Austin Beard Files as Republican for Open County Council Seat

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 23, 2008
Contact: Tom Swatzel (843) 222-7456 cell
Austin Beard (843) 997-0910 cell
(843) 264-8705 home

GEORGETOWN--Georgetown County Republican Party Chairman Tom Swatzel announced today that Andrews resident Austin Beard has filed as a Republican to run in the June 10th special election for the County Council District-5 seat vacated by Sel Hemingway.

Beard is employed as the manager of the First Federal Bank of Charleston's Litchfield-Pawleys Island office.

"We are pleased to have a candidate of Austin's caliber enter the race. This is a fiscally and socially conservative district that is ready to elect a Republican to represent their values on county council," Swatzel said.

Hemingway recently vacated the council seat when he was hired as the Georgetown County administrator. There will be about six months remaining in the term for the winner of the special election. During the general election in November the four year term for the seat will up for election.


J. Austin Beard
603 S. Farr Avenue
Andrews, SC 29510

Born in Spartanburg, SC on November 6, 1949. The oldest of three sons born to Rev. and Mrs. C.H. Beard

Grew up in Hemingway, SC. Father was minister of the First Baptist Church and mother taught piano and music.

Graduate of Hemingway High School and the Baptist College at Charleston, now known as Charleston Southern University.

Married to Susan T. Beard. Mrs. Beard is the former Principal at Maryville Elementary School. She retired in June 2007 after having served in the Georgetown County School District for over 32 years as a teacher, assistant principal and principal.

One son, Wade A. Beard, a graduate of Coastal Carolina University and the Graduate School of Clemson University. Wade makes his home in Alpharetta, GA.

Twenty-five year banking career beginning with First Federal of Georgetown and for the last seven years with First Federal of Charleston as Manager of the Litchfield /Pawleys Island office. Also employed as Director of Programs for Trinity United Methodist Church.

Public Service:

Served on the Georgetown County Planning & Zoning Commission in the 1980's

Long time member of the Georgetown County Alcohol & Drug Abuse Commission

Former Chairman of the Town of Andrews Planning & Zoning Commission

Presently on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity -Georgetown County

Served as Chairman of the Church Administrative Council, Board of Trustees and other positions of leadership at Trinity United Methodist Church

Received the Alumnus Community Service Award from Charleston Southern University

County GOP News- February 11, 2008

The following opinion piece by South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Katon Dawson was posted yesterday on The Palmetto Scoop website.

Chairman Dawson does an excellent job of drawing a bright line as to the important fundamental differences between what SC Republicans stand for versus the SC Democrats, and reminding Republicans that "If we continue to hold fast to our principles - limited government, lower taxes and traditional values - we win."

Differences matter: Why South Carolina Republicans will be successful in 2008

By Katon Dawson

It has truly been an honor to serve as Chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party for the last six years. We have held steadfast to time-honored ideals, and we have worked tirelessly to elect leaders who have used these ideals as positive governing principles. The South Carolina Republican Party has been successful - and will be even more successful this year - because we are unabashedly conservative.

Our Party platform starkly contrasts the platform of the South Carolina Democrat Party on every issue that is important to the voters in our state.

We have unapologetically defended the traditional values our country was founded on. We have affirmed our state Party platform's unequivocal position that life is the first inalienable right, and all human life, born and unborn, has intrinsic worth. We "believe that the unborn and the newborn child have a fundamental right to life which must not be infringed." (Page 6, SCGOP Platform) By contrast, Democrats passed a resolution supporting "a woman's right to reproductive choice and the freedom to make decisions concerning her health." (2007 SCDP State Convention Resolution #32) We have worked hard to successfully elect two South Carolina Republicans to the U.S. Senate for the first time since Reconstruction - U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint. They have teamed up with President George W. Bush to appoint and confirm conservative judges to the bench and stand firmly against the barbaric practice of partial birth abortion.

We have strengthened our families and communities by voting overwhelmingly in 2006 to prohibit same sex marriage. Conservatives led that fight by working hard to accomplish that goal.

Democrats continue to justify the excesses of big-government in Washington and Columbia even though voters have clearly taken a stand against this corrupt status quo. South Carolina Democrats are on the record in support of surplus state revenue being spent on government programs before it's returned to the taxpayers. (2007 SCDP State Convention Resolution #4,

But we are proud of Governor Mark Sanford and our Republican legislative leadership in Columbia who embody our state Party platform that calls for "sound fiscal management that provides effective and efficient government with a minimum amount of taxation." (Page 13, SCGOP Platform) They continue to fight for limited government that is a responsible steward of our tax dollars - slashing income taxes and property taxes and eliminating the sales tax on groceries. We are going to fight hard to elect a Republican to the White House in 2008 who will work with our South Carolina Republicans in Congress to make the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 permanent because the meaningful relief delivered to millions of hardworking South Carolinians strengthened our economy.

Our conservative Republican leaders have also fought Democrats to make South Carolina business friendly and prosperous. The South Carolina Republican Party actively engaged the General Assembly on two of the most significant business issues in recent years: tort reform and workers' compensation reform. The Party spent financial resources and political capital to help get these important reforms passed, which had been blocked by Democrat state senators. Additionally, South Carolina Republicans "strongly support private property rights and just compensation" for property owners if government takes their land. (Page 6, SCGOP Platform) Meanwhile, South Carolina Democrats passed a resolution opposing fair and reasonable compensation for property owners if government takes their land. (2007 SCDP State Convention Resolution #19,

Most importantly, we have embraced the challenge of defending our very way of life in a battle with radical Islamic extremists who would kill every one of us. Since September 12, 2001, there has not been a terrorist attack on American soil. We have remained safe at home thanks to the decisive conservative leadership of our Republican officeholders using the resources of our military, intelligence services and law enforcement to capture and kill terrorists around the world.

These Republican leaders know that our freedom is at stake and reject the cynical politicization of the War on Terror by Democrats like Jim Clyburn who has said Democrats win if America loses in Iraq. Winning the war on terror may be politically inconvenient for Jim Clyburn, but losing the war on terror is incomprehensible for those who fight and die defending freedom.

If we continue to hold fast to our principles - limited government, lower taxes and traditional values - we win. We not only win the support of our fellow Republicans; we win the support of independents and reasonable Democrats.

Republicans across the country sure could learn a lesson from South Carolina.

Katon Dawson is the Chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party.He was first elected in 2002 and is the fifth longest-serving state chairman in the nation.


The issue of changing the Georgetown County school board elections from partisan to nonpartisan has recently come up.

Numerous national studies have shown that nonpartisan local elections tend to result in lower voter turnout, particularly among low income voters, than partisan elections, and favor affluent candidates, who have access to financial resources to fund campaigns in the absence of political party assistance and support.

A recent Newsweek article by Sharon Begely discusses how voters make decisions on which candidate to support and highlights the importance of political parties in the decision making process with the following statement:

"The fact that people have what is euphemistically called cognitive-processing limitations-most cannot or will not learn about and remember candidates' records or positions-means voters must substitute something else for that missing knowledge. What that something is has become a heated topic among scientists who study decision-making, and, of course, campaign strategists and pollsters. Some answers are clear, however. In general elections, a large fraction of voters use political party as that substitute, says psychologist Drew Westen of Emory University; some 60 percent typically choose a candidate solely or largely by party affiliation."

The Georgetown County Republican Party is opposed to nonpartisan county school board elections.

County GOP Opposes Nonpartisan School Board Elections

Contact: Tom Swatzel (843) 357-1673

GEORGETOWN--The Georgetown County Republican Party came out against possible nonpartisan elections for the county school board in a letter sent Monday to county legislators that cited studies showing nonpartisan elections reduce low income voter turnout and favor affluent candidates.

Responding to discussions within the school board and legislative delegation about possible changes in the way the board is elected that may involve nonpartisan elections, county party chairman Tom Swatzel said in the letter to Democrat state Rep. Vida Miller, "The county Republican Party would be opposed to any board election plans that incorporate nonpartisan elections. Numerous national studies have shown that nonpartisan local elections tend to result in lower voter turnout, particularly among low income voters, than partisan elections, and favor affluent candidates, who have access to financial resources to fund campaigns in the absence of political party assistance and support."

Last year U.S. Department of Justice attorneys began investigating possible Voting Rights Act violations involving the current at-large method of electing Georgetown County school board members and the apparent lack of minority representation on the nine member board. Both the legislative delegation and school board have been looking at possible election districts as a means to remedy any violation.

The board is currently composed of six Republicans and three Democrats.

Swatzel also cites a 1994 Department of Justice letter that said in opposition to a legislative proposal that year to impose nonpartisan school board elections in Georgetown County, ". . . the change to nonpartisan elections constitutes an impermissible retrogression in the position of the affected minority group in the political process, a situation that has the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color."

"With the whole issue of the way the county school board is currently elected being tied, according to statements from Department of Justice attorneys, to Voting Rights Act issues, it would indeed be ironic if nonpartisan elections, which are proven to reduce voter turnout, are incorporated into a possible voting rights corrective action," Swatzel said.

In his letter, Swatzel asked the legislative delegation, who would be responsible for any legislation changing the school board election method, to "provide an ample opportunity for county citizens and both political parties to submit comments" on any proposed elections plans.