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South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster attended the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce Advocacy Council meeting April 12 at the historic Myrtle Beach Train Depot. In-person and virtual attendees included members of the council as well as journalists from local media outlets who were reporting on the event.
Advocacy Council Chair Radha Herring of Watermark Real Estate opened the meeting with remarks followed by Jimmy Gray, MBACC director of government affairs, and Karen Riordan, MBACC president and CEO.
Riordan introduced the governor, thanking him for his leadership over the past year through the pandemic as well as for his support of plans to extend Interstate 73 into South Carolina, connecting the Grand Strand to I-95 and beyond to Michigan.
“The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber has been working with local, state and federal leaders to advance the I-73 project, and we will continue to do so with vigor. We know that there are many post-pandemic priorities throughout our state, yet I-73 remains a critical need to spur job creation, economic development and diversification, as well as a safe evacuation route for our region,” Riordan said.
Greeted by applause, Gov. McMaster thanked the Advocacy Council for the opportunity to speak at the meeting and then shared remarks on the state’s recovery from COVID-19 as well as future growth. He emphasized that South Carolina must invest in infrastructure, including the state’s portion of I-73.
“We have to get I-73 built,” he told the crowd, explaining that the project may soon receive funding due, in part, to the federal government’s newly approved stimulus package. Guidance on the funding’s use is expected in the next 30 days, he said.
The governor also noted that the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) is moving fast on efforts to get South Carolinians back to work, including new methods to notify unemployed workers of available jobs. “DEW is all over this,” the governor said.
Part of the process of getting South Carolinians back to work is getting them vaccinated, according to Gov. McMaster, who said the state is leading the way in these efforts with approximately 1 million residents fully vaccinated.
He said the state is in a good position for the future, not only due to its COVID response but its overall appeal. “South Carolina is a great place to live, work and raise a family. We’ve got something people want; clean air, sunshine, rivers, ocean and mountains. We have the type of culture and kind of people that businesses all over the world are looking for. I think our future is bright.”
Gov. McMaster wrapped up the meeting by providing one-on-one interviews with the attending journalists.
The chamber’s Advocacy Council meets each quarter to facilitate a unified effort in advocacy of pro-Grand Strand, pro-business public policy. The council monitors public policy trends and issues for potential impact on the private sector and/or Grand Strand. It also reviews legislation and initiatives and strategically collaborates to enhance success in the public policy arena.
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