Bustos wants to be mayor


MOUNT PLEASANT — Town Councilman Joe Bustos said Friday that he is a candidate for mayor in the November general election.

Bustos said he felt he had enough support to be competitive in the race. Councilman Gary Santos already has announced that he is running for mayor.

Bustos described himself as a fiscal conservative. He said completion of the Johnnie Dodds and Coleman boulevards revitalization projects is important to him. He also is concerned about fair, affordable prices for wind and hail insurance.

The mayor's job is a part-time position that pays about $15,000 annually.

On May 13, Mayor Harry Hallman resigned because he felt it was in the best interest of the town in light of his battle against Alzheimer's disease. Mayor Pro-Tem Kruger Smith, who is acting mayor, has said he has no interest in running for mayor.

Hallman was nearing the end of his second term when he retired. He remained in office for a year after announcing that he had Alzheimer's. A special election was unnecessary to fill the remainder of his term because his resignation happened close to the upcoming general election.

Bustos, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and local businessman, was elected to council in 2000 and re-elected in 2004. He is chairman of the Bids & Purchases Committee and a member of the Annexation, Economic Development and Personnel committees. He serves on the Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority board.

Santos is a port manager with Inchcape Shipping Services who has served on council since 1996. He is chairman of the Council Recreation Committee, and a member of the Bids & Purchases, Personnel, and Planning & Development committees. He is a staunch supporter of the town's recreation programs which he says are important for building youth character.

Councilman Billy Swails has been mentioned as a possible candidate for mayor. He has neither confirmed nor denied that he is interested in the job. Swails, a State Farm insurance agent, served on council from 1976-84. In 2006, he was elected to fill the two-year unexpired term of Joe McKeown, who was elected to County Council. Swails has said he plans to run for a four-year term in November. He is chairman of the Finance and Water Supply committees, and a member of the Planning & Development and Recreation committees.

Reach Prentiss Findlay at 937-5711 or pfindlay@postandcourier.com.