Where to From Here for Columbus County
Our slogan was ‘Columbus County Will See Red’ this past election, it turned out to be more than a slogan but reality. In one swipe we took over the County Commission with three elected commissioners with one already on the board giving us a majority. Not since reconstruction has this been done. More things are coming I will not mention until the right time, but we will be getting ‘RED’ er. Remaining on the board are two Democrats that are in districts cut out ‘specifically’ for minorities, however one district cut out for our native American population has elected a ‘white’ Democrat that seems to get a lot of ‘early’ votes and has often bragged about how much money he spends to get a job paying about $14,000 per year. We have another that just changed prior to the election to unaffiliated upon hearing ‘footsteps’ behind him, for those of you that have ever played football before. So, where to from here, let us take a quick peek at the agenda.
Let us take a few lines and see what is on the clean up list for Columbus County. These are things that the county has wanted for years but no support from our board or the Democrat Party they represented. Why not? Well, it is about power and maintaining power. To sum up in one sentence what the Columbus County Republican Party wants is this, pure and simple. We want Columbus County to grow and let me explain grow. We want economic development here, jobs…good jobs that pay good. When you have good jobs, you create a good tax base for infrastructure, good schools, safe neighborhoods by having an economically healthier society, new homes built that will encourage people to move here. Who wants to move to a county with a soaring crime rate and high taxes? Columbus County has been denied this in the past because of a one-party system. Look around, the proof is showing. There are some things that need immediate attention to start the process and I will expand on that as it is the beginning; everything has a starting point.
There are four things right now needing our immediate attention. They all concern saving money and eliminating a crooked and outdated method that has put us to some extent where we are now. They are the following:
- County Wide Voting
- Less Voting precincts
- We need only five county commissioners instead of 7
- We need to look at our BOE in this county and elections
County Wide Voting
In 1991 Columbus County went from five county commissioners to seven. This was because of the ‘Voter’s Rights Act’ lawsuit filed against the county. Two minority districts were created and currently a white man is and has been in Sammy Jacob’s old district, district 3 for about three terms now. This should be changed so that the county has districts and someone from each district runs but everyone in the county votes for them. It is harder to buy elections if you must pay the whole county rather than only one district. I am speaking of early votes.
Less Voting Precincts
We have 26 voting precincts in Columbus County. These precincts were set up when going to vote on mule and wagon. This is no longer necessary; we have polls less that five miles apart and it cost $38,000 per poll to open them. This past election 79% of the people voted early, that left about 6,000 people to vote at 26 precincts or 21% on election day November 3rd. Over 20,000 people voted before the election which is unusually high it is usually around 42%. If we had only 15 precincts, we would save over $418,000 and that is a conservative estimate going by cost per poll and assuming no special elections or run-offs. Does anyone have any idea how hard it is to get people to work at the polls, I do, I fought with it just about every day through election time when you need around 150 people give or take a few for both parties. This needs to be changed.
We need only five county commissioners instead of seven
Brunswick County has about 143,000 people and they have five county commissioners. Columbus County has about 53,000 people and we have seven. I explained the reason why we have seven above. Each commissioner earns about, and I am rounding off $16,800 per year except for the chairman he/she makes a little more while he/she is chairman. Why does Columbus County need seven county commissioners when they represent less people? You could save over $33,600 per year or for a four-year term $134,400. The county could put that money in a place better spent, the options are astronomical. I have heard ‘well that’s not much in a several million-dollar budget.’ There are people in this county barely making a living and pennies turn into dollars saved, a bad argument. It is politics for those that wonder why the county is doing this.
We need to look at our BOE
We had incidents in this election, and they have been going on for years. In fact, we caught one on tape that is not going to go un-seen. I am going to ask the executive committee about us raising some money for litigation against this company that was involved, it was not the first time, but the law was clearly broken. There is more but will not be mentioned here as loose lips sink ships.
This is the beginning, and we will reach out for legal advice on all these issues. It will not be easy, but nothing is that is worthwhile. The Democrat Party has more access to ‘free money’ that we do, but we are motivated and are not afraid of work and proved that this last election. We will get these done if possible. Along the way we will stay in contact with the county and get opinions to ensure whatever we do will be fair and above board. Nothing we have on our laundry list hurts anyone, it will help everyone. We need to determine the correct method for county wide voting to use and at the last 7th District Meeting I went to a couple weeks ago I brought this up and told them I would be contacting them for their method they use to give the county a choice
I want to thank everyone for your support to the Republican Party in the past election. We survive to help you and the county not the other way around. We will stay in touch and in the meantime if you have not changed parties, we would love for you to join us.
Sammy Hinson, Chairman
Columbus County Republican Party