By Stan Welch
State Representative Mike Gambrell, who has served House District 7 since 2006, has announced his bid to fill the seat recently vacated by the passing of long time state Senator Billy O’Dell. Gambrell’s announcement made clear the close personal and political relationship he shared with Senator O’Dell, who served Senate District 4 for more than a quarter century. “Senator O’Dell was not only a mentor to me since my first day in the General Assembly, he was my friend. He was a champion for our area and an advocate for his constituents.”
Gambrell, speaking in a telephone interview with The Journal, assured the District’s citizens that Senator O’Dell’s passion for public service will continue to guide him as well. “Every time I saw the Senator and asked how he was doing, he always said, “‘Working for the people, Mike.’ That dedication to constituent service will be a cornerstone of my service as well. “
Gambrell’s current House district is fully contained in Senate District Four, but the Senate District also includes Williamston, West Pelzer, Pelzer, and a a portion of Piedmont, along with portions of Abbeville and Greenwood Counties.
The period to file for the Republican primary for the seat will open on Jan. 22, and run until Feb. 1. The primary will be held on March 22, and if a runoff is needed, it will be held on April 25th.
Gambrell said that special interest groups are already showing interest in the seat. “Americans for Progress did a robo call in my District this past weekend. They are focusing on the proposed gas tax increase right now. That bill has already gone from the House to the Senate. I expect by the time we see it again, it will be considerably different, so it’s difficult to tell how I would vote at this stage. But a tax increase will be a tough sell, especially when the state has a sizable surplus in the budget.”
Gambrell also stated that the state of the SCDOT is in flux right now, and in a good way, he says. Appointing Christi Hall as the head of DOT was a great decision. She knows that agency inside and out. Her knowledge is very impressive. I’m very optimistic that significant change is coming at the Department of Transportation, change that will really benefit the people of South Carolina.”
Gambrell assures the citizens he will be accessible, and by way of proof, he provided the following contact information. His cell phone number is 844-3614. His office number in Columbia, at 436B Blatt Building, Columbia,SC 29202, is (803) 734-2947. His e-mail address is email@example.com