The Committee to Elect Clinger Releases Formal Statement by Robert M. Clinger III, Former Candidate for Horry County Council District #2, Reflecting on the Campaign

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Robert M. Clinger III, Republican candidate for the Horry County Council District #2 seat who was defeated in the primary election held on June 13, 2006, made a formal statement reflecting on his campaign last week. This statement follows his brief concession remarks before friends and family gathered at The Dunes Golf & Beach Club in Myrtle Beach on election night. The text of Mr. Clinger’s formal statement was posted on the campaign website on June 16, 2006.

Robert M. Clinger III, Republican candidate for the Horry County Council District #2 seat who was defeated in the primary election held on June 13, 2006, made a formal statement reflecting on his campaign last week. Mr. Clinger, who placed third among the four contenders for the open seat, conceded defeat in the primary election with only brief remarks before friends and family gathered at The Dunes Golf & Beach Club in Myrtle Beach on election night. The Committee to Elect Clinger posted the text of Mr. Clinger’s formal statement on the campaign website on June 16, 2006.

Mr. Clinger’s formal statement is as follows:

With my candidacy for Horry County Council District 2 having ended, I have had the opportunity to reflect on these last few months. Our campaign, though modest compared to competitors in this race and candidates in other races, was no less effective in delivering our message and opening minds to our views on the great issues facing our county for the future.

To those who have said that our defeat in the primary means our campaign was insignificant or all for naught and to those who did not want to see us victorious, I would offer this: We weren’t just marking time with this campaign; we made a difference. Our independent voice, free of vote-getting rhetoric, and expertise in finance and economics are a competitive advantage that far outweigh our political inexperience. Our supporters proudly recognize this and remain committed to the objectives we have outlined: maintaining low taxes, managing growth, investing in crucial infrastructure projects, promoting economic growth, and improving the quality of live. Despite our defeat, our confidence in these objectives and the principles of progress and integrity that we set forth in this campaign is unwavering.

To those who have stood with me throughout our campaign, to my friends, my family, and to the many others who supported our cause because they believed it was right, I will be eternally grateful for the support that you all gave so selflessly in pursuit of a victory. We can all be proud of the hard work that has been put forward in this campaign. As we look to the future, the work that lies ahead will be even more difficult and more considerable in magnitude as we continue to promote those objectives.

We must look to the future with optimism yet caution as we, working with our elected Council representatives, seek to address the many significant challenges that lie ahead. To reach the most responsible decisions on the major issues that will arise, we must integrate the following three criteria into the analysis and decision-making process:

1.Is the decision being made in the best interests of the people of Horry County and the communities affected?

2.Is the decision consistent with the objectives outlined in the Envision 2025 Comprehensive Plan?

3.Is the decision financially responsible and economically sound?

Many significant decisions must be made in the near future. Soon, the voters of District 2 must decide which of the two remaining candidates will best represent our area on the Council for the next four years and which of the candidates’ views and positions are most closely aligned with our interests. I would encourage those who supported my campaign to return to the polls on June 27th to vote for one of the remaining candidates that you feel will represent us well. Whatever the outcome, we must all join together in support of the candidate who wins the runoff and work towards our common cause of bettering Horry County for all its stakeholders. The ultimate winner deserves every bit as much support as each of the candidates received during our campaigns.

Selecting a representative for District 2 is only the beginning. Equally significant decisions loom on the horizon for the Council and the people. The future of the Capital Projects Sales Tax Act, the RIDE II initiative, remains uncertain. I hope that the County Council will allow the people to decide the fate of this initiative in a referendum in November. I would encourage the voters to carefully consider this proposal and what it may mean for our area. I have considered this proposal carefully and examined both the negative aspects and positive ramifications of the initiative. And while I believe in lowering the tax burden for us all, I feel that RIDE II offers us a viable option for making the investments in our infrastructure that are crucial for the continued well being of our area.

My critics and some of my former opponents suggest that we should allow Columbia to fund the transportation infrastructure projects for our area. I have always agreed that we deserve our fair share of funds from Columbia and, ideally, the State would build these roads for us. I would support any efforts to secure the necessary funding from Columbia. The reality is that this process may be long and ultimately unsuccessful. In the meantime, our situation will only get worse. To place complete faith and reliance upon policymakers in Columbia to decide our future is, in my opinion, a trust that is misplaced and misguided. Let us, the people of Horry County, be masters of our own destiny.

While this project does not meet the needs of every constituent in Horry County, I believe that there is a greater good for a greater number to be derived from this project. To be sure, the taste of this medicine may be bitter. But let us take this medicine now before our condition worsens. To those still opposed, I urge you to consider this: If the RIDE II initiative fails and Columbia does not provide funding for our roads, what is our alternative? Higher property taxes? A creaking transportation infrastructure that will be further strained? The consequences of inaction do not serve our interests well.

On the last day of the Constitutional Convention in September 1787, Benjamin Franklin expressed the following: I confess that there are several parts of this constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them…On the whole, Sir, I can not help expressing a wish that every member of the Convention who may still have objections to it, would with me, on this occasion doubt a little of his own infallibility, and to make manifest our unanimity, put his name to this instrument. Let us remember this as we consider the future of RIDE II.

Another decision facing Council is the future of the new Myrtle Beach airport terminal. I will readily confess that I would love to have a brand new airport for our area. However, I have serious reservations regarding the financial responsibility of this project. With a project cost still not locked-in, the final estimate may yet rise further. The most recent data from the airport’s website indicates that roughly $70 million in bonds will be floated to help fund the project. Should our economy experience a downturn that reduces tourism traffic through the terminal and should revenues of the airport decline, the County may be faced with a funding shortfall and, therefore, unable to service the debt obligations. As the taxpayers ultimately bear the financial responsibility, an increase in property taxes or spending cuts that deprive other projects and public works of funding may be necessary in order to prevent a default on the bonds. Horry County does not need a financial situation similar to that facing the City of Myrtle Beach and the convention center hotel.

In the final analysis, the airport decision is a question of what we want versus what we need. I believe that, for now, our interests would be better served by upgrading the existing facility at a much lower cost. I would urge great caution and financial jurisprudence in this matter going forward and encourage Council to reassess this project down the road.

Beyond these two issues, there are a number of other challenges that will confront the Council in the next four years—managing growth, property taxes, building fees, casino boats, etc. With respect to managing growth, let us seek satisfactory, fair, and reasonable compromises when the interests of developers are not exactly aligned with the wants and interests of homeowners. Let us seek property tax relief that is fiscally responsible and equitable. Let us seek to find a balance between the level of building/impact fees that does not suffocate growth but that does contribute funding for infrastructure projects required as a result of that growth.

The work that began with our campaign did not end late last Tuesday night with our defeat in the primary. Though I will not be District 2’s representative on the Council, we will still be heard, and we can still make a difference. Let us all join together in affirming our common commitment to bettering Horry County and in helping the Council succeed for the benefit of all our people. I am confident that working together we can confront those challenges that lie ahead and achieve great strides for the future.

More information on Mr. Clinger, his campaign, and his concession remarks is available on the campaign website.

Press Contact:

The Committee to Elect Clinger

Telephone: 843-902-7599

Website: http://www.clinger2006.com

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Sebastian Perey
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