SC Democrats meet at Galivants Ferry - - Columbia, South Carolina

SC Democrats meet at Galivants Ferry

(Galivants Ferry) May 1, 2006 - Delaware Senator Joe Biden says President Bush has made a number of mistakes in his five years in office from the war in Iraq to responding to Hurricane Katrina. Biden spoke to about 2,000 people Monday afternoon at the traditional Galivants Ferry Stump meeting for Democrats in Horry County.

Biden says Bush won't be remembered for his mistakes, but instead for squandering a number of opportunities.

Another potential presidential candidate, Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, was in Columbia on Friday for the party's annual Jefferson-Jackson fund-raising dinner.

Candidates for various local and statewide office also get the chance to talk to the crowd, and all three Democratic gubernatorial candidates were set to take the stump.

WIS' David Stanton attended the meeting to have a word with each of the candidates.

Dennis Aughtry is one of the candidates. He's an attorney in Columbia. David had a few minutes with Aughtry:

David:  Dennis, you got into the race kind of late. What do you have to do to win enough votes to get this nomination?
Aughtry:  David, we're going to have to convince the people of this state that gambling is an alternative source of revenue, not raising taxes. It's tried, it's true, it's certain. We can promise every child with authority a college education. We can promise every person trained or untrained a job. It'll be a Camelot if we do that. Some people are philosophically opposed to it. But when you weigh the benefits and the liabilities, it's clear they outweigh the liabilities. Tunica, Mississippi which was in 1971, excuse me, 2001, the poorest county in the state, is now one of the wealthiest. Everybody has a job, it's truly a Camelot there. We can do the same thing here."
David: Are you talking about, just wide open like Las Vegas?
Aughtry: I wouldn't say like Las Vegas. We don't have the same sort of venue here. But certainly, we can enact legislation to allow casinos to come in here, to pay employees an average of $30,000 a year. Put everybody to work. Pay substantial revenues in the state. Reduce, and in five years, cut out property taxes, and that's where the bleeding is in this state.
David: This is a very conservative state, as you know. What are you going to do to convince voters?
Aughtry: Very conservative state. I think it has to be an individual analysis, and if anyone has a philosophical difference that's not deep-seated, they need to consider gambling. If people oppose religiously, and I read my Bible all the time, I don't see any prohibition against gambling, then I probably can't reach them. It's got to be with undecided voters.

David also spoke with Senator Tommy Moore, who is in the running for governor as well:
David: Senator, what do you have to do to win enough votes to get this nomination?
Moore: Well you have to convince people that this state is void of leadership, David. There's no vision. There's no willingness to work together to solve our problems. That's why I've offered myself, because we can't take four more years of just my way or no way. And, working with people, that's how I've spent my entire career, as you know.
David: What separates you from the other two candidates?
Moore: Well, I think my life experiences. Being raised in a textile mill village, and being a product of public education and being a small businessman who started myself, making that payroll every Friday. I understand working people of South Carolina because I am one. I know what that is. I know that South Carolina.
David: What do you say to people that say you've been in Columbia for so many years, more than a quarter of a century, you're a real insider?
Moore: Well, I've been a reformer. As you know I've chaired the conference committee on every major piece of  legislation that reforms state government, ethics, campaign finance, public service commission, restructuring, solid waste, you name it. I have chaired those conference committees. I have been a reformer. I've been there to make a difference and improve people's lives.
David: What's the number one issue facing South Carolina now?
Moore: It's jobs, jobs, jobs and you've got to have educated people to make, to take advantage of those jobs. You've got to have healthy people. Right now all of those issues intertwine as one, but right now South Carolina everywhere I've gone for the last year, people are starving to death for courageous leadership.

David also managed to catch a word with Mayor Frank Willis, the third Democratic candidate for governor:
David: Mayor, what do you have to do to win enough votes to get your party's nomination?
Willis: I think we have to get out on the street and call on people. I think we have to go county by county, knock on doors and ask people to support us.
David: What separates you from the other candidates?
Willis: Hard work, for one thing. We're different on some social issues; we're different on some methods. Uh, he's been in the government for 28 years. I'm not. So we're quite different there in the way we see government and the way we would act within government.
David: Some might say it's an advantage being in the government, knowing how it works. And you're an outsider going to Columbia. How are you going to make that work?
Willis: Being an insider works if you work with an assistant. But if you've been there for a long time and not done anything then I don't think it's a particular advantage. You know I've been in and around the state government and worked there with members of the legislature for a number of reasons on a number of occasions. I know the government. I know how it works. I can work within that framework.
David: Mayor, one final question. What is the number one issue, in your view, facing this state?
Willis: I think, jobs. I think creating jobs is the number one problem we've got to deal with.

Local Republicans also often attend the meeting. But they aren't allowed to speak during the festivities.

Updated 8:55pm by Bryce Mursch with AP

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