Tom Rice was on campus last week for Homecoming and took time from his hectic schedule to tour SCPC and learn more about our program. Rice earned both his master’s and law degrees from USC, and on that Homecoming Friday afternoon the congressman addressed a crowd of Gamecock fans gathered in front of the Russell House, encouraging the fans to root for Carolina over Vanderbilt on Saturday. As Rice predicted, the Gamecocks earned their first SEC victory the next day. He seemed to enjoy his visit to SCPC. He was accompanied by his wife, Wrenzie, and DC office scheduler Terra Davis. Terra took the photos that illustrate this post.
Congressman Rice represents South Carolina’s newest congressional district. The 7th District encompasses parts of eight northeastern counties including Georgetown and Horry. The district was created as a result of the great population growth experienced in South Carolina as determined by the 2010 census.
In the first race to represent the 7th district, in 2012, the Republican primary attracted a large field: nine candidates, headlined by former Lt. Governor Andre Bauer. Rice forced Bauer into a runoff and then won the election, receiving 56% of the vote. Rice serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure, Small Business and Budget committees, where his expertise developed as a CPA and tax attorney stands him in good stead. One of his key interests are South Carolina’s ports and particularly that in Georgetown.
Rice, like most current members of Congress, makes efficient use of technology. He has his own YouTube channel, a Facebook account followed by over eight thousand friends, and a Twitter account which often features messages for his constituents. After South Carolina experienced torrential flooding, he tweeted, My district offices will serve as bottled water donation locations for South Carolinians in need.
We are hopeful that Mr. Rice may soon join the ranks of SCPC donors and entrust his papers to our care. If he does, it will be quite different from the collections of earlier congressmen like Bryan Dorn and Floyd Spence. They dealt with thousands of letters from constituents and voluminous files of paperwork relating to issues before Congress. Current members see little actual paper, instead their offices chiefly work with electronic records. That is the great challenge presented to congressional archivists and one which we hope our new Digital Initiatives Archivist Laura Litwer will help us solve.