Search Results for: community cookout

COMMUNITY COOKOUT was a huge success – thank you!

The temp and humidity made it feel like 100+ degrees, but that didn’t stop everyone from meeting and mingling with local, state, and national leaders right here in our community!

Special thanks to Christina and Mark Woody who opened up there home again for this event.

Thanks also to Alex Salmon Photography for the video he put together which I feel captures the night and to Sam Holland for his wonderful photos .

For those that could not make it, this is a regular event I give to the community every other year. It started before I was first elected and continues to grow every year. I’ve enjoyed meeting new voters and bringing new officials for y’all to speak with in a casual setting. Too many times voters/constituents feel their elected officials aren’t accessible to them. This night is just one way for people to see their leaders not in the “stuffiness of coat/tie, board rooms, etc” but instead, right here on the shores of Lake Murray.

You can find information and videos of past cookouts here .

Thanks to almost 20 officials (all, who represent our area) who took time to be there for me/you!

US Senator Lindsey Graham
SC Governor Henry McMaster
SC Lt. Governor Pamela Evette
SC Senator Dick Harpootlian
SC House Representative Chip Huggins
Chapin Mayor David Knight
Chapin Town Councilman Leland Teal
Irmo Mayor Hardy King
Irmo Town Councilman Barry Walker
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott
Lexington County Councilmwoman Erin Long Bergeson
School District Five Superintendent Dr. Christina Melton
School District Five Board Chairman Robert Gantt
School District Five Board Members Jan Hammond and Ken Loveless

2019 COMMUNITY COOKOUT – coming soon!

I still remember the first time I hosted a Community Cookout in our area.

It was before the election in 2004 and I didn’t know what to expect as far as turnout. It was my first time running for office and I was running against a 16 year incumbent who was my party’s Majority Leader in the State House. Who was going to come? I assumed it’d be my family and maybe a handful of campaign volunteers and supporters – and that would be it.

Much to my surprise it was packed at the Rusty Anchor! I remember running out of food and I thought “everyone will be upset and mad now”. My consultant told me “Are you kidding me?? It’s a GREAT thing you ran out of food. You had far more people than we ever thought would be here!” Fast forward, I won the election weeks later and decided that going forward, I would always have an event like that for our area .

The cookout has grown and after that first year, I began inviting local and state elected officials to come so that you and your neighbors could mingle with them in a casual setting here on Lake Murray.

Every Governor since I’ve been elected has attended. Along with other statewide constitutional office holders, our national Senators/Representatives, local state Senators, Representatives, Mayors, County Council, School Board, Sheriff, Coroner and more!

We’ll have food, drinks, music and a great time on the shores of Lake Murray right here in Chapin!

Here’s a video of our last cookout (I host these every two years). The weather was bad, but everyone enjoyed it!

The invitation is above. It’s free to attend thanks to many sponsors, hosts and supporters! Please contact DREA BYARS at 804-413-5951 or to RSVP. All cookout sponsors, hosts and supporters will have a pre-reception before heading outside to join everyone else.

All contributions are appreciated! You an easily donate in 2 minutes by clicking here – or you can send a check to Ballentine for House, 108 Tapp Pointe, Chapin, SC 29036.

Please RSVP so we have a good headcount for food. As always, Jim LeBlanc will be playing his guitar for the crowd (he’s been playing at every cookout…I think 7 cookouts so far!)

Hope to see you there!

Another fantastic Community Cookout!

It’s been a privilege for more than a decade to bring our community together and give a everyone a chance to meet and speak with their elected officials in a casual setting – FREE right here in Chapin! From Governors, Lt. Governors, Treasurers and SC Senators and Representatives , to our officials in Congress – US Senators and Representatives, to Mayors and Town Council Memberss, Sheriffs, School Board, County Council Members, Coroners, and many, many more. Staying in touch helps us do better jobs for you!

Even with a forecast of showers, the weather held off and the crowd turned out. Like previous cookouts, this year was the first one for several in attendance. Many who just moved to the area or who had never been involved before. That’s what makes these events special.

One surprise was when Nan Barwick (90 years old in October) came up to me and asked “Do you remember knocking on my door 12 years ago?” Actually, I did; but I couldn’t remember her name. I replied “Yes, ma’am. Your dogs are Bertha and Putter!” She smiled and was surprised I remembered her dogs (they’ve crossed the rainbow bridge since). That was a special moment for me. Seeing her for the first time in a while and remembering the early days and those early supporters and memories who gave me a chance!

On top of getting to see many old friends and meet new ones, I was glad to see Governor McMaster present the Order of the Silver Crescent to former constituent Todd Latiff! Many might not be aware but because I was able to get Todd on the Richland Recreation Commission years ago, he was able to help bring about the changes that lead to a completely new board and helped us restore trust in that office. Todd was one who worked to help me clean up Columbia (well, Richland County in this instance).

Last Wednesday wouldn’t have been the success it was if not for our community taking time out of our busy schedules to come together. Also, thanks to the many sponsors, hosts and supporters for helping with the event and my re-election campaign.

As always, if I can ever be of service, please let me know ! I love speaking to your church groups, civic groups, and all the youth groups – Scouts, Backyard Bible Club, etc. Elected officials that stay in touch year round (not just at election time) are able to better serve our communities!

NEW LOCATION for Community Cookout! August 9th

We are just one week away from the COMMUNIITY COOKOUT and I need to let you know – we’ve outgrown our former location!

With 250+ RSVPs we needed more space and what better space than on the shores of Lake Murray!

Thanks to my good friends, Christina and Mark Woody, we will be moving the cookout to their home located at 203 St Thomas Church Road, Chapin. (Come down Wessinger Road, go straight through the four way stop (Palmetto Roads gas station/fire station) and turn right on St. Thomas Church Road. Their house is on the left IMMEDIATELY before the church. Park in the church parking lot and walk down the long dirt drive way and to the sign in tent).

The cookout starts at 6pm and goes til 7:30pm. If you arrive early, that’s fine. You’ll be greeted by volunteers at the sign-in tent and can then go around back and fix your plate, grab a drink, and find your spot under one of the large tents!

At 6pm, I’ll ask Dr. Ryan Pack, our new pastor at Riverland Hills Baptist Church, to say bless the food and our community. After that, I’ll introduce the elected officials in attendance (see list below) and then we’ll hear a few words from our Governor.

The rest of the evening? It’s yours to meet/talk with elected officials, friends, neighbors, and enjoy the music of Jim LeBlanc.

I want to thank all the elected officials who have agreed to take time out of their schedule to attend. I’d also like to think all the Sponsors, Hosts and Supporters who have helped me put on this event and are supportive of my work in Columbia!

Looking forward to another fantastic event!


We’re 8 weeks away and already over 100 RSVP’s for this year’s big event!

Thanks to the financial contributions from Sponsors, Hosts, and Supporters, community residents can attend for FREE. Be sure to RSVP though so we can get a ticket emailed to you prior to the big night.

For those that have made it to the cookouts in the past, you know it can get crowded at the Rusty Anchor/Catfish Johnny’s for this event.

I’ve been told 300 is the max we will be able to hold, so don’t wait til the last minute and we not have room or enough food/drink for your family. We’ve run out of food before; don’t want that to happen again!

Above on the flyer are the names of local elected officials who have confirmed they will attend. I expect more to confirm once they know their summer schedule, so check back here to see those updates.

This is your chance to meet and interact with these officials in a CASUAL SETTING. No suits and ties at this event! It’s Lake Murray in August and that means..Purple Martins and HOT TEMPERATURES!

To read and see more about past Cookouts, click here.

Karen and I hope to see you and your family this year! Kids welcome! Every year we see more first-time attendees. If you’re a first-time attendee, be sure to let us know!

SAVE THE DATE: Community Cookout – August 9th!

CHAPIN, SC 29036

It’s that time again where I bring all our local elected officials together for an opportunity for you to meet and mingle in a casual setting! No stuffy suits or ties. Shorts and flip-flops are perfect!

For more than a decade, I’ve had a regular COMMUNITY COOKOUT and get great feedback from the community! Many attendees are “first time guests” who have moved to the area or never been involved in politics before.

We ran out of food the first time back in 2004 (I didn’t expect such a large turnout); but ever since there’s always been food, drink, music and good times for everyone! Last year we had to limit it to the first 300 RSVPs – so don’t wait too long to let us know you and your family will be there!

As usual, we’ll get together at The Rusty Anchor and Catfish Johnny’s out here off Johnson Marina Road. Jim LeBlanc has already confirmed he’ll entertain us again.

More details and RSVP information in the weeks ahead! I look forward to seeing you and your family out there again!

If you’d like to help sponsor this year’s cookout, please contact me here . I’ll go ahead and also take RSVPs if you’d like to get them to me already!

For a look back at previous cookouts over the years, click here.

FREE Community Cookout – August 26th

In just two weeks, I will again host another COMMUNITY COOKOUT for families in House District 71 to get to interact with several elected officials in a casual setting here on Lake Murray.

Like I’ve done every two years, we’ll be at The Rusty Anchor and Quarterdeck and have Jim LeBlanc playing tunes on his acoustic guitar.

Every year, it’s standing room only and the food goes fast! Be sure you’re one of the 300 that RSVP so you can enjoy an evening on the lake and meet those that represent our community, county and state.

Elected officials who have attended before:

Governor Nikki Haley, State Treasuer Curtis Loftis, Attorney General Alan Wilson, US Congressman Joe Wilson, State Senator John Courson, Representative Chip Huggins, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, Richland County Coroner Gary Watts, Irmo Mayor Hardy King, Irmo Town Council members: Walker, Younginer, Hoots, Condon; former Chapin Mayor Stan Shealy, Lexington/Richland District Five Superintendent Steve Heffner. School Board Members: Jan Hammond, Ellen Baumgardner, Beth Burn; Richland County Councilman Bill Malinowski, Lexington County Councilman Johnny Jeffcoat…and others

See below for contact information to RSVP and to help contribute by being a Sponsor, Host or Supporter.

Remember – families in House District 71 are FREE – just be sure to RSVP so we don’t run out of food!

Pictures from previous cookouts can be found by clicking here.

Cookout 2015

Save the date: Community Cookout, August 13th!


Every other year since I’ve been in office, I’ve made sure we gather everyone together in one location for food, fellowship and fun! I hope you’ll again join me, your friends, neighbors and several national, statewide and local elected officials again at the Community Cookout this August!

Please RVSP to Elizabeth Donehue at Bring the entire family! Also, if you’d like to support my efforts as your representative and be a Host, Sponsor or Contributor for this event please let her know!

Officials planning to attend (confirmed as of June 12th). This will be updated closer to event.

US Congressman Joe Wilson
SC Governor Nikki Haley
SC Treasuer Curtis Loftis
SC Attorney General Alan Wilson
State Senator John Courson
State Representative Chip Huggins
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott
Richland County Coroner Gary Wats
Lexington County Councilman Johnny Jeffcoat
Chapin Mayor Stan Shealy
Irmo Mayor Hardy King
Lexington/Richland School District Five Superintendent Steve Hefner
School Board Member Jim Turner
Irmo Town Councilman Paul Younginer
* more as they confirm their plans

Hearing directly from constituents is the best way we can do our job. Elected officials that stay in touch often – not just during campaign season – are more in tune with how to best serve their area.

To see news on previous Community Cookouts, click any of these links!

2011 Cookout Hosts, Sponsors and Contributors

2011 Cookout Photos
2009 Cookout video
2007 Cookout information

Thank you! Community Cookout

Once again we had another great turnout for the Community Cookout!

Jim LeBlanc played music while Hudson’s served up BBQ for over 200 guests at the Rusty Anchor and Quarterdeck last night.

Listed above our the hosts, sponsors, contributors who helped make it possible and whose support of my efforts to serve our state are greatly appreciated!

I also wish to think these elected officials for taking their time to visit with friends and neighbors right here in our community: US Congressman Joe Wilson, Governor Nikki Haley, Superintendent of Education Mick Zais, Attorney General Alan Wilson, Senator John Courson, Senator Ronnie Cromer, Representative Chip Huggins, Representative Ralph Norman, Chapin Mayor Stan Shealy, Richland County Councilman Bill Malinowski, Lexington County Councilman Johnny Jeffcoat, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, Irmo Town Councilman Hardy King, Irmo Town Councilman Barry Walker, School Board Members Jan Hammond, Kim Murphy, Jim Turner. Also special thanks to District Five Superintendent Steve Hefner.

Here are a few photos if you weren’t able to attend the event this year: Photos of 2011 Community Cookout

Two Weeks from today! COMMUNITY COOKOUT

Click the image above to view it in a larger size.

In just two weeks (Tuesday, August 16th) our community will have 19 elected officials right here in one place for you to meet…along with several of your friends and neighbors!

This regular event is a great way for you to speak with officials you may not normally have a chance to talk with in a casual setting! From US Congress to our constitutional officers to local School Board Members. Many levels of elected office will be represented from Republicans, Democrats, and Non-partisan officials…just like our community!

I want to again thank this year’s hosts, sponsors, contributors and also everyone who has RSVP’d!

It’s not too late to save your spot for some BBQ, banana pudding, music and fellowship. Bring the kids and family!

Rusty Anchor
Tuesday, August 16th
6pm to 7:30

If you can’t make it but would still like to donate to my campaign, simply click here! (Thanks in advance! It’s an honor and privilege to serve Richland and Lexington counties in Columbia!)

Hope to see you there!