Meet the June 12 candidates for Colleton County Council

by | June 7, 2018 5:00 pm

Last Updated: June 6, 2018 at 11:01 am

Nate Bristow
Address: Quail Drive, Walterboro
Age: 44
Marital status: Married.
Education: Vocational Degree.
Past and Present Employment: Tommie’s Auto & Diesel.
Organizations: Towing & Recovery Association of South Carolina, Wreckmaster’s, Elk’s Lodge.
Previous public office or community Service: Twenty-five years as a volunteer firefighter with Colleton County Fire-Rescue, chairman of the Colleton Transportation Committee, served many years as a volunteer coach with the  Recreation Center, Colleton Prep Academy and Walterboro High School.


W.S. “Billie” Baldwin, my grandfather, served on Council in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. I decided to follow his blueprint and bring a fresh new voice to Colleton County Council because after attending the county council meetings for three years straight with no discussion or opposition, I felt like Colleton County deserved a fresh new voice on council.

What in your background or work experience do you believe would be beneficial as a council member?
After 20 years as a successful small business owner here in Colleton County, I understand the importance of creating jobs for our workforce and growing our economy. By serving as a volunteer firefighter here in Colleton County for 25 years, it has given me a chance to serve our community and to help many people during stressful times of their lives.

How do you rate the effectiveness of the current county council? Is there an issue that you believe the current county council has failed to adequately address and if so, what do you believe council needs to do to address it?
The current men that serve on County Council have done a great job in the past. The current council is not following up with some of the citizens’ concerns and has failed to address the issues of infrastructure, litter, public pools, and transparency.

How do you assess the county council’s efforts in attracting new employers to Colleton County? What would you do to attract new business?
I feel like we have room to improve our efforts in attracting new employers to Colleton County and it all starts with improving our infrastructure and airport. Once these items have been addressed, we will be able to build projects that will prosper for generations to come. Creating sustainable, inclusive, community-involved developments which will make Colleton County a better place to live, work, play and visit.

 

David Gar Linder 
Address: Gar Road, Smoaks
Age: 62
Marital status: Separated
Education: Graduated high school
Past and Present Employment: Currently in towing and recycling. Former salesman at Walterboro Ford and assembly line worker at Dayco.
Organizations: None
Previous public office or community service: None

Questions
What made you decide to run for county council?
The at-large seat was open and it is a chance to serve the citizens of this county.

What in your background or work experience do you believe would be beneficial as a council member?
Working with other council members and elected officials throughout the county for many years in the past and a positive relationship with citizens.

How do you rate the effectiveness of the current county council? Is there an issue that you believe the current county council has failed to adequately address and if so, what do you believe council needs to do to address it?
On a scale 1 to 10, the effectiveness of the current Council is approximately a seven.
I think current council could do better by keeping in contact with rural areas. We still have roads with no dividing lines, no summer jobs for high school students and no adequate rehabilitation for felons that have been released from incarceration.

How do you assess the county council’s efforts in attracting new employers to Colleton County? What would you do to attract new business?
I think that they have been pretty good due to the present conditions. I’ll be counting. I’d like to change the level of violence, the senseless killings of young people, the quality of education and the road conditions. There’s nothing more comfortable than a smooth ride.

 

Evon Robinson Sr.
Address: Bodison Memorial Drive, Round O
Age: 75
Marital Status: Married
Education: Attended South Carolina Area Trade School in Denmark, South Carolina State University in Orangeburg and Nichols Theological Seminary in Charleston.
Past and Present Employment: Currently Pastor of St. Stephen A.M.E. Church in Hardeeville.
Formerly employed at the Charleston Naval Weapon Station and Robinson’s Barbershop in Walterboro.
Organizations: Chaplain and member of Tuskegee Airmen-Hiram Mann Chapter, member of NAACP, Jasper County Ministerial Alliance, treasurer of Black Elected Official Coalition of South Carolina, coordinator of Sons of Allen Men’s Ministry-S.C. Annual Conference A.M.E. Church, county representative to Lowcountry Council of Government, consultant to Colleton County Ministerial Alliance
Previous Public Office or Community Service: Served four years on Colleton County Board of Education, three of those years as chairman.

Questions
What made you decide to run for county council?
I am the incumbent, having served the people of Colleton County, District 23, for almost 16 years. I am very proud of my accomplishments during this time and I am not finished yet.

What in your background or work experience do you believe would be beneficial as a council member?
For 47 years, I’ve served communities as an ordained minister in the A.M.E. Church in areas of pastoral counseling, police and community partnership, outreach ministry to the poor, schools and Community Partnership, building better relationships with other groups, building churches and various community programs.
I work with the Equal Opportunity Program at the Department of Navy in carrying out Navy policies and procedures relating to Equal Opportunity employment of all people. Chaired the Equal Opportunity Commission for 12 years.

How do you rate the effectiveness of the current county council? Is there an issue that you believe the current county council has failed to adequately address and if so, what do you believe council needs to do to address it?
I would rate the effectiveness of Colleton County Councils an 8 or 9. We are a group of men who work cooperatively together, Democrats and Republicans, in trying to accomplish our goals for the betterment of all the people of Colleton County. Of course, we disagree, but at the end of the day, we come together in making decisions that are best for our people.

How do you assess the county council’s efforts in attracting new employers to Colleton County? What would you do to attract new business?
County council is always working to provide the tools needed when the county is out to solicit companies to come here, tools that can be work force questions or quality of life issues.
We have a technical center that is doing a splendid job of providing training for new employers. We need to widen our scope of training as part of making the environment conducive to bringing these new employers in, it is going to help us.
We have good recreational facilities, but we have to go beyond what we are doing.
Council needs to continue to work with the school district to improve education.
You never know what an employer is looking for, but we do know from past experience that some of the things I just named are relevant to them.

 

John Edward Washington
Address: Hendersonville Hwy., Yemassee
Age: 70
Marital status: Married.
Education: Bachelor of Arts with All The (Humanities), 1999 Allen University in Columbia; Bachelor of Science, 1999, Southern Christian University (now Amridge University), Montgomery. Ala.; master of science in Marriage and Family Therapy, 2001, Southern Christian University; master of divinity in marriage and family therapy 2002, Southern Christian University; and doctor of ministry, 2005, Southern Christian University.
Past and Present Employment: 1972 to present — pastor of African Methodist Episcopal Church in Ravenel and adjunct professor at Southern Wesleyan University.
Previously served as adjunct professor at Limestone College; a correctional officer with South Carolina Department of Corrections; chaplain at United Hospice in Beaufort and Hospice Care of Tri-County in Orangeburg; mental health employment counselor with Berkeley Community Mental Health Center; coalition member of Edisto Health Coalition in Orangeburg; chaplain for Santee Police Department; substitute teacher Ruffin High School; law enforcement officer with Charleston County Police Department (now Charleston County Sheriff’s Office); North Charleston Police Department and Walterboro Police Department.
Previous public office or community service: I was blessed and privileged to become one of Charleston County Police Department’s (now sheriff’s office) first community service officers. I also served as a pre-trial counselor for Santee Police Department youth offenders.

Questions
What made you decide to run for county council?
My life has been a life of service to others. Therefore, I decided to run for county council because I would like to give back to the community that has given me so much and to be a servant of the voters and an echo of their voices.

What in your background or work experience do you believe would be beneficial as a council member?
My 46 years as a pastor with the ability to work through difficult situations, with the training and ears of a therapist who will actively listen to all persons and always try to solve or resolve a situation before it turns into a problem.

How do you rate the effectiveness of the current county council? Is there an issue that you believe the current county council has failed to adequately address and if so, what do you believe council needs to do to address it?
Not knowing the scale in your mind, I will have to rate the overall council as efficient.
The issue of effective communication with their respective districts needs addressing. When elected, I will communicate with the voters of the district by regular newsletters, email blasts, websites, social media, etc.

How do you assess the county council’s efforts in attracting new employers to Colleton County? What would you do to attract new business?
In addition to participating in local job fairs, I will research and discover those counties that are growing healthily. I will not re-create the wheel, but I will simulate the best I can find and adjust it to our geographic location.
Expand the vocational school in the industrial area to include courses and training that our citizens are going out of the county to get, such as truck drivers training etc.

 

Art Williams
Address: Chandelier Dr., Walterboro
Age: 61
Marital status: Married
Past and Present employment: Currently retired. Held a variety of public sector posts that are outlined in the second question.
Previous work experience: franchise owner, Meineke Care, Inc.; construction fabricator; high school educator/administrator; drill instructor, United States Marine Corps (USMC); and Division I College Football official – MEAC, CUSA.

Questions
What made you decide to run for county council?
My decision to run for County Council is based on the experience I have had in working with government in various capacities and of the lack of growth observed in the county over the past two decades. There are many available resources that we need to capitalize on, such as the county’s geographical size. The county’s location is a major factor that can stimulate growth: proximity to two major interstate highways (I-95 and I–26), proximity to the Charleston Port, proximity to major economy stimulators (Boeing, Volvo, Mercedes), proximity to institutions of higher learning (technical colleges and four-year colleges and universities), Charleston International Airport, the county’s regional airport, a career and technical center, a New Tech public high school, a private school and a county beach – Edisto.

What in your background or work experience do you believe would be beneficial as a council member?
The following are some of my work experiences and background that will be beneficial to me as a council member:
County Administrator – Allendale and Colleton Counties
Public Affairs Specialist – USDA Rural Development
Director of Public Works/County Engineer – Colleton County
Capital Projects Coordinator – Colleton County

How do you rate the effectiveness of the current county council? Is there an issue that you believe the current county council has failed to adequately address and if so, what do you believe council needs to do to address it?
Under the current council, minimal strides have been made leaving many more areas to be addressed. I would like to see council reach out to all communities in the county for the completion of a needs assessment, instead of the needs being determined by a select few that are not representative of the county’s population. Obvious needs that must be addressed include housing, enhancing programs to support the disadvantaged (homeless, mentally challenged, drug dependent, disabled) populations, therefore reforming and leaving no persons behind. Inadequate roads and infrastructure must also be immediately addressed.

How do you assess the county council’s efforts in attracting new employers to Colleton County? What would you do to attract new business?
The county has lost employees as evident by the decrease in population. More and more citizens are traveling to neighboring counties to seek employment resulting in a change in their residency.
The primary focus needs to be on retaining current businesses and industries by offering them some of the same incentives that are made available to potentially new businesses. I would like to see more research and communicate with other counties that are demonstrating growth.

 

Gene Whetsell
Incumbent Republican Gene Whetsell is unopposed in the June 12 primary.
He will face the winner for the at-large seat — either Nate Bristow or Gar Linder ­— in the November election.

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