I-526 a major issue for District 6 voters

Carolyn Hughes (left) and Vic Rawl are candidates for Charleston County Council District 6.

Residents of Charleston County Council’s District 6 must decide between a Democratic incumbent, who touts a lifetime of public service, and a petition candidate who heralds her success in the business world.

Vic Rawl, a Democrat who has held the seat since 2008, and petition candidate Carolyn Hughes differ more on who they are and their perspective than where they stand on important issues.

Hughes originally filed to run as a Republican but was disqualified from the ballot in June, along with five other GOP candidates who failed to file a paper copy of a statement of economic interest in time.

Both candidates said there are no big issues specific to District 6, which encompasses parts of North Charleston, West Ashley and the largely rural southwest part of the county.

But there are important countywide issues, the most pressing of which is the completion of Interstate 526 across Johns and James islands. Both candidates support the controversial project. And both of them said they think the majority of the residents of District 6 also support it.

The road is needed, “The people are here. The traffic is here,” Hughes said.

“The idea that Johns Island is rural or can remain rural is simply wishful thinking,” Rawl said.

Hughes said she also supports, in a general way, improving and increasing infrastructure that supports growth. The area is growing, she said, so it’s better that it grow in a controlled, planned and smart way.

She also supports streamlining government services, especially those that affect small businesses. Hughes, a real estate broker, said many small business people now have to get numerous permits before they can move ahead with simple projects. She thinks processes could be improved to save business owners time and money.

She also said she thinks she would listen to her constituents better than her opponent has over the past four years.

Rawl said he also supports infrastructure improvements, as well as a consolidation of public services to increase efficiency and lower the cost.

And he would like to have another four years on the job, for which he accepts no stipends, to see through some important initiatives such as the comprehensive overhaul in the way the county handles solid waste, and the improvement of services for senior citizens.

Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491 or on Twitter @dianeknich.