Pelion, SC (Paul Kirby) – Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-2), his wife Roxanne, and a large contingent of his staff made a wide swing through Lexington County Tuesday while they were on the second day of their annual Summer Bus Tour. The Tour gives Congressman Wilson an opportunity to visit with his constituents, see what government, business, and community leaders are up to, and hear from the people about their concerns or comments about what’s happening in Washington and in the district.
Tuesday’s tour started at the Irmo Chamber of Commerce where the group was greeted by a very large crowd that had come by to listen, speak, and say hello. Congressman Wilson and his team discussed issues that are important to businesses both large and small and did their best to speak to, hear from, and spend at least a few moments with everyone that was in attendance.
Later in the morning, the tour took the group to the Chapin Town Hall where another crowd greeted the Congressman, his wife, and his team. While in Chapin, they toured the town hall, met with many of the town’s leaders including councilmembers Kay Hollis, Mike Clonts, and Mayor David Knight. They also stopped to talk with Chapin’s Police Chief Seth Zeigler and Sergeant Bill Finch, and several others.
By noon, the bus had made its way to Beverage South of Aiken/Columbia which is located on Metropolitan Drive near the Airport in West Columbia. Here they did a walk through to see the business, visit with its management and employees, and get a feeling for what the government does they affects its businesses such as the distribution operations of Beverage South.
After leaving there, they attended a meeting of Cayce-West Columbia Rotary Club at Brookland Baptist Church on Sunset Boulevard in West Columbia. This is always a must stop for the Congressman and his team. The church is just about a mile from his former law office where he still practiced real estate law while he was at the SC State House, and what is now his district office in the area. He has always had a strong relationship with the leadership of Brookland Baptist and has said that the church and its multiple services and programs to its members are a cornerstone of strength to the people of the community and in fact the Midlands as a whole.
Just after 2:00 p.m. the group stopped for a tour of Shumpert's IGA on Pine Street in Pelion. Frank Shumpert, his family, and his staff greeted the group with a hearty welcome and a tour of the store. Shumpert’s IGA has been in business for over 126 years and is the oldest incorporated business in Lexington County. The fourth generation is now active in the day to day operation of the corporation and even some of the fifth generations were there to greet the Wilsons and their group on Tuesday.
While Congressman Wilson was talking with the Shumperts and their staff and posing for photographs with veterans, Police Chief Mike Crider and one of his officers and families that were in the store to shop, Roxanne Wilson was taking a tour of the produce section herself. She said that she was amazed at the scope of the farm to table operation that Shumperts had perfected, buying land around the town and the store to farm. Much of their own produce is grown on that land in conjunction with Jackson Brothers Farms. Most of the produce that was for sale in the store Tuesday, was in the fields that morning, a practice that is what sets Shumperts apart from chain stores. Mrs. Wilson, a resident of Springdale, said it would be worth the short drive to Pelion just to be able to get the farm-fresh produce Shumperts can offer.
Later in the afternoon, the group took a tour of Tidewater Boats in Lexington. Tidewater makes high-quality center console boats that ship all over the US. Just last year, they announced an expansion in their line to meet the demands for the boats. Much of their success they credit to a strong US economy over the past several years that has made it possible for more Americans to have disposable income for things like high-end boats.
The tour of the district continues through Thursday and the group will be back in Lexington County that day for some last-minute stops. One is a must stop for all politicians. Stopping at Shealy’s BBQ at 340 E Columbia Avenue, Batesburg-Leesville to eat at about 1:00 p.m. on Thursday is a Lexington County tradition that has gone back decades.
The last stop for the group will be at about 2:00 p.m. on Thursday at Terra Kotta Farms. This farm operation is located at 2412 Lewie Road, Leesville. At Terra Kotta Farms, they practice sustainable farming methods including no use of chemicals or pesticides. They only utilize non-GMO seeds in their planting, their egg laying hens are free ranging and their pasture raised poultry is never administered hormones or antibiotics.
According to their website (www.terrakottafarms.com) “We believe in going back to the grassroots of farming, the way nature intended. Our goal is to provide locally grown, healthy organic food to our home state of South Carolina, but we do so much more. We teach others the importance of sustainable farming and how to grow an organic garden in their yard, as well as, homesteading classes. Our farm also provides rainwater collection options for residents, other farms and some businesses.”
For more information on the tour’s stops, visit this link: SCHEDULE.