Tuesday, June 3, 2014
There's been a lot of campaigning leading up to the June 10, primary election where voters will choose winners in some races and narrow down the playing field in others. On the local level, Williamsburg County Supervisor and two Williams-burg County Council seats are on the ballot. Ted Brown is challenging Supervisor Stanley Pasley. District 2 incumbent W.B. Wilson will face J.J. Dukes and Sulondia “Sue Ham” Hammond is challenging District 7 incumbent Frankie Fulmore.
Terms for Williamsburg County Council District 6 and District 1, as well as Williamsburg County Treasur-er and Williamsburg County Auditor will be on the November 4, general election ballot as those incumbents are running unopposed.
On the state level, democrats Leon Winn and Anthony Culler and republican Karen Smith are running for US Congress District 6.
They face incumbent Con-gressman James Clyburn. Governor Nikki Haley is running unopposed therefore will not be on the primary ballot.
By Felicia Ard Wallman
The News Correspondent
Theodore “Ted” Brown declared his candidacy as a democratic candidate for Williamsburg County Supervisor at the WC Democratic Convention. Brown is from Hemingway and has previously served as District 103 Representative in the State House for three terms from 1994- 2000.
Brown, who is challenging incumbent Stanley Paisley,has a vision to bring Williamsburg County together and his slogan “TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK” and “We have to come together to make it better” is fitting to that aspiration. “Some elected officials did not want to see the area grow and prosper,” said Brown. “One of the things I've learned is that I didn't realize how much I loved my area and Williamsburg County. That's the only reason I am running: I love Williamsburg County. It is my home; where I was raised and where my parents were raised.”
Brown said besides working together, the county needs jobs and his concentration will be on small business. “I want to create more small businesses in Williamsburg County,” he said. “We need to create jobs and a better education system in Williamsburg County.” He also questions a substantial amount of federal funding and it's usage at the county level. “We can't move forward until we have the answer cleared,” said Brown. “Stimulus money is supposed to stimulate the economy and stimulate the area so we can improve. I hope there is enough care and compassion to tell the citizens of the county where the money was, where it has been spent, who spent it, what it has been spent for and will this affect our tax bill even more. All the money was not a grant; part was a loan. We don't know what amount and with taxes being the way they are now, and the situation may cause the taxes to increase again because of this stimulus money. We are entitled to know so we can be informed and prepare ourselves. Once that is clear we can set a foundation.”
Brown became very familiar with the budget process and the legislative process while serving as representative. “I am very aware that it takes a team to make things work. In the legislation, we would vote on an issue after issue. I can't make things personal. It's facts and issues, “ said Brown who has been a businessman for 25 years. “I learned how to deal with people and the budget process. I learned how to use one-time shots, long-term shots, and bonds.
The only way to maintain a business is customer service. Everyone deserves the same service, no matter the race, age, or location. When a person comes through the door, everyone is equal.” Brown also served on the Medical, Municipal, and Military committee, Local Small Business Development Committee, and the Memorials and Interstate Committee.
“We can't move forward until we have the answered cleared. Stimulus money is supposed to stimulate the economy and stimulate the area so we can improve. I hope there is enough care and compassion to tell the citizens of the county where the money was, where it has been spent, who spent it, what it has been spent for and will this affect our tax bill even more. All the money was not a grant; part was a loan. We don't know what amount and with taxes being the way they are now, and the situation may cause the taxes to increase again because of this stimulus money. We are entitled to know so we can be informed and prepare ourselves.” Brown believes that our county needs to speak the truth with love. He also wants the county council to be completely transparent. “Once that is clear we can set a foundation.”
Brown graduated from Hemingway High School and continued his education at USC obtaining a Bachelor's Degree in Economics, an Opticianry Degree from Durham Technical College, and also completed Fellowship at University of Michigan Ann Arbor.
Brown values the opinions, needs and concerns of citizens of the community, “It's not about the money; it's about working with the people. Asking them how can we improve Williamsburg County,” he said. “We will receive what you want to say, we know it is merited, but give us some solutions and we got to get going. We have to work through the differences.”
Brown said he wishes to breathe fresh life back into the county council. “It's important to know what to do when you say you are going to serve people,” said Brown. “If this is God's will, we have to know that we are serving his people. We understand unity and we have to love each other despite our differences.”
Information Courtesy of James “J.J.” Dukes
James “J.J.” Dukes made official his bid to seek a seat on the Williamsburg County Council representing District 2. Dukes is challenging incumbent W.B. Wilson. “After months of traveling the district and speaking with voters in all communities and precincts I am convinced that folks are looking for change and I intend to be that change,” said Dukes. “I have a lot of energy to take on the task of serving and representing the people and I would be honored to earn their trust.”
As a councilman, James said he will work to build a strong relationship with other councilmembers, the school board, legislative delegation and congressional delegation to get Williamsburg County moving in the right direction. “I believe it is essential that we provide decisive leadership, display a strong teamwork spirit and a unified voice so that we can effectively address the critical issues facing our county,” said Dukes.
Priorities he will focus on are: Improving the economic condition of the county and citizens by focusing on job growth, increasing support for our schools, school leaders and technical college to ensure all citizens have access to top notch post high school education, improving road conditions in the district as well as other quality of life investments and making sure that council is a good steward of taxpayer dollars.
James said he believes the diversity of our people and area along with the strong historical work ethic of our people puts Williamsburg County in a unique position to land jobs of the future and transform our county in positive ways.
James Dukes is a Political Science graduate of Coastal Carolina University where he served as Student Body President and Governor of the South Carolina Student Legislature. He has served as field representative to United States Senator Ernest “Fritz” Hollings, executive director of the state Democratic Party, and as a field operations supervisor for the US Census Bureau. He also has served as chair of the Rural Area Leadership Initiative.
He remains active in his church, St. Mark AME where he is a member of the Trustee Board and his fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi where he serves as a regional governor.
By Felicia Ard Wallman
The News Correspondent
Sulondia “Sue Ham” Hammond is running for Williamsburg County Council District 7 in the primary on June 10. Hammond, who is challenging incumbent Franklin F. Fulmore, states “The only way to make our county a thriving county is to work together to build the economy to improve our system. We need to start new businesses and get education levels up.” She has a finance background from the Marine Corps where she served nearly nine years.
Following her time in service, she worked with large budgets within the Finance Department in the Department of Defense. In 2003 she moved back to Williamsburg County and began working with the USDA in home loans. Hammond is a published author, radio host, and an entrepreneur. She is also a mother of three kids and lives in Williamsburg County.
“I want people to believe in their dreams. I want them to see even if Williamsburg County seems barren and poverty-stricken it is up to our citizens to create a vision of hope. I was able to come back home to Williamsburg County and set my mind to achieve. I achieved my dream. I never thought I would come back to Williamsburg County but I came home and I want to make a difference. “
Hammond would like to implement a way to get the youth involved in our government such as Junior Councilmen. She would also like to bring term limits to Williamsburg County Council. “I believe people become complacent and when there's no accountability of our leaders from our citizens, those leaders lose their vision. There is poverty but there is still possibility. If you are in a position to serve citizens you have to be willing to work together, serve the people, and realize you are working for the people. Being on council is like being a parent- you can't be selfish.”
Hammond's campaign literature states that she is competent, compassionate, and committed. She inspires hope in people and is a fervent motivational speaker. Ham is not someone to talk then sit back and let the county continue on the path it is on. “I want to work together with the rest of the county council. I want to work with Vital Aging to implement senior activities and funding. We need to train our youth to be able to open their own businesses or go into the workforces in our county. We have to be accountable and we have to have hope.”
By Michaele Duke
Stanley Pasley is campaigning for his third term as Williamsburg County Supervisor.
Pasley seems to be confident going into the last week before the election. “I'm interacting with the people and there is an air of enthusiasm,” said Pasley. “Folks are beginning to see some of the works we have been involved in and how it is going to allow us to make Williamsburg County stronger so we can grow and have a place where there are great opportunities and good quality of life.”
Since taking office in 2007, Pasley has addressed a number of infrastructure issues to include the renovation of the historic courthouse, a new Sheriff's Office and Detention Center, Public Services building and Emergency Management Division facility. The impetus for the construction and renovations was set in motion as soon as he stepped foot in the office.
He put together a transition team charged with assessing county government, organizations and infrastructure. “We began to develop a comprehensive capital improvement plan that had never been done before,” said Pasley. “It gave us somewhat of a road map as to what was some of the specific things we needed to address.” The county also took advantage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as the Stimulus. The first Economic Stimulus Summit in South Carolina was held in Williamsburg County.
In addition to meeting the facility needs, significant grant funds and low interest loans have been secured to run water across the county.
Many communities already have access to the lines and others are nearing completion. In addition, nearly $17.8 million in grant/loan will provide water from an area beginning at Cooper's Country Store on Highway 521 to Andrews and will include St. Lawrence, Blakely, Trio and Earles communities. “Once we get those pipes in the ground we will have, say, close to 85 to 90 percent of the county that will have access to good drinking water,” said Pasley. “What I'm so happy about this is, as a result, the quality of life improves. We have a very high rate of folks on dialysis. While certainly there is no clear cut - there are indications that good clean water certainly could have been a contributing factor to this all these years.” Pasley added that such an investment reaps dividends for the citizens as the lines allow for the installation of fire hydrants, thus dropping ISO ratings, which can lead to lower insurance premiums for homeowners.
Under his watch Pasley said the county's credit rating has gone from BBB to an A credit rating. He said the county has also experienced 600 new jobs and 16 industry expansions. He said to create an environment that is conducive for business is a top priority. “We have been very competitive as far as incentives to attract industry.
We lost Firestone and SafeAuto, but it wasn't because we didn't do everything within our power.” Pasley said working with the state, even a $50 million incentive package that included tax credits couldn't keep Firestone from leaving. He said they presented a similar package to SafeAuto.
Pasley addressed an issue that recently came up during a council meeting where a citizen questioned the use of millions in grants.
Pasley chalked it up to campaign rhetoric. “First of all there's no way you can misappropriate $80 million without it being discovered by audits or by grant reviews.
All federal grants have reporting mechanisms, procedures and we have an external audit every year that tracks all of our grants.” Pasley added that the number thrown out there is inconsequential. “The number keeps moving because we keep securing additional dollars. That was $80 million that was being thrown out back in March. Since that time, we have almost $17 million that has been obligated to us for water.” Pasley said after research, the county's grants writer said since 2008, the county has received a combined total of nearly $88.9 million in grants and loans. Pasley said the question to him is accountability, “and we have been accountable for every cent of monies that this county has received.”
A dream has come to fruition in Pasley's backyard. Hemingway now boasts a hub for government related offices so its citizens do not need to drive the 30 plus miles. “The Chavis One Stop (Complex) - a dream of people in Hemingway area for over 25 years have become a reality,” said Pasley of the satellite campus. “We have basically every service that is provided in Kingstree - the citizens in Hemingway have access to those services.”
Pasley said the fact that these things have occurred is enough to give pause. “It's amazing that all of this has happened in probably one of the worst economic times in the history of our country since the Depression,” said Pasley. “Those kind of accomplishments are something that I'm extremely proud of.”
Pasley's vision is to continue to grow Williamsburg County and make it stronger and competitive and to improve the quality of life for its citizens. In 2013, the county launched a five-year strategic plan aimed at advancing the county as a competitive regional presence. “There's no doubt in my mind, given the next four years, this county is not going to be the same,” said Pasley. “It's going to be something that people are going to say “Wow.”
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