If he wins a fifth term, State Rep. Mike Anthony says his main goal will be keeping Union County from losing its seat in the S.C. House of Representatives.
Anthony announced Thursday afternoon he will seek the Democratic nomination for the SC House District 42 seat he has held for the past eight years. The only resident member of the Union County Legislative Delegation, Anthony said in recent months he has been working to head off efforts to carve Union County up between districts based in other counties. He said if successful, those efforts — which he expects will continue throughout the reapportionment process — could deprive the county of its ability to elect its own House member.
“This next term we’ll be taking up reapportionment right off the bat and it’s going to be critical for Union County,” Anthony said. “We need to keep Union County whole, especially now that our population has dropped to around 28,000.”
“There’s been talk in surrounding counties of dividing up Union County between House districts the way it’s divided up between Senate districts,” he continued. “We’re divided between three Senate districts so that even if you won every vote in your part of the county you still couldn’t get elected. If this happens to us during reapportionment we might not even have a resident representative.”
Anthony pointed out that even though Democrats are in the minority in the House, he’s accummulated seniority over the past eight years and built good working relationships with members of both parties. He said he can use that seniority and those relationships to prevent the county from being carved up during reapportionment.
During his eight years in office, Anthony has worked with state and local officials to promote economic development in the county. He has been involved in the negotiations and in securing state assistance that helped the county attract companies such as Dollar General and the manufacturing facility now known as Gestamp.
Most recently, Anthony was among the officials involved in the negotiations that led to the establishment of the Advanced Technology Center on US 176. Anthony said the development of the center was one of the incentives that helped bring what is now Gestamp to the county. He also worked to secure the $350,000 competitive grant which was used to help build the center.
A former football coach at what is now Union County High School, Anthony has been an advocate for public education in the House and has worked to secure funding to support local schools. In 2006, he was heavily involved in the successful effort to pass Act 388 which provided the Union County School District with a windfall of $1.9 million. The money was used to help facilitate the construction of the new Sims Middle School and Jonesville Elementary/Middle School.
The biggest battle Anthony has fought on behalf of local education has been his successful effort to prevent Gov. Mark Sanford from closing USC-Union.
“For six of the past eight years I have worked continuously to keep USC-Union open,” Anthony said. “It is important to our community and it has been a benefit to many of our kids. I will continue to work to keep it funded and keep it open.”
What Anthony has most enjoyed during his tenure as represenative has been serving his constituents.
“This has given me the opportunity to assist people on a daily basis,” Anthony said. “I’m able to put people who need help in contact with the appropriate state agency and to keep them from getting the run around. I get to do this day-to-day and it’s what I enjoy about this job.”
Anthony is opposed for reelection by Republican Randy English.