retreat or be eradicated. However, the toll it has placed on the economy is devastating.
I do not think the economy will bounce back as quickly as some may believe. And, at some point the state and the nation will have to address the mountain of debt incurred to help mitigate economic hardships.
I would like to be part of the recovery and the rebuilding process. I believe I have business skills, communication abilities and a conservative approach to government that will allow me to serve our state and District 105 in a proactive manner.
As a society we will have to think outside the box, something I’ve been doing since 1980.
My desire is to keep Waccamaw Publishers politically neutral.
For that reason, this is the last column I will write for our newspapers until after the election.
It has been my great pleasure to share my thoughts with you over the past 40 year on this editorial page. Readers tell me they sometimes disagree with my viewpoint. That’s okay. At other times, they appreciate my frank opinions on local, state and national issues.
One thing is for sure. I have never been afraid to let you know where I stand and I don’t shy away from making difficult choices.
God willing, and if the electorate votes in my favor, I will get an opportunity to serve you in a different capacity as your voice in the S.C. General Assembly
Thank you for supporting our community newspapers, for advertising your businesses with us, and for being such loyal readers.
All of you are in my thoughts and prayers as we move through these challenging times and prepare for better days ahead.