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Home arrow Americas arrow EDITORIAL: Tom Rice turns 'Blue'
EDITORIAL: Tom Rice turns 'Blue' PDF Print E-mail
Written by EDITORIAL NEWS   
Sep 28, 2011 at 12:00 AM

Trying to discern who really will be the best man or woman for a particular political office can be tough work. The candidates (usually) have plenty to say about what they will or won’t do, but talk is cheap. Actions generally do speak louder than words, as the old proverb says.

We note this following last week’s story in the Morning News regarding 7th Congressional District candidate Tom Rice and “Project Blue.” That’s a code name for a big economic development – i.e., jobs – deal that has come before Rice and the Horry County Council – Rice is currently the council’s chairman).

The project was heading toward quick approval this summer or fall when media in the area began uncovering some unsettling details about the county’s proposed private partners. One of the key players has done some jail time for tax evasion, and similar attempts to bring projects like this one to towns in North Carolina have ended poorly.

It did not take a lot of hard work to uncover this information, and that’s the rub. Tom Rice’s signal calling card as an unproven candidate for U.S. Congress is his impressive business background. He has owned and operated a successful tax law/accounting business in Horry County for years, implying that whatever else he might do in Washington, he’d be a solid watchdog for taxpayer interests. It’s hard to run the businesses Rice has run without having a bent, and a talent for, that kind of scrutiny.

Or so you’d think. But with this project, Rice was not only letting the deal roll along without much question, he was firmly behind it, pushing it toward the finish line.

Rice points out, correctly, that the project had not come to fruition and that he was only shepherding it down the line so that it could be fully vetted. Fellow commissioners think he may have been blinded by the potential political plum of a big job announcement. The project would have brought more than 1,000 new, non-tourism jobs to Horry County. That’s nothing to sneeze at, and it would validate Rice’s position as the congressional candidate who can best bring about job creation.

But the lack of oversight on a project with considerable public risk – one provision called for the county to buy back a $7 million building if the project failed in the first seven years – is troubling, and it should give 7th District voters some pause.

Unsigned editorials represent the views of this newspaper. Editorial board members are: Mark Blum (regional publisher), Tucker Mitchell (regional editor), Kimberly Ginfrida (content manager), John Sweeney (political writer), Rebecca Ducker (multimedia editor), Matt Tate (assistant editor) and David Johnson (regional circulation director).


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