Guest Editorial: New Chair Calls for Regional Cooperation

I’m often asked why I continue to serve after having spent 28 years as a member of Richland County Council.


The answer is simple: This is home. I enjoy public service and giving back by helping my community become a place where those who grow up here want to stay and raise their children, new people want to come and start families, and businesses want to relocate and expand.

I believe in Richland County and the great promise it holds.

That’s what drove my recent effort to become chair of County Council, a position I’ve held several times. I’m grateful that last week my council colleagues selected me to lead the council once again.

I assume this role with a sense of urgency and purpose. Richland County is at a crossroad. While we have experienced tremendous growth and development, in recent years we have drifted away from some of the guiding principles that led to that progress.

But we can recapture the momentum by being dutiful, thoughtful and intentional about steering the county in a prosperous direction.

I will encourage the council to focus on regional cooperation, economic development, public involvement and rural development.

It is critical that we engage in regional cooperation. Regional cooperation has not been a priority in recent years. We can’t live in a vacuum or allow imaginary borders separate us. We are at our best when we are talking and working with elected officials in the city of Columbia, Lexington County, Kershaw County, Fairfield County, Newberry County and others throughout the region.

Regional cooperation works. I was among those who pushed for the type of collaboration that helped lead to successful efforts such as Riverbanks Zoo, The River Alliance, the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center and development in downtown and the Vista.

When we all pull in the same direction, we all win.

In truth, we are one economic region. Successful regional cooperation can propel economic development.

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