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Mount Pleasant Chamber meeting features U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham, annual scholarship award | Business

U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham spoke at the Aug. 20 virtual Mount Pleasant Chamber of Commerce (MPCC) luncheon.

Congressman Cunningham represents South Carolina’s First Congressional District which includes Mount Pleasant, Charleston, Kiawah and Hilton Head. He serves on the House Natural Resources and the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

Cunningham spoke on several national issues and bills he has been working on in Congress. He also answered questions from readers in a live Q&A session during the virtual luncheon.


When asked about the parking restrictions at local beaches, Cunningham said that things have been moving quickly and admitted that he has been more focused on issues like COVID-19 relief and the Postal Service situation in D.C. rather than municipality parking.

He reflected on some of his accomplishments while serving in Congress during the luncheon. He said that they have chalked up a lot of victories in the House by working together and listening to one another in order to get things done.

Cunningham also spoke about the road to recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We need to get the economy back up and running to where it was,” Cunningham said. “Especially here in the Lowcountry.”

As the 2020 election approaches, Cunningham said that he believes local newspapers, television stations and radio stations are all great sources to get information on candidates. He discouraged listening to national news and said to look to local media if citizens are unable to get out to meet the candidates in-person for themselves due to the pandemic.

“Stay safe and healthy everyone,” Cunningham concluded.


Each year the MPCC offers a scholarship program in memory of Mount Pleasant resident Joe Brinson. Throughout Brinson’s thirty-plus year career, he played a vital role in numerous educational organizations throughout the Carolinas, including the Construction Education Foundation. This scholarship program is intended to encourage and support students aspiring to a career in business.

The MPCC Philanthropy Committee announced Rachel Thornton as the 2020 recipient of the Joe Brinson Memorial Scholarship. Thornton graduated from Wando High School this year with a 3.3 GPA.

MPCC Philanthropy Committee Chair Mary Anna Lewis shared that they were very impressed with all the applicants this year, but Thornton stood out the most to the committee.


Thornton ran track for Wando and was in the Spanish Club. She was actively involved with Young Life and traveled overseas on mission trips. She plays the violin and headed up a Card Playing Club all four years at Wando. She created the club for students who wanted to get together before school to have fun playing cards and welcomed new members with open arms.

Thornton also held jobs throughout her high school career. She is the daughter of a local nurse and police officer in the Mount Pleasant community. She will attend Wofford College beginning this fall where she will study Government and International Affairs. Thornton has a desire to eventually move back to area so she can give back to this community.

The Chamber will award Thornton with a $5,000 scholarship.


The MPCC Annual Business Expo will take place virtually from Sept. 21- 31.

More information about this 10-day event will be announced soon.

Seven new members joined MPCC in August.

Costco was highlighted as the August MPCC business spotlight. Costco is currently gearing up to begin a campaign to support the Children’s Miracle Network.

MPCC ‘s non-profit of the month was Trident United Way. For more information visit

Dr. J. Goosby Smith will speak at the Sept. 17 MPCC virtual monthly luncheon. Dr. Smith is an Associate Professor of Leadership, Associate Professor of Management, and Assistant Provost for Diversity & Inclusion at The Citadel. She is also the Director of The Citadel’s Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Center.

For more information about MPCC or to sign up for upcoming events, visit

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