“Blessed” was the word Paul Misener, Amazon’s vice president of Global Public Policy, chose to describe himself and his company’s dramatic entrance to South Carolina. Addressing a crowd of about 250 people at Tuesday’s Chamber Breakfast Meeting, Misener said there were seven “key blessings” that brought the online retailer here after a tumultuous statewide debate. He ticked off the blessings:
- Impressive communications. Capitol Consultants and McAlister Communications helped educate members of the General Assembly and the citizenry about the sales tax collection exemption, and that it was a federal issue
- The facts. “We had an easy case to make,” Misener said, pointing to the job opportunities and economic investment Amazon represented.
- The South Carolina Department of Commerce. “Joe Taylor and Bobby Hitt were instrumental in attracting Amazon to South Carolina,” he said, referring to the former and current state Commerce Secretaries.
- Lexington County government officials. Amazon needed local support and enthusiasm from the populace. County leaders drummed it up.
- Sen. Nikki Setzler. “I have never seen one individual take such ownership on behalf of his constituents,” Misener said, adding that he hoped people had a chance to watch Setzler debating on the Senate floor. “It was a civics lesson. It was amazing.”
- Legislative leadership. Misener praised Sen. Hugh Leatherman of Florence for recognizing that Amazon meant good things for South Carolina and not just the Midlands. Other lawmakers eventually came to agree.
- The “Great State of South Carolina.” Misener affirmed that South Carolina “is a wonderful place to be. We’re excited to be joining the family.”
Misener took a few questions after his remarks. When asked if Amazon planned to join the Lexington Chamber, he pulled out the Key to the City Lexington Mayor Randy Halfacre had given him the day after the House of Representatives voted against the amendment they wanted. “See this key?” he asked the crowd, holding it up by its ribbon. “It comes with strings attached.”