and I want to be
I was born and raised in Laurens. I grew up on a farm, and I know what it means to work hard. I'm a graduate of Clemson University and the Charleston School of Law. After living in Charleston for ten years, I felt called to move back home, and that has been one of the best decisions of my life.
I believe in Laurens, and I am excited about its future.
As a lawyer, I often represent clients who can't afford an attorney, and I see first-hand the impact that poverty can have on families in this city. I am also a certified mediator, so I help people find creative ways to resolve their issues. Another aspect of my practice is estate planning. I draft wills for people because I believe it is better to prevent problems than have to solve them.
When I'm not practicing law, I am usually preparing a lesson for my Sunday school class at First Presbyterian or working on restoring an old house in the South Harper Historic District. Preserving our city's architectural heritage is important to me.
With that said, this race isn't about me. It is about us - our city - and what kind of leadership is necessary as we move forward. I love Laurens, and I believe we can do so much better than we have with the resources we have been given. But to do better, we need a mayor who is willing to lead and who has a clear vision of where we are going.
I can offer leadership for the issues we face now, and I have a clear vision for our future - and it is bright!
I hope that you will give me the opportunity to serve you, and I am asking for your vote on March 5th.
Laurens has tremendous potential, and it needs a leader who has a bold vision for its future and a belief that we can and should flourish, and who is willing to work to turn potential into reality.
Laurens is going to grow.
The question for our city is whether that growth will be the kind of growth we want and whether it happens when, where, and how we want. Unless we are proactive, we will simply get what we get when Greenville gradually expands this way. Rather than developing according to the plans we have invested in so heavily, we will simply be forced to accept whatever we can get - and perhaps what others do not want.
Laurens needs a mayor who is proactive. With the help of important organizations like Main Street Laurens, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Laurens County Development Corporation, I will identify businesses and individuals who are interested in investing in our city and recruit them to come here. I can share with them my own experience of moving my business from a larger city to Laurens and proudly explain why we have so much to offer here. I will take advantage of untapped resources to spread the word that our city really is a "great place to live and work."
By actively recruiting what we want, we can shape our own future rather than just becoming a part of another city's urban sprawl. We can also ensure that we preserve the unique characteristics of Laurens that make us who we are.
I am dedicated to helping our city achieve all it can and should be and preserving those things which are so great about what it already is.
As mayor, I will work to restore accountability and responsibility in city government. I will make sure that our city government lives up to its responsibilities to you, its citizens and businesses. If you have chosen to live or work in the City of Laurens, you have placed your confidence in this city. As your mayor, I will make sure that we prioritize keeping our citizens safe, enforce the law fairly, and aggressively address the blight that has come as a result of years of neglect. I understand that there are many pleasant places to live in the State of South Carolina and across our great nation, but if you have chosen to come or remain in this fine city, you deserve a city government that respects that decision and is responsible to you.
We must not only attract new business investment, but we must support the businesses already here. Far too often I hear from business owners and civic leaders who want to do great things here, but they do not feel they have the support of city government. I will work to make sure that the good efforts of our citizens and businesses are not hampered by needless red-tape and disorganization. Businesses large and small, as well as our important charities and civic institutions, should know that they have the support of city government - especially their mayor - and that we will do all we can to make sure they succeed.
I intend to be the "Cheerleader-in-Chief" for Laurens. As a small business owner myself, I know that when the city is thriving, my own business will thrive. Laurens needs a mayor who appreciates the sacrifices of small business owners and is grateful for the investment of large businesses. I pledge to support you, to be creative about ways the city can help encourage your efforts, and to offer an open door when you have concerns.
Having grown up in Laurens, I remember what it was like when Laurens Glass, our textile mills, and so many other facilities were in business. I remember what it was like having more dining options in town. Since then, we have taken some pretty hard knocks, and they hurt. And, with those heavy blows, it seems that somewhere along the way a culture of discouragement about the prospects for our future set in. We started telling our children that they should grow up, get an education, and make something of themselves so they could get out of Laurens. I want to change that.
We need a culture change.
I believe that success breeds success, and with success comes a confidence that we can tackle whatever comes our way. Part of our culture change will come when we recognize our successes and progress. When we see that businesses are growing and new businesses are starting, that success will breed success, and we can restore the positive outlook for our city's future that we need. By recruiting and supporting our businesses as your mayor, I will do my part to bring about that culture change.
I also believe we must place priority on our children and young people. They are our future. As your mayor, I will work with the administrations of our schools to encourage our youth. We can develop ways to teach our kids that they shouldn't get an education to leave Laurens, but that they should get an education, come back, and make Laurens a better place. We can do our part to make sure our schools are producing not only good students, but good citizens.
As your mayor, I will also work to attract young families, professionals, and other hardworking individuals to our city. If your children have moved away to Charleston, Greenville, Columbia, or points beyond because they wanted to live in cities where there are bustling restaurants, activities, good schools and entertainment, I want to give them more reasons to come back to Laurens. If a business is thinking of investing here but is concerned about the quality of life for its employees, I want to attract and encourage the sorts of restaurants, shops, and activities that will make Laurens an even more attractive place to live and work for people of all ages.
To do all these things, we need some fresh thinking.
Leadership Now. Vision for the Future.