Candidates for County Council map out plans

WINNSBORO – Winding down to Nov. 6, six Fairfield County candidates aren’t worried about the outcome of their races. Norma Branham (County Treasurer), Judge Pam Renwick (County Probate), Peggy Hensley (County Auditor), Henry Miller (School Board Dist. 3), Carl E. Jackson, Jr. (School Board Dist. 5) and Eric F. Cathcart (Soil & Water Conservation Dist. Commission) are running unopposed.

But 15 other candidates are in the hunt, and their campaign signs are popping up in yards and along roadways.

Here are the seats that are up for grabs.


District 1

Dan Ruff

Incumbent Dan Ruff, 61, is running for his second term representing District 1.

I came in to office in 2014 with the stated goal of helping to bring honesty, openness and accountability to the county government.

I think this council has done that and more. We transitioned the county’s struggling health care system to a state of the art emergency room facility that will open the end of this year while maintaining the county’s rehab service; completed critical water and sewer infrastructure for economic development and job creation and created a joint water authority between the county and the Town of Winnsboro.

Representing Ridgeway, I have worked to help council accomplish the following:

Constructed and opened a new Ridgeway Fire Station

Partnered with Ridgeway Town Council to obtain state grant money to improve the sidewalks

Provide road and site work for Ridgeway’s new water tank project

Saved Town of Ridgeway money by providing site work and equipment for installation of new town park playground equipment

Renovated a building in Ridgeway for a temporary library as a permanent library is being planned for the town

Approved a new recreation center for Ridgeway that will be constructed in 2019

Good things are coming to Fairfield County. One of our greatest accomplishments was to put in place a county administrator, Jason Taylor, who has the vision, I believe, to bring the county to its full potential.

Mr. Taylor has focused on reorganizing a number of the county’s departments to make them more efficient and provide better services to our citizens. We are focusing heavily on jobs and economic development.

We have improved the working relationship between the county and the towns, and we are reaching out to assist our towns with grants and projects that will benefit us all.

I am a lifelong resident of Ridgeway and have served 40 years as a deacon and Sunday school teacher at Aimwell Presbyterian Church. I have served on the Ridgeway Town Council, the economic development board and other town and county committees. I have served as a volunteer firefighter and have always stood ready to serve and support Ridgeway in any way that I can.

I am married to Brenda, and I have a son, Daniel. I own and operate the Ruff & Company.

Moses Bell

Moses Bell, 64, is challenging Councilman Dan Ruff for the District 1 seat. 

I have lived in District 1 of Fairfield County all my life.  I am married to Ruby Bracey Bell of Camden SC for over 43 years.  I am active in the community, chairman of the Deacon’s Ministry at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Ridgeway, adult Sunday school teacher, volunteer firefighter and over 30 years of management experience that includes certification as a Six Sigma Black and Lean Manufacturing Project Leader.

I have served on many Fairfield County Boards and Commissions to include chairman of the Fairfield County Rural Fire Board, the Planning & Zoning Commission, the Strategic Planning Commission for the County and many advisory positions.  I served as chairman of the Sheriff Success Academy under Sheriff Herman Young who worked with under privileged youth and volunteered at Manning Correctional Institution teaching religious manhood classes and expectations.

I want to seek opportunities for our citizens, who deserve a better Fairfield.  If elected, my focus will be on the following:  Infrastructure improvements of water, sewage and high-speed internet; Industry recruitment…jobs; resources and facilities for senior and youth recreation; resources for paid firefighters and incentives that enable growth of volunteerism; Improve efficiency of county government resources; fully transparent county government and I will work with the communities to seek input into building a better Fairfield County. I also hope to work with others to bring to Fairfield County free technical education as in 34 other counties/school districts in SC.

Mikel Trapp, Sr.

District 3

Incumbent Mikel Trapp, Sr. is seeking a full term after winning his current seat two years ago when the District 3 Councilman Colonel Walter Stewart resigned for health reasons. Trapp also served two terms prior to being defeated by Stewart in 2014. Trapp did not submit information about his candidacy.

Peggy Swearingen, 64, is challenging Councilman Mikel Trapp for the District 3 seat for the second time in two years.

Peggy Swearingen

I am running for this seat because I feel that Fairfield County needs someone from District 3 who will speak up and help the other district representatives on our current council in the progress they have made to reign in some of this excessive spending that my opponent helped incur under the previous administration.  He voted for and supported the previous county council’s $24 million bond (that we are paying $43 million for). Because of that bond, our county is now so in debt that we can no longer borrow money. Six of our seven current council members (Bertha Goins, Dan Ruff, Jimmy Ray Douglas, Neil Robinson, Douglas Pauley and Billy Smith) are a team whose votes and support have made drastic changes, giving our taxpayers hope that they will be able to survive and thrive. But my opponent for the District 3 seat, voted for that bond.

We need a full team on council who will continue to work for fiscal responsibility and attract jobs for our citizens. We need better fire protection, better police protection and better EMS coverage for our residents.

Douglas Pauley

District 5

Incumbent Douglas Pauley is seeking re-election after being elected to a partial term when Councilman Marion Robinson resigned due to health reasons. Councilman Pauley did not did not submit information about his candidacy.

Matthew Seibles is a newcomer to the political arena.

I have two main concerns that influenced me to run for council – jobs and recreation. I am concerned about why, when we bring in jobs, we can’t keep them.  I also think it would benefit the county to have a recreation complex for tournaments and regional and district games. I played ball here in this county when I was young and on up till adulthood. My kids played ball here and now my grandkids are playing ball here. I’ve coached football, baseball and basketball. Sports are good for kids and I think the County would benefit from having a really nice sports complex.

Matthew Seibles

I have served on the county’s recreation board, and I am a member and head Deacon at Faith Christian Church. I was employed by the school district for 30 years.

District 7

With Council Chairman Billy Smith stepping down from the District 7 seat on Dec. 31 as he prepares to move to Baton Rouge, LA, three candidates are hoping to take his place.

Lisa Brandenburg

Lisa Brandenburg, 55, ran unsuccessfully last winter for a seat on the Fairfield County School Board. She has now set her sights on County Council. 

After much prayerful consideration and reflection, I have announced my candidacy for Fairfield County Council, District 7. I am a native resident of Fairfield County and have dedicated the past 30+ years to serving this community. I am a graduate of Winnsboro High School and Winthrop College, where I earned both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education and administration/supervision. I am married to David Brandenburg, Sr. We have two grown children, David and Dori, who each have shown their own dedication to making our county a better place.

For the past five years I have been an active participant at County Council meetings and also attended all Strategic Planning Sessions. I understand the unique needs and challenges facing Fairfield County. I am dedicated to supporting economic development, protecting the environment, producing fair and focused plans, protecting tax dollars and strengthening Fairfield County rather than further dividing it.

Jana Childers

Jana Childers, 48, is a first time candidate for public office.

I don’t have a college degree or any background in politics. I am a concerned mom with a passion to make this county a better place for all our citizens.

I am a Navy Veteran and have lived in Winnsboro for over 20 years. I am married to Chris Childers, mom of 6, stepmom to 1, and Memaw to 4. I work in the S.C. Highway Patrol state headquarters and am a member of the First Baptist Church in Winnsboro.

I look forward to meeting the residents in District 7 and I vow to work diligently to make Fairfield County a place we are proud to call home.

Clarence Gilbert

Clarence Gilbert, 58, a lifelong resident of Fairfield County, says he has never run for political office, but has always been active in the community.

I have served on several boards including the Behavioral Health Substance Abuse Board. I am a former corporate regional sales director, serve as a Deacon at St. Mark Baptist Church in Simpson where I also serve as chairman of the stewardship ministry and I am a founding father of the Brotherhood Ministry. I also sing in the Brotherhood Choir.

It’s time for the citizens of this county to put aside our differences and come together to find ways to make our county better for everyone. I don’t have all the answers, but those who know me know that I am honest, will speak up for the betterment of this county and will use a common-sense approach to getting things done. I will not make promises I can’t keep and I will not jump on board because everyone else is going along with it. I will get the facts and make sound decisions. I am particularly concerned about economic development for this county, jobs, recreation, improvements in the county’s water and sewer infrastructure and beneficial relationships between our towns and our county government.

I have owned my own landscaping and lawn service for 18 years. I am married to Deloris and we have two adult sons and four grandchildren.


Contact us: (803) 767-5711 | P.O. Box 675, Blythewood, SC 29016 | [email protected]