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District 6 vacancy drawing interest

By Jackie R. Broach
Coastal Observer

A Georgetown County Planning Commission member and a former Pawleys Island magistrate might fight it out over a County Council seat next year.

Pawleys Island businessman Brian Henry, who has served on the planning commission since 2007, and retired Judge W. Barry McCall, who served the county from behind a bench for 20 years, said they are still considering whether they will officially announce as candidates for Council District 6, and will have a decision by the first of the year.

Neither has ever sought to hold an elected position before.

The district’s current representative, Republican Glen O’Connell, announced last month that he will not seek a second term. Henry, 42, a Republican, said he started thinking then about running.

“I’m definitely interested in running, but I haven’t made a final decision,” Henry said.

“I’m going to take some time over the holidays to decompress, give it some consideration and figure out whether it’s the right move for me.”

Before he makes a commitment to run, he said he will think seriously about the demands serving on council would put on his time, and how he would balance that with family and business obligations.

Henry and his wife, Sassy, have two young daughters, May May, 11, and Camille, 8. They also own and run two businesses, the Sea View Inn on Pawleys Island and Palmetto Cheese.

“Serving on the Planning Commission requires a considerable amount of time,” Henry said.

“The real question is if serving on council would require more time and, if it does, how much. If I’m going to make a commitment, I want to make sure I can dedicate the time and energy required to do a good job.”

Time was one of the reasons O’Connell cited when he announced he wouldn’t run for re-election.

Henry said serving on council would allow him to have a more broad impact on the county than his position on the planning commission. With two daughters who play sports and as a small businessman, he said recreation and economic development are of particular interest to him.

“I think I can bring a fresh perspective and a useful perspective because I am a business person, and I’m concerned about protecting what we have in the county, because it’s so unique.”

McCall, 67, said he has been considering a bid for District 6 for some time, after numerous requests from the public.

“I was kind of wishy-washy about it until [Tuesday], and now I don’t think it’s so wishy-washy anymore,” he said. “It looks like a strong possibility.”

He said something happened in Georgetown on Tuesday to nudge him toward running, but he didn’t want to give details.

He hopes to have a decision next week. He would have had one earlier, but a fire at his house over the weekend caused a delay as he deals with that.

McCall said he has been approached by representatives from both parties and hasn’t decided if he would run as a Democrat or Republican.

“I may form another party and run as fed-up,” he said.

While the requests from the public will factor strongly in his decision, McCall said he sees “a lot of things that need to be corrected.

“But the thing that’s been bothering me more than anything is that all the politicians forget who they work for,” he said. “Me, I don’t have an agenda. I don’t have an answer for anything. The answer comes from the people who vote.”

As would the issues he would fight for, he said.

McCall said he wants to run to give “all” people a voice. He would represent “the guy living down the street the same as the one living in a mansion.”

McCall still does consulting work for court administration and the state, but he said he has the necessary time to devote to being a public servant and would work to get the public involved. He and his wife, Martha, have two grown children.

Matthew Ryan has also been mentioned as a potential candidate for District 6. Ryan said he considered filing earlier this year, but decided against it when his younger brother Kevin decided to run for S.C. House District 108. Matt said he wants to focus on helping Kevin’s campaign.

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