Education: U. of South Carolina, B.S. 1979 (accounting), M.Acc. 1982 (accounting), J.D. 1982
Career: Lawyer; accountant
Political highlights: Horry County Council chairman, 2010-present
Tom Rice, R-S.C. (7th District)
Rice's quick ascension from county council to Congress has been propelled by one thing: a desire to create jobs in his hard-hit district and the country as a whole.
Horry County, like the state, has struggled with an unemployment rate that surpasses the national average. Riceís first task after being elected chairman of Horry County Council in 2010 was spurring economic growth.
"My No. 1 priority is to kick-start the economy and increase the number of jobs in America," he says. "The cost of regulation in the United States is very expensive. We have to recognize that weíre no longer the sole choice; weíre going to have to be competitive" to attract business.
He will push to create business-friendly regulatory policies, tackle the national debt and look after the needs of the newly created 7th District, which has extensive infrastructure needs and agricultural interests.
One of the most visited coastal vacation spots in the country, Myrtle Beach, is not served by an interstate highway; the declining profitability of raising tobacco has forced many of the stateís farmers to start looking for alternative cash crops. Rice plans to share those narratives with his colleagues.
"Iím not looking for earmarks," Rice cautions. "We have to . . . allocate funding on the merit of the project, and having a place where 14 million people drive in and out of [to get to the beach] is certainly going to give it a lot of merit."
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Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.