Democrats Debate for Congress
Elissa Jarvis, Lead Reporter Wednesday, June 06, 2012
About 100 people filtered into the auditorium of Myrtle Beach High School ready to watch the four Democrats vying for the SC 7th Congressional seat debate the issues. The four candidates were:
- Parnell Diggs- a blind attorney from Myrtle Beach
- Gloria Bromell Tiubu- A business owner from Myrtle Beach, who also is a teaching associate at Coastal Carolina University
- Preston Brittian- A lawyer from Myrtle Beach
- Harry Pavilack- Another lawyer and business owner from Myrtle Beach.
Unlike most debates where the candidates spend time squabbling with each other, these four democrats agreed on most issues and spent more time battling with the moderator as almost all of them went over their time limits. Several times it appeared Ms. Tiubu’s microphone was getting cut off when she continued talking long after the moderator had told her she was out of time, although it could have been a glitch with the equipment as well.
The loudest cheers from the crowd came when the topic of I-73 came up. I-73 is a proposed interstate for the Myrtle Beach area which would connect Hwy 22 to I-95 and would create a straight shot from Michigan to Myrtle Beach. Brittan and Diggs agreed that I-73 was needed in the area if for nothing else the job development it would bring. Tiubu agreed that I-73 was important but stressed that we should focus on more immediate issues like U.S. 501 and S.C. 38. But Pavilack had a different answer stating, “Frankly, I’m tired of hearing about I-73. It first came up in 1984. I’ll probably be dead by the time anything happens with it.” Pavilack did suggest using a toll road system to get I-73 built though.
The candidates were also mostly in agreement about gay marriage as well. Pavilack, Tiubu and Diggs all supported gay marriage and marriage equality. Tiubu brought up how she grew up in South Carolina and lived through civil rights movement. She stated, “I am in support of all people in this county having equal access and equal opportunity and defending their civil rights.” Brittian was the only one who came out against gay marriage stating that although he believes no human should ever be discriminated against that “marriage takes place in a church between a man and a woman.”
Both Brittian and Pavilack were questioned about their past and how it hurts them in running for office. Brittian was called out for having no previous experience in elected office to which he stated, “I’m a lawyer who fights for real people. I’m not a career politician; I haven’t been part of the problem.”
Pavilack was question on his past business dealings as he filed for bankruptcy in 2010. Pavilack is estimated to be $72 million in debt mostly from past real-estate dealings. The moderator asked how the voters could trust him with their money and our nation’s debt. Pavilack countered by stating “I got into debt, but at least I’m alive. $72 million is just part of the game. I’m a promoter and we need a promoter to go to Washington and that’s the only way we can get the things we need here done.”
The candidates also answered questions about what separates them from the other candidates; how they would bring new and diversified business to the newly created district 7; what their positions were on middle-east policy, president Obama, and the affordable health care act. They were all asked how much money that have raised in running for office and while most of them listed numbers in the hundreds of thousands, Pavilack answered a scant 350 dollars.
The nine Republican candidates will square off against each other on Thursday night at Myrtle Beach high school. Joe Scarborough from MSNBC will be the pre-debate program. Tickets to the debates are free and can be picked up from the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.