It wasn’t a huge turnout for the primary that included Williamsburg County Coroner and three County Council seats but for those who did vote, big changes came about as women will now play more prominent roles. In 2019, Dr. Tiffany Wright made history as the first female County Supervisor. Tuesday’s election added another female to the mix. Sulondia “Sue-Ham” Hammond beat longstanding Councilmember and Vice Chair Andy McKnight for the District 5 seat. McKnight served on council for 32 years.
Hammond is a former Marine, owner of Sue-Ham Entertainment and a motivational speaker, coach, entrepreneur, and author. She says she ran because of several reasons; one being the county’s budget. ”I felt like our budget was being neglected. Every time we keep finding ourselves in peril,” said Hammond who will join Councilwoman Carolyn G. Lemmon of District 7. “We’re being reactive instead of proactive.”
Another reason the future councilwoman ran was to address leadership and its role in the community. “When you’re just showing up to meetings and really not doing anything outside of just showing up at a council meeting, that’s really not going to help our cause here.” She said as a leader she will be transparent and will refuse to hoard information and resources. “I want to actually bring that back and distribute it to the county, as well as continually bring in people to the county to help the underserved.” Above all she says citizens need to change the way we think. “One of the biggest things I want to focus on is mindset training,” she said. “Regardless of what resources are brought here, if we don’t change the way we think we won’t change the way we do things. No one person can make it better. It will take collective efforts and I am truly a person who wants to work with everyone to make our county better.”
When longtime Coroner Harrison McKnight decided to retire, he opened the door for two candidates.
Ivori Henryhand, who also ran in 2016, beat Assistant Coroner William “B” Horton. Henryhand is a licensed funeral director with her family’s business and is thrilled to be the first female coroner. During her time as a student at the College of Charleston she minored in gender studies, which underscored her goal to become coroner. “Just to know that a little bit of history was made in my honor for accomplishing that is humbling,” she said. Losing in 2016 only made her more determined.
She enrolled at the University of Florida and earned her coroner’s certification. Though it isn’t recognized in South Carolina, it provided her with valuable insight. “I wanted it more for an educational background,” she said. “I just didn’t want to be thrown into a position where I didn’t know what I was talking about.”
Henryhand plans to broaden the role of coroner as well. She would like to connect the coroner’s office with healthy educational programs. “Most of the causes of death in our county are related to high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease,” she said. “I want to bring some awareness to that to see what kind of preventive measures we can bring to the county to help prevent some of those deaths.” Other coroner’s offices throughout the state offer similar programs.
And lastly, she wants to see a physical office in the county. “Once I take office in January, I want that office to be up and running from day one,” she said. “And it’s not space for me. It will be space for evidence (personal effects, etc.) and where files can be stored properly and in a safe manner.”
According to the CDC, in most states, elected coroners are not required to be physicians or forensic pathologists. State law often mandates specific death investigation training for coroners. In South Carolina a first term coroner is required to complete a basic training session to be determined by the Department of Public Safety. This basic training session must be completed no later than the end of the calendar year following the person’s election as coroner.
In other local elections, after a landslide win in the primary, District 32 Senator Ronnie Sabb will face lone republican David Ellison of Georgetown in the General Election. District 4 Council member Eddie Woods won his election. House of Representative District 101 Cezar McKnight ran unopposed.
District 3 Council member Jonathan Miller and Harry Darby will have a runoff Tuesday, June 23.
PRECINCTS OPEN FOR THE RUNOFF ELECTION ARE:
- PINEY FOREST
THE ABSENTEE PRECINCT WILL CLOSE ON MONDAY, JUNE 22, 2020 AT 5:00 PM
Williamsburg County has 21,746 registered voters, 35.54 % of voters turned out casting 7,729 ballots. Swearing-in ceremonies will occur in January 2021.