County Council: A quiet race winds down
by The Press and Standard | November 1, 2018 5:03 am
Last Updated: October 31, 2018 at 10:28 am
It has been quiet on the campaign trail for Colleton County Councilman Gene Whetsell and his opponent David Gar Linder.
Whetsell, a Republican, is seeking another four-year term on county council. In 2014, Whetsell made a successful bid for re-election against Democrat Joe Hamilton, a race he had called “exceptionally quiet.”
This year, he said, it has been even quieter.
With no issue to drive the campaign, Whetsell said, the election will be determined by “who the people think can do a better job representing the county.”
Linder said the race will be won by “whoever gets the most people out to vote.”
Whetsell has been on county council for 16 years; before that he spent 20 years as the county’s assessor. Linder is making his first bid for public office.
One concern that Linder voiced is his belief that the rural areas of the county aren’t getting much attention from county government. Residents living in some parts of the county, Linder said, “have no stores, no gas, no water.”
Council, he said, should make sure that the rural “mom and pop” stores stay in business, “make sure the citizens have something like they use to have,” instead of facing a 20-mile drive to make a purchase. “Bring them up to date,” Linder said.
Whetsell says when council is addressing a need or concern, council’s goal is to find a county-wide solution.
He points out that when council worked on the Capital Project Sales Tax ballot issue, the goal was to have the sales tax money used for infrastructure projects throughout the county, in both rural and urban areas.
Linder said his goal is to put Colleton County on the map as being the number one county in the state. He would do that, he said, by “associating with other counties and patterning some of the things they do, working with law enforcement, city council, churches and other organizations.”
Whetsell says that council initiatives like the Colleton Museum, commercial kitchen, courthouse renovation and the ACE Basin complex at the county’s Recreation Center have brought statewide attention to Colleton County.
Sometimes Whetsell said he hears a complaint that council spends too much time on economic development projects. He disagrees, suggesting that because of council’s continuing effort, “there’s big stuff on the horizon.”
When he talks to people, Linder said, the conversation seems to gravitate towards what is going on in Washington, D.C. This election, “should be based on what we have in Colleton County. I’m only concerned about Colleton County, about working together.”
When it comes to making a decision on council, Whetsell said, “I am going to try and be fair, to make a decision that is based on facts, not on who is involved.”