McGill and challenger, McKnight, face off over Senate 32 seat
Yancey McGill faces a challenge from fellow Democrat Cezar McKnight for reelection to his S.C. Senate 32 seat.
McGill has served in the Senate since 1988. Prior to that he was mayor of Kingstree for four years.
He is married to Pamela Fennell. They have three children and two grandchildren.
McKnight, an attorney in Kingstree, is a former assistant solicitor who was admitted to the United States District Court of South Carolina in 2002.
Q: How will Georgetown County be a better place two years from now if you are elected?
McGill: We will continue a strong, unified partnership with the Georgetown industrial, business, county, cities and private sectors. Recruitment for new industry and expansion of our base industries will change and strengthen the economic job creation in Georgetown County and the entire region. Tourism will continue to be a major area of focus.
The next two years we will see new jobs, new capital investment, protection of the environment and green space, and protection of our beaches, rivers and natural habitat area.
The quality of life will be improved for our citizens both economically and socially. Funding will be secured for dredging the Port of Georgetown as well as for the continuation of Phase II of the Andrews 521 By-Pass.
McKnight: When I am elected, Georgetown County citizens, and all citizens in Senate District 32 will have equal access to me and the office, in addition to state and local programs and services.
I plan to issue monthly updates to inform citizens of current and ongoing senate business. I’ll work closely with Georgetown County’s local officials and facilitate applying for State and Federal funding for projects that are important to the interests and needs of the communities in Georgetown.
Q: What areas or programs do you think could use more funding?
McGill: Education, healthcare, economic development, law enforcement, fire departments, highway improvements, water and waste treatment expansions, youth and senior adult programs, First Steps, the Diabetes Core program, beach renourishment and libraries are areas of vital importance where more funding can always be helpful. We must keep in mind though that we have to be good financial stewards and we cannot spend funding we do not have available.
McKnight: There are several programs that need more funding.
Our most pressing need: decent, safe, sanitary, and affordable housing.
When I am elected, I will support adding more funds and easier access to these funds to support this need. I will support larger tax credits for job creation ensuring that more people who want to work will have access to better paying jobs.
Additionally, I will support more funding for infrastructure projects including roads, water, sewer, and community buildings; we need these internal structures within our communities to promote a better quality of life, planned growth, and sustainability.
Q: What will you do as a state elected official to try to help secure funding for the dredging of the Georgetown Port?
McGill: We (Senator McGill and Senator Cleary) have had public meetings with the Georgetown Port Dredging Task Force, and with local leaders, State Ports Authority officials, the U.S. Corps of Engineers, and other vital groups. We have secured funding in the amount of $18.5 Million in the Senate Finance Committee and that was supported by a vote of the full S.C. Senate. This bill is in the S.C. House awaiting their approval.
The Georgetown County Council has applied for a $12.5 Million TIGER Grant through the Federal Dept. of Transportation. In addition, our U. S. Congressional Delegation has targeted funding at the federal level that should complete the funding package for dredging the Port of Georgetown.
McKnight: I will work with our United States Congressman, James Clyburn, as well as our other U.S. Senators and our Governor and state legislators to secure available state dollars for this absolutely necessary project. Most importantly, I will take the lead towards a collaborative effort to having meaningful, ongoing dialogue with all of the above mentioned public officials and local community leaders. We must work collaboratively to solicit funds from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and all other agencies that regulate our ports and coastal waterways.
Q: How do you feel about the way the sinkhole situation in Georgetown has been handled by state and local officials?
McGill: The Georgetown Legislative Delegation has been supportive of the efforts seeking closure to a legal situation which cannot be resolved politically.
The property owners have been more than patient. Employees have been displaced by the sinkhole disaster.
First, the drainage project itself has to be completed and financial settlements have to be paid for damages. The State Insurance Reserve Fund (Budget and Control Board) and the engineers at the Department of Transportation have been handling this process professionally, but have been slowed in their response due to legal issues.
The Delegation has been frustrated with the timetable, but realized from the first day of this unique situation that the remedy would take time. We have met, negotiated and mediated with all the concerned parties. The Georgetown Delegation wants an end to this process.
The road repairs have continued, and the drainage project should be completed within the next several months. No one, state, local or private, was prepared for this highly unusual occurrence in the City of Georgetown. While there is nothing that can be done legislatively, we certainly hope to see this process fully resolved within six months.
McKnight: The sinkhole situation in Georgetown must be made a high priority, and my feeling is that our current state senator has not taken enough of a lead in making this issue just that, a high priority.
As the newly elected Senator, I will meet with local government to get accurate information about the sinkhole situation, and work together with them to ensure that we rectify the problem.
We must have community input; local homeowners and businesses are bearing the brunt of the problem.
By Scott Harper
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