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Pelion’s mayor raising the alarm over proposed Senate Redistricting Plan

Pelion, SC 11/11/2021 (Paul Kirby) – The Town of Pelion’s Mayor Frank Shumpert is raising the alarm after the state’s proposed redistricting plan moves Pelion from Senator Katrina Shealy’s solidly conservative Senate District 23 to that of Orangeburg County Democrat Senator Brad Hutto, Senate District 40. If the proposed plan is passed, Shumpert says that the people of the area he represents will be left without a sympathetic voice when issues come up at the state level. “There just aren’t many Democrats in Pelion,” Shumpert said in a telephone interview Wednesday afternoon. “We need to be represented by someone that understands our feeling and wishes, and that person is our current Senator Shealy,” he concluded. Shealy’s District 23 is made up of 85% Republicans and has only 15% registered Democrats.


Redistricting is mandated by the Federal Government and takes place every 10 years. It is done after the US Census and reflects the population of areas across a state. As an area becomes more populous, those extra people receive more representation at the S.C. State House. Simply put, district ensure that 1,000 citizens will always have more representation than 100.


According to Senator Shealy, people, many of whom are very conservative, have been flocking to Lexington County for years to live amongst likeminded people. They enjoy the high quality of life, the limited regulations, the good schools, and the freedoms that some other areas try to stifle with governmental controls and overreach. As those people move from counties like Orangeburg, Senator Hutto’s home area, the population of that county goes down and the population of Lexington County goes up. When the latest census proved this migration, the leaders of the state’s legislature began redrawing lines to provide districts with a more evenly distributed and equal population numbers. If they don’t get this finished by a certain deadline, the Federal Government takes over and removes the citizens of South Carolina from the process.


Mayor Shumpert’s point is simple. If the small, predominantly conservative area of Pelion were to be included in Senator Hutto’s solidly liberal district, no matter how loud the people of the Pelion area were on any issue, they’d be overridden by the voices of the liberal Democrats of Orangeburg County. “This simply can’t be allowed to happen,” Shumpert said. “We’d always be outnumbered by the liberals that make up the majority of Hutto’s current district.”

Is there something the people of Pelion can do to make a difference you might ask? There is in fact a way to make your voice heard before the proposed redistricting plan becomes law. The Subcommittee on Redistricting will meet to receive public testimony about the 2021 Staff Senate Plan and the submitted Congressional plan proposals on Friday, November 12, 2021, at 10:30 a.m. in Room 308 of the Gressette Building in Columbia, S.C.

Interested persons may attend and/or speak either online or in person. To help the Subcommittee prepare for the public meeting, please notify Subcommittee staff by email at redistricting@scsenate.gov or phone at (803) 212-6634 if you would like to testify. Depending upon the number of requests received, the Subcommittee may restrict the time for each speaker and ask that those supporting a particular plan defer to a single or small number of speakers.


Since these meetings will be held tomorrow, it I imperative that you email today and ask to be heard. If at all possible, it would be most helpful to go and line the room with the people from the Pelion area that would be affected so much by this.


To see a copy of the Senate Redistricting Plan, follow this link to Senate Redistricting Plan. An interactive map that is very helpful can be found HERE. Mayor Shumpert finished the phone interview by saying, “It’s imperative that the people of our area become active in this process and protest the change so that we have the representation that we need."


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