It’s Election Day and your chance to help shape the future of your town and the government most likely to have a direct impact on you.
Charleston and North Charleston will choose mayors. Charleston voters will fill six of its 12 City Council seats. All 10 North Charleston City Council seats come up for reelection at once, though two members are running unopposed — we favor shifting to staggered elections — and Mount Pleasant will pick four Town Council members at large.
The Post and Courier’s editorial staff reviewed questionnaires, interviewed mayoral candidates and researched everyone’s stance on important issues to help voters make informed decisions. Here is a recap of our endorsements:
We endorsed Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg for a second term because of his commitment to tackling the city’s biggest problems — flooding, overdevelopment, traffic jams and affordable housing — and his steady hand despite considerable friction from City Council.
Mayor Tecklenburg has pushed ahead with downtown’s deep-tunnel drainage system, gotten an ordinance in place to limit hotel development, brought in experts from the Netherlands to help address flooding citywide, set aside more money for affordable housing and started an effort aimed at redeveloping West Ashley.
In the council races, we endorsed Marie Delcioppo for the 1st District seat because of her estimable civic experience and her ideas for reducing flooding, improving traffic and limiting development on Johns Island.
In the District 3 race, Jason Sakran stands out as the best candidate to represent the fast-changing area of the upper-peninsula district. He supports better public transportation, including the bus rapid transit system between downtown and Summerville, and embraces fixes derived from the Dutch Dialogues to reduce flooding.
Karl Brady is our pick for West Ashley’s District 5 seat. He wants the city to pass a unified development ordinance that would tie together zoning, stormwater management and land use, and help guide West Ashley’s redevelopment. He backs building a bike-and-pedestrian bridge across the Ashley River, creating affordable housing for teachers and other public employees and attacking traffic problems on a regional scale.
Incumbent Keith Waring is our pick for District 7, which also includes part of West Ashley. We believe Mr. Waring will be a key player in addressing citywide issues, such as flooding and traffic, as well as those in his district, including affordable housing and the revitalization of Citadel Mall.
In District 9, we’re backing incumbent Peter Shahid because of his leading role in the effort to revive West Ashley, improve public transportation, strengthen stormwater regulations and limit development in flood-prone areas.
Our District 11 endorsement goes to Ross Appel, an attorney with experience in land-use law who we believe will hit the ground running and bring fresh ideas to the council. He favors using tourism taxes to help mitigate flooding and placing a head tax on cruise ship passengers.
In North Charleston, we’re backing Mayor Keith Summey because of his able stewardship and skill in luring new business to the city. We believe his experience will help North Charleston continue to prosper as the region’s industrial powerhouse and better the quality of life for its more than 113,000 residents.
In the council elections, our picks include incumbents Virginia Jamison (District 3), Ron Brinson (District 4), Todd Olds (District 5), Kenny Skipper (District 9) and Michael Brown (District 10), all of whom have demonstrated their dedication to their respective constituents and an ability to work for the city’s best interests.
We also endorsed several newcomers:
Jesse Williams (District 6), a tax consultant with links to several neighborhood groups, is interested in creating more affordable housing and protecting the quality of life in established neighborhoods.
St. Julian Corey Van Hannegeyn IV (District 7) wants to preserve long-standing neighborhoods, reduce crime and land a grocery store in the city’s south end.
Gordon Garrett (District 8) is an attorney with deep roots in the area who wants the city to focus on improving residents’ quality of life.
In Mount Pleasant, we endorsed four newcomers for open seats:
Howard Chapman is a traffic engineer with a deep background in public service who we believe will help solve the town’s traffic problems.
Gary Davis has a background in public finance and backs open government, limited growth and sticking with the current council-mayor form of government.
Brenda Corley is the principal of Oceanside Collegiate Academy charter high school and has a firm grasp on Mount Pleasant’s need to diversify its tax base by bringing in more businesses.
Mike Lawrie is an ex-Marine Corps intelligence officer who works in cybersecurity. With a degree in government and legal studies, as well as an MBA, makes him well prepared for public service.
We think all of these candidates in these nonpartisan races will do a good job.
But none of it will matter unless eligible voters go to the polls. That also goes for races in Summerville and in smaller municipalities that also have elections today.
Voting is one of our solemn duties as Americans, so get out there today and vote.