Q&A with County Council, Solicitor Candidates

 

Billy Smith: District 7 Candidate

 

Walter Larry Stewart: District 3 Candidate

 

Dan Ruff: District 1 Candidate

 

David Brandenburg: District 7 Candidate

 

David Ferguson: District 5 Candidate (Incumbent)

 

Eugene Holmes: District 5 Candidate

 

Marion Robinson: District 5 Candidate

 

Clyde Sanders: District 7 Candidate

 

Michael Squirewell: District 1 Candidate

 

Tangee Brice-Jacobs: District 3 Candidate

 

William Frick: Candidate for 6th Circuit Solicitor

 

Note: In the County Council Candidate Question & Answer section on pages 1, 11 and 14 of the print Edition, The Voice left out the candidates’ answers to Question 2. Also, Marion Robinson’s  (Dist. 5) answer to Question No. 4 was also left out. The complete answers to all the candidates’ questions appear below. The Voice apologies to the candidates for these omissions. .

WINNSBORO – With the 2014 general election coming up this Tuesday, The Voice presents a question and answer session with candidates for Fairfield County Council and the Sixth Circuit Solicitor’s Office. Each candidate was given the same opportunity to answer, and the majority of them did. Two, however, chose not to respond – County Council incumbents Dwayne Perry (District 1) and Mikel Trapp (District 3). For those who did respond, their answers are presented here unedited.

For our County Council candidates, we asked:

  1. Please provide a brief history of your education, training and employment.
  2. If you are an incumbent, please tell us how long you have served, and briefly describe your accomplishments as a Council member. If you are a challenger, briefly describe any leadership roles you have taken in the community, initiatives implemented, challenges faced, goals accomplished; and tell us what has motivated you to seek office.
  3. What do you see as the greatest challenge facing Fairfield County and describe how you would meet that challenge?
  4. What do you see as the economic future of Fairfield County, and how can Council best position the County to meet that future?
  5. How would you classify the current direction of Fairfield County? Is it moving in the right direction? The wrong direction? And if it is, in your opinion, moving in the wrong direction, how would you correct that course?
  6. County Council has recently come under some criticism for a perceived lack of transparency, for not adequately presenting comprehensive information to the public for their input. If you agree with this criticism, tell us how you would do things differently. If you disagree, tell us why.

They said:

District 1

Dwayne Perry (incumbent)

Did not respond

Dan Ruff

1. I am a Fairfield County native, and I have the privilege of owning and operating one of the oldest businesses in the county – Ruff Hardware. I am a 1978 graduate of Erskine College with a bachelor’s degree in Business Finance. As a business owner, I have faced many challenges that have taught me the importance of making sound decisions and focusing on customers − two important principles that we desperately need in county government.

2. I have served eight years on the Ridgeway Town Council, also serving as Mayor Pro Tem. I have also served on the board of directors of the Bank of Ridgeway, Community Resource Bank and Fairfield County Chamber of Commerce. I have served as Deacon or Elder of Aimwell Presbyterian Church for more than 30 years. I am an active member of the Ridgeway Merchants Association and have volunteered with the Ridgeway Fire Department. I was named the 2010 Ridgeway Citizen of the Year. I have always been a strong supporter of local government, but in recent years, I have been disappointed to see the adversarial relationship between the County Council and our citizens. I am seeking office to create an open dialogue with citizens for positive change.

3. First and foremost, our county government must rein in our high property tax rates. If we are to bring high-quality manufacturing and other industries to our county and generally improve our quality of life, we must have a workable and working plan to that end. We need tight procurement controls, full bid contracts and common-sense business decisions. Our County government can do more with less by partnering with our school board, town councils, the Chamber and citizens by being cooperative rather than contentious

4. It’s good that we are bringing in manufacturing, but we must become more diversified if we are to minimize risks and provide more and better jobs for our citizens. With the proximity to the I-77 corridor, we need to be looking at attracting call centers, retail distribution centers, retirement communities, outlet malls and more tourism. And why aren’t we looking at the timber industry? We need to seek long-term prosperity for our citizens.

5. We have an ineffective and inefficient government, exorbitantly high taxes and, in many cases, underperforming services, yet we spend 90% more per capita than the average rural South Carolina county. This sitting council has had years to set a meaningful, successful course for the county, and it has failed to do so. There is no reason to think they will do any better with $80 million in revenue per year than they did with $24 million. It’s time for a change. We need a new government and hopefully this election will provide that.

6. We need transparency to restore trust in government. The council is elected to serve the people. We need a council that won’t keep secrets from the citizens. With true transparency, we can move forward together.

Michael Squirewell

  1. I’m a graduate of Winthrop University with a BS in Business Administration-Production and Operations Management My experience stems 8 years in Corporate America and 20 years in the Private Sector.
  2. I’ve held numerous positions on different boards, to include Church, volunteered as an AAU Travel Basketball Coach and mentor, and spearheaded the Boys and Girls Club in the Fairfield County School District. I’m most proud of the involvement with kids as it has allowed me to help groom productive young men and women who will contribute added value to our society and the decision making that will lead our future. I’ve been motivated by listening to the needs of the community and responding accordingly.
  3. Quality of Life- A community needs availability of resourceful libraries, safe living environments roads that don’t cause additional expenses to vehicle maintenance, water parks, indoor pools for aerobics and swimming, and indoor walking tracks for elderly. I would include the community in the planning process to get these things done. High Taxes and Economic Development does not go hand in hand. Property taxes must be lowered to convince potential home seekers that Fairfield County is the place to relocate. Lowering Business taxes must remain an option to recruit new industry. Jobs must remain in the county to establish a strong cash flow back into the county. I will advocate a “Hiring Fairfield First” initiative to raise awareness on importance of companies in county hiring in county.
  4. With more business friendly minds being voted on council, I think the economic future for Fairfield County is promising. The council must work to change the image of the county and focus more on understanding needs of larger companies. More jobs will come and a stronger economy will exist.
  5. Reluctantly, I would have to say the County is moving in the wrong direction. Council spends too much time putting out fires and not enough time solving issues and concerns of citizens. I think the smoke has blinded some members from making good decisions. To correct, I would facilitate relationships with the community rather than against and be a little more transparent about what decisions are being made.
  6. Most of the criticism surrounds the approval of the 24 million dollars in an Obligation Bond. While I would like to think the Council had the right intentions, the concerns are that the intentions were not shared with the citizens of the county. And when spending taxpayer money, we must understand that the taxpayer wants to know two things… 1) Why and 2) How Much. Again, I just think it is imperative to keep the taxpayer aware of where their tax dollars are being spent. Taxpayer permission is not a bad thing. This was a substantial amount of money. In the future, Council must make better attempts to make less decisions behind closed doors. Taxpayers in the county just want to be more involved and should be more involved.

District 3

Mikel Trapp (incumbent)

Did not respond.

Tangee Brice Jacobs

  1. McCrorey-Liston High School; Columbia Commercial School of Business; Brown’s School of Real Estate; USC; Certified Health Coordinator (1988); Administrative Coordinator, Palmetto Health (40 years).
  2. Chair FFC Democratic Party; 1st Vice Chair NAACP FFC Branch; Board Member Jenkinsville Water; Member Coalition of Churches; State Appointed Co Chair Democratic Rural Caucus. Two successful Men’s Prostate and Health Screenings. Prepared and disseminated a first time ever Survey Re: VC Summer with permission granted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Washington, D.C. Requested and received from Washington, D.C. Justice Department agents visit FFC to observe the voting and hear concerns of our voting practices. Challenges faced: Lack of Community Unity. Goals accomplished: Revitalization of the FFC Democratic Party. Re-Organization of the FFC Branch of the NAACP. Successful implementation of Health Care Initiatives. Motivation to seek office: My love of my county, my passion and our people. I want to make a difference in Fairfield thru Unity, Service and Integrity.
  3. Lack of Community Unity. I will meet this challenge by continuing to communicate with Civic-Minded, Cultural and Religious Groups and Organizations while maintaining due diligence for all our citizens.
  4. Without citizens involvement, without strong and sound integrity by our leaders, without better fire, water, and sewer services, without identifying the essential need for support of small local business, without continuing to improve our educational system, without providing transportation and recreational opportunities for our youth and our elderly, our economic future will continue to move slowly.
  5. Change is good. Current County Council members have expressed that certain areas of our great county look as if it is a 3rd world country. If 12 years of leadership and millions of dollars spent in our county and current council has identified the sad but true realization then we must make change.
  6. The Voice of the people is the most powerful tool and privilege that we as Americans have today. We must engage our citizens, We must share information. We must remember the wisdom of the people that formed this country. They recognized that WE THE PEOPLE is the success factor that built and continue to build this country.

Walter Larry Stewart

  1. I was born in Mitford and have been a legal resident of Fairfield County for 65 Years. I grew up on my Family’s cotton farm in Mitford. I spent 22 years in the Army and retired with a permanent rank of Lt. Colonel. My degrees include a Bachelors’ Degree in Business Management to a Ph.D. in Organizational Management; all of which were earned during my tenure in the Army. I have held numerous positions throughout the world; to include a five year tour in Pentagon. During my tour in Panama, I served as the Director of Personnel and Community Activities for the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal Zone. This position was equivalent to a County/City Administrator’s Position.
  2. I am the founder and CEO of the CMC Foundation which works with local young men and women while they are incarcerated. 36 individuals have participated in this program and are leading productive lives. Also, the foundation has provided scholarships and financial support to 44 local students to attend college. The foundation receives no government monies, but is internally funded by CMC, LLC.
  3. The greatest challenge facing Fairfield County is the lack of a high quality sustainable job base. I will focus on attracting companies with high and medium paying jobs that will match the employment base in Fairfield County. We need to work with Midland Tech, Fairfield Central High School and Richard Winn to graduate students with the skills mix required to support companies locating to Fairfield County.
  4. Fairfield County can have a bright economic future, if we work together to develop a long range comprehensive plan which can develop the utility infrastructure to support industry. We need to improve water, sewer and fire protection in the key areas of the county that are most suited for industry. The companies that we recruit should blend with the various environments in Fairfield County.
  5. Fairfield County is stuck in park. In comparison to the surrounding counties, we are going nowhere. It is the responsibility to the County Council to consult with the citizens: to establish a vision. From the vision, the County Council would develop long range plans for the entire county. From the long range plans, detailed/specific plans would be developed for each geographical area that would support the needs of the citizens.
  6. Fairfield County does not have an effective system or procedure for the citizenry to provide timely input concerning county matters. There is no effective communication and dialogue between the County Leadership and the citizenry. The first step in improving communications and transparency is to change the County Council Meeting format to allow all the citizens to give immediate input when an item is presented during council meetings.

 

District 5

David Ferguson (incumbent)

  1. Graduated from Winnsboro High School. I completed courses at USC, Clemson, Winthrop, and College of Charleston. I taught welding and Machine Tool Technology 35 years at Fairfield County Career Center. I taught for Midland Technical College and the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education 26 years in the evenings and summers. Graduated Levels I and II of the Institute of Government for County Officials and the S.C. Economic Developers’ School.
  2. I have served 16 years on Council and 10 years as chairman. I worked with water providers to expand potable and fire water lines in parts of the county. Negotiated with Midland Technical College to establish a campus in the county. Worked with County Transportation Committee to pave dirt roads. Worked with numerous partners to secure jobs for the county and lowered unemployment from 14% to 7%. Worked for citizens to have services they need and deserve and keeping taxes low as possible.
  3. The most pressing need is the recruitment of even more jobs and Council and the Economic Development Department will continue working with appropriate agencies for this purpose. Everyone deserves to have water to their homes and $100,000 has been earmarked yearly to assist water providers with these projects.
  4. With experienced leadership the economic future will become even stronger. We secured 877 jobs in the last 16 months with the great possibility of more on the horizon. The economic future will prosper even more if the County delegation, Council, School Board, and municipalities pull together in unison for this purpose. I have faith this can happen – it must for the sake of the citizens.
  5. The county is positively moving in the right direction. Jobs are finally becoming available. We have Midland Technical College to train our citizens. More water lines and fire hydrants are being made available to outlying areas by our water providers. Dirt roads are being paved. Upgrades have been made to many of the services.
  6. Council has proven itself to be transparent in every way possible. Issues have been discussed and explained in open meetings and special meetings were held to discuss and explain items even further. Attendees at meetings were given time to ask questions and express concerns and encouraged to communicate with administrator or council member for any needed information. Items pertaining to contracts, personnel or legal issues must be discussed in closed session. County expenditures are available on county’s website.

Eugene Holmes

  1. Federal Government career started at the GS-4 level, and retired from the US Department of Labor at a GS-13, Program Analyst. Educational courses above high school were from Prince Georges Community College, Temple School of Business, US Departments of Labor, Agriculture and the Civil Service Commission. These courses were instrumental in developing skills in evaluating and negotiating with Federal Contractors. Post retirement: I’ve completed paraprofessional certification at Midland Tech; 21.0 Contact Hours at The Law School for Non-Lawyers, Orangeburg Calhoun Technical College; and Certified by the US Office of Personnel Management as a Security Background Investigator.
  2. Since moving to Fairfield County, I was appointed to serve on the County Planning Commission. While serving on this Board, I became Chairman . I’m currently a Notary Public for SC (pro bono). My appointment will expire, 12/10/2018. Currently, I’m a member of the Nominating Committee for the NAACP; a Committee member with the Red Cross; a member of the Lions Club; and a past County Substitute Teacher.
  3. The debt the County Council obligated the County for, the high tax rate and how the problem will be solved. My desire is to unite the 7 Districts to better serve the Citizens of Fairfield County as a whole. Focus on economic development, and reducing property taxes. When I am elected, I’ll make Citizens aware of county business, and respect their input regarding “ALL” financial matters prior to final decisions.
  4. I’m seeking District 5’s County Council position because of the many problems the citizens are experiencing with our present Council. In attending County Council meetings, all indications are that the current Council is being conducted as a dictatorship, without any chance of dialog from the Citizens. There’s no transparency with the present Council. This has to change.
  5. I’ll recommend implementing a Citizens Advisory Committee to assure all vacancies will be announced; applicants will be interviewed and evaluated by an impartial panel to assure the best candidate is being considered by qualifications, no nepotism or cronyism.

Marion Robinson

  1. I was educated in the Fairfield County Public Schools, University of South Carolina, and Richland Technical College. My working career has been in the Corporate Business Community in Computer Technology. For the past 20+ years I have traveled as a Consultant and retired in May of this year. Also, I was owner of North Congress Exxon, co-owner of Mister Hawg BBQ, and co-owner of RSVP Consulting.
  2. I am a member of First United Methodist Church in Winnsboro and served as a volunteer firefighter for Greenbrier-Bethel Fire Department for many years. The county needs a new direction and honest, common-sense government for all the citizens. My goal will be to help make that happen.
  3. The greatest challenge facing Fairfield County is high property taxes and the lack of accountability and transparency in our government. We need a government that will listen to the citizens and work to reduce costs and improve services. It is our government’s number one responsibility to bring economic growth, peace, and financial stability to our county. Without that, our quality of life will not improve. And this government has clearly not done that.
  4. Situated as we are on the I-77 corridor with much available land, our county is in a prime location for an economic explosion. But the manufacturing industry alone will not get us there. We need to diversify and explore what can be done with our two historic towns, our working Railroad Museum, and our historical society which brings people from all over the state for ancestral records, our lakes, Carolina Adventure World, and other tourism draws. We need to encourage retirement communities and outlet malls. We need to attract new business and industry as well as identify and address the needs of our current businesses.
  5. The county has not moved in the right direction for many years. The citizens are burdened with debt that could prove difficult to repay. I will work to assure that spending is reduced and justified. We need a plan in place, and this government has never provided that plan. We need a government that will.
  6. Money being spent by Council belongs to the citizens of Fairfield County. Large items such as risky Bonds secretly issued through a shell corporation, other Bonds to repay the first, a recreation Plan with only one solution brought forward, votes taken with no discussion, hiring without advertising jobs, part-time hiring that turns into full time jobs, keeping the citizens in the dark on important issues, etc. justify the criticism this county council receives. We need a government that is open, honest, and not self-interested.

District 7

David Brandenburg

  1. I attended USC for two years, have served in the National Guard, and completed multiple courses at both the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy and the South Carolina Fire Academy. I was employed at the Town of Winnsboro water plant prior to serving as a Public Safety Officer. I am currently retired.
  2. I worked my way up to Shift Sergeant at the Department of Public Safety and have first hand knowledge of the issues facing our community. I work well with others and have a talent for resolving issues in positive ways. I bring understanding of the water crisis facing our community and would like to work towards building the infrastructure required for job development and to secure brighter futures for our citizens. I was motivated to seek office due to the lack of transparency and wasteful spending of our tax dollars.
  3. The greatest challenge facing Fairfield County is the lack of economic growth. One of the greatest problems hindering economic development is the lack of water and sewer infrastructure in Fairfield County. The county leadership has not attracted enough new businesses. We need to develop a plan of action that can be successfully implemented and then evaluated, with individuals held accountable when goals have not been reached.
  4. I see our economic future as relatively stagnate. Without more companies moving in and creating more jobs, there is not much reasonable expectation that our local businesses or the economy will grow. Council must ensure that the infrastructure is put into place to attract and retain business and industry allowing our young people the opportunity to remain in Fairfield County and prosper. A prosperous community will bring in a host of entertainment venues for all citizens. This will retain our dollars in Fairfield allowing all businesses to grow and break the stagnation pattern we are currently experiencing. We have the resources to accomplish these great things, but we need change to make it happen.
  5. As we welcome Element and Enor we are taking a step in the right direction, but only a step. We need to continue on this path, bringing in more and more industries. See question three for the problems that will arise.
  6. If elected to represent District 7 I will not operate in secrecy. The public will be informed of all actions to the extent that is legal. I will continue to travel through District 7 listening to concerns and working to resolve these issues.

Clyde Sanders

  1. I grew up in Winnsboro and my parents were lifelong residents of Winnsboro. I graduated from Winnsboro High in 1967. I attended Midlands Technical College and took some courses at USC. I am retired from Chrysler Financial in Columbia. I held the position of Customer Service Supervisor, Credit Analyst, Credit Supervisor, Office Manager and Assistant Branch Manager. After retiring from Chrysler I worked for WFS Financial as Assistant Branch Manager and Credit Supervisor. I worked there until they closed their offices in S.C.
  2. I am currently a member of Winnsboro Town Council I feel that my life experiences, professionally and personally, and my time on Town Council help qualify me for this position. I, like most people, have had my ups and downs in life, both personally and financially. I have been on Town Council for almost 4 years. I have been instrumental on Town Council in getting ordinances passed that will benefit the town. I have yet to miss a meeting of any sort in my time on council and I have a good working relationship with other council members and our Mayor, as well as our county council and other municipalities within the county. I have attended and have been certified in all the classes that have been offered to council members through the MASC. I consider myself a public servant who is sworn to perform certain duties. I dearly love being on town council and doing what I can to improve our town. I see the things that the county is faced with and I would like to be a part of County Council so that I can help implement positive change and growth in our county.
  3. There are several challenges that our county is faced with. One is jobs. Not just jobs but good paying jobs in our county. We have to make sure that our workforce is educated and trained in order to attract businesses and skilled so that they can demand better paying jobs. Otis Rawl, President and CEO of the SC Chamber of Commerce said that in order to attract businesses to Fairfield, we needed an educated, skilled workforce and we also needed a sustainable water source that would attract and accommodate businesses. Those same points were reiterated by Mr. Bobby Hitt, a Fairfield resident and also Secretary of Commerce for the state of S.C.
  4. I feel that the future of Fairfield County is very bright. I know that with the money that will be coming in from the Nuclear plant, SCE&G, Fairfield will be what I consider a wealthy county. It is going to be up to the County Council to handle the monies responsibly. The council cannot be the voice of one member. They have to find common ground where they can work together and do so in the best interest of the county. Just because we have the money, doesn’t mean we have to spend it. Hopefully we will be able to reduce our property taxes substantially.
  5. I think that over the last year, contrary to belief of some others, that the county has been moving in the right direction. We have had over the last year several businesses choose to locate in Fairfield, and there are more on the horizon. That would not have happened without the efforts of County and Town councils as well as state agencies. There is still a lot of improvements to be made. Again, we have to find common ground to work together with the same goals in mind, “Improve Fairfield County”.
  6. I agree and I disagree concerning transparency. I have learned being on Town Council that I am privileged to certain information that citizens of the town are not privileged to. I am able to study these items and talk with other council members about these things and we do not make them public until we are ready to make a decision on them. I feel that we elect our council members for a period of 4 years to be our voice and we need to put our trust in them to be that voice. I realize that being a council member, I am not going to please everyone, because we all do not think alike. I do think that certain items such as the large bond should have been advertised differently concerning the public meeting.

Billy Smith

  1. I’m a graduate of the University of South Carolina. I worked my way through college and am currently a Project Coordinator for a software company, where I’ve held service, training, and managerial roles.
  2. My desire to help our County and its people led me to my decision to run for Council. We need a new type of voice and perspective on our County Council, and I want to provide that. I want to move our County forward, and I’m working to do it.
  3. Our greatest challenge is mismanagement and the continued reliance on the bad, self-serving ideas of our current Council. We will never catch up with the rest of our state and the 21st century doing things like issuing $24m secret bonds and deceiving the public at every turn. If I’m elected, I’ll help us meet this challenge by providing open, honest, competent and cooperative leadership.
  4. The economic future of Fairfield County lies within its people, and our business environment. If I’m elected, I’ll work to bring advance training, professional development and opportunities to our citizens to help them improve their marketability to employers. I’ll also work to reduce our property tax rate and assist businesses, both large and small, in setting up shop within our County. If our workforce and business environment are properly prepared, businesses will want to come to our County, and our citizens will reap the rewards.
  5. We’re not moving in any direction, and that’s a burden on our people. It’s true that we’ve enjoyed some economic development recently, brought to us by our State Commerce Department, but we haven’t done anything to greatly improve the quality of life for our citizens, which should be goal number one. We’ve got to do more than give a few industries the farm to get them here. To move our County forward, we must recruit more technology and manufacturing jobs, improve our services, lower our property tax rate, bring transparency and honesty to our Council, and plan for the coming nuclear revenues in a way that will benefit all citizens. To accomplish these things, we must bring a new dynamic and new ways of thinking to Council.
  6. Absolutely, I agree. If I’m elected, I’ll keep our citizens informed, I’ll always answer their questions, and I’ll do so honestly. We will not move forward if our Council continues to in the shadows. I will bring light to the actions of our County government if I’m elected.

For our candidates for the job of Sixth Circuit Solicitor we asked:

  1. Please provide a brief history of your education, training and employment.
  2. Briefly describe any leadership roles you have taken in the legal field, initiatives implemented, challenges faced, goals accomplished.
  3. How do you plan to address the backlog of cases in the Sixth Circuit?
  4. What is your opinion of the nationwide movement to decriminalize marijuana? Should S.C. consider a similar course of action?
  5. Should licensed gun owners be permitted to carry concealed weapons into an establishment that serves alcohol?

They said:

William Frick

  1. I graduated from the University of South Carolina (BA in International Relations), University of South Carolina School of Law, and an International MBA from the University of South Carolina Moore School of Business. I have practiced law for over 12 years serving as a prosecutor for the 4th Circuit, 6th Circuit and SC Attorney General, an attorney in general practice, and as a public defender in Aiken, Fairfield, and Lancaster Counties. I completed training for and am certified to handle death penalty cases.
  2. I was the Gun Crimes Prosecutor for Darlington and Dillon Counties, Chief Juvenile Prosecutor for Darlington County, Assistant Attorney General for South Carolina, Chief Prosecutor for Fairfield County and Violent Crime Prosecutor for the 6th Circuit. I have managed a law firm and served as Deputy Public Defender for the 6th Circuit.
  3. As Chief Prosecutor for Fairfield County, I reduced a backlog of some 600 cases to less than 400 within 12 months. It is simply a matter of evaluating cases, setting deadlines, enforcing deadlines, and getting those cases into to court. We must stop letting defendants decide when their case will come to court.
  4. It is the job of the Solicitor to fairly and equally enforce the laws of the State. The laws are determined by the people and the legislature makes the law based on the will of the people. If the people of South Carolina want these laws changed, they need to let their legislators know.
  5. Again, that is an issue that people need to address to their legislators who write the law. In my over a dozen years of experience with criminal law, alcohol and firearms do not mix well. However, the law only allows persons with Concealed Weapons Permits (CWP) to do so and people with CWP’s must be trained in firearms use and safety before they receive a permit. Hopefully that training combines with common sense and a sense of discretion.

Randy Newman

  1. I was born and raised in Lancaster, attended our Public Schools, and received my Associate’s Degree from USC-Lancaster where I met my wife. I next went to Columbia to pursue my Bachelor’s degree and commuted from Lancaster for two years while working full time. Then it was on to Florida Coastal School of Law where I received my Juris Doctor with Pro Bono Honors. During Law school I interned in Lancaster with the Solicitor’s Office. I then began my legal career as Law clerk to the Honorable Judge Brooks P. Goldsmith, also of the Sixth Judicial Circuit.
  2. Since joining the Solicitor’s Office, I have been lead prosecutor for the Lancaster Police Department. I have resolved hundreds of cases both violent and non-violent and have concurrently held the position of Juvenile Prosecutor for the Department of Juvenile Justice. For a short period of time I was DUI prosecutor for the South Carolina Highway Patrol.
  3. I have a four-point plan to reduce the backlog. First, we must improve the efficiency of the solicitor’s office and implement a time limit on plea offers. If the offer is not accepted we go to trial and ask for maximum sentencing. Second, we should strengthen our relationship with law enforcement in order to reduce the time from arrest to trial. Third, I will use our limited court time to focus on repeat offenders and violent criminals. Lastly, I will establish alternative courts such as an adult drug court and check court. If we do those four things the backlog goes down, local jails are no longer at capacity, repeat offenders are behind bars where they belong, we no longer have to wait years for justice, and all three counties are safer and saving money.
  4.  As Solicitor, I must prosecute those that break the law. Our state legislators make the laws and I must enforce them. I will enforce the law as written. Right now Marijuana is illegal, and I will continue to prosecute Marijuana cases until our state legislature or Supreme Court changes that law.
  5.  As Solicitor I will enforce the laws and prosecute those that break them. Our law makers have decided that it is legal for CWP holders to carry a concealed weapon into an establishment that serves alcohol so long as he/she does not consume any alcohol. That is the law, and that is what I have to go by. I will continue to protect the laws and the constitution of this state.

Speak Your Mind

*