David Cox, a Myrtle Beach representative on the Horry County Board of Education, announced Thursday that he would run for chairman of the school board this year, seeking the Republican Party nomination in the June primary.
Ken Richardson, the current board chairman, has said he’s not seeking reelection and is currently challenging Rep. Tom Rice (R-Myrtle Beach) for his seat in Congress. Richardson, according to a news release, endorsed Cox’s campaign.
“I believe David Cox is the best qualified candidate to lead the important work of the school board in these challenging times,” Richardson said. “I couldn’t be more pleased than to see him be elected as my successor.”
Cox has served on the school board since 2008, when he represented district 9, a portion of Western Horry County between Conway and Loris. Cox served two terms representing Western Horry County and later moved to Myrtle Beach where he won reelection in district 4, which includes a portion of Myrtle Beach and parts of Socastee and Surfside Beach. Cox resides in the Market Commons area.
Cox, in the news release sent to reporters by Conway political operative Donald Smith, said his experience representing residents on “both sides of the Intracoastal Waterway” makes him a uniquely qualified candidate.
“I have the unique experience of serving students and parents as a school board member in both the eastern and western areas of the county,” Cox said in the release. “I believe it’s best for the students and staff to have someone leading the board who is familiar with school board procedures, the individual desires of parents and teachers throughout the county and the experience of dealing with the many changes that have been thrust upon us as a result of the Covid epidemic.”
Cox works as a real estate agent for Elliot Coastal Living, a division of Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate.
Horry County Board of Education members are paid around $20,000 annually for their service.
In an interview, Cox said that he chose to run for chairman because he believes he’s the most qualified person to help the district navigate state and federal health and education requirements and steer the district out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The biggest challenge we have is doing the will of the people and adhering to DHEC (the state Dept. of Health and Environmental Control)…we have to listen to the state superintendent of schools,” Cox said. “Just to become a maverick for the sake of becoming a maverick could cost us dearly in terms of funding.”
Cox said he largely agrees with the way Richardson has steered the district through the pandemic and wants to continue that work. He said remote learning and other restrictions caused by the COVID-19 virus “has hampered our ability to teach the children.”
Cox said he favors “school choice,” a term used by people who support using public tax dollars for charter schools, and is generally supportive of charter and magnet schools.
“They submit a request for a charter school and I think nine times out of ten we will approve it,” Cox said. “We’d prefer they stay in the public school system but…I don’t see it as an issue. I’m for school choice.”
Regarding Horry County’s rapid growth, Cox said the district would continue to build new schools as funding becomes available.
And regarding teacher concerns, Cox said he would be open to hearing all issues from teachers and would be willing to address them on a case-by-case basis and without retaliation.
The Republican primary will be held June 14.
Cox argued that he’s the most qualified candidate to replace Richardson because he already knows how the district works and is ready to lead it.
“Why am I the best candidate? Because I know what’s going on, there’s no learning curve,” Cox said. “I know which direction the ship is going and I know how to keep it on track.”