A look at Beaufort City Council Candidates

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The three candidates are running to fill the seat left open by Beaufort City Council member Gary Fordham, who passed away in April. The term ends in 2012. The special election will be held Tuesday, July 19.

 

Larry Holman

Age: 64

Education: Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Financial Management from North Carolina Central University located in Durham, N.C.; Housing Counseling Certification.

Work experience: 27-year retired executive of the JC Penney Company. The JC Penney Company honored me with its Chairman’s Award for Managerial Excellence in 1997; Vietnam-era veteran.

Family: wife of 40 years, Wilma; three adult children and five grandchildren.

Public service: Former leadership roles include being a member of the Audit and Academic Review committee of the Beaufort County School District; Board member and Treasurer of Access Network; Vice President and Treasurer of the Waddell Family YMCA; Board member and Treasurer of Penn Center; Currently am Ex-officio Board Member of the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce; Life member of both NAACP and the North Carolina University Alumni Association; President of the Real Deal Investment Club; and Board member of Lowcountry Workforce.

Local issues you feel passionate about: As President/CEO of the Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce, the officials of Beaufort County’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Steering Committee presented me with the 2006 combined Distinguished Achievement in Business/Humanitarian Award for leadership in organizing residents of Beaufort’s Northwest Quadrant to lobby for neighborhood improvements and for pushing Beaufort County Council to add accountability to its Small and Minority Business Vendors and Contractors ordinance.

Qualifications: I’m running because I see this as an opportunity to serve the entire community of Beaufort. I support increasing home property values through planned/sensible growth; supports creating jobs through microenterprise; jobs for our young people to include other youth activities.  Keeping our communities safe; and supports finding creative ways to rehabilitate houses rather than demolish them.

 

GEORGE H. O’KELLEY, JR.

Age: 69

Education: B.A., The Citadel, 1965. JD, USC Law School, 1968, The Basic School, USMC Officer’s basic course, 1969, Naval Justice School, 1969

Work Experience: USMC, Active Duty 1968-1971 (Including tours at MCAS Cherry Point, Vietnam and Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island); Marine Reserve, Retired, Lieutenant Colonel; Levin & Sams, Attorneys at Law 1971-1975; O’Kelley, Fordham & Reid 1975-1980; Sole Practitioner, 1980 to present.

Family: Married, Yancey Heins, 1970; Three sons: Hamlin, Arthur and Wade; Six granddaughters

Public service: Beaufort City Council, 1979-1982 and 2004-2008; Beaufort Municipal Judge 1982-1986 and 1994-1999; Historic Beaufort Foundation, trustee; SC Bar Grievance Committee; President, Beaufort Bar Association.

Hobbies: Golf, hunting, woodworking and artwork.

Local issues you feel passionate about: The downtown parking plans advanced by the City were a mess.  I think we should look at free parking with two-hour limits being strictly enforced.  I also am not a fan of farming out the City’s leadership and business to committees.  Certainly holding the line on taxes and expense is important.  We also need to effectively market  and sell the old City Hall and Carnagie Library.

Qualifications: Having served two terms, I am very familiar with the process.  I have the experience and ability to “hit the ground running.”  My record shows I never voted for a tax increase.  I, along with Gary Fordham, voted against the Clarendon Plantation annexation.  I still feel this was the right vote and was what the overwhelming majority of the citizens wanted.  I will also work with our close friends and Beaufort allies, The Marines.

 

RON PETIT

Age: 70

Family: Married to Annette-Rentz Petit, a Beaufort native; with four grown children.

Work experience: Retired Air Force Lt. Col. having served 29 years in the reserves and on active duty.  I worked Federal Civil Service after retiring from the Air Force and since have taught as an Adjunct Faculty member at James Madison University and the University of South Carolina.

Public service: Currently I serve on the Beaufort County Planning Commission and have for the past three years; worked for one year as a member of the Beaufort County Metro Steering Committee in helping  to develop the Beaufort County Comprehensive Plan; active member of the Rotary Club of the Lowcountry, the Lady’s Island Professional Business Association (LIBPA) , the Baptist Church of Beaufort, and the Kiwanis Club of Beaufort.

Local issues you feel passionate about: I see the challenge for the person filling this vacant City Council position to be that of growing the city in a positive way. This can be accomplished by working with the University of South Carolina to grow the university in Beaufort. Upgrades need to be made to the park in the Northwest Quadrant and improve facilities including the rest rooms. In order to complete the development of the new park and recreation area in Mossy Oaks, I would work with residents in the Mossy Oaks area. I can continue to improve communication and cooperation with the county, the Town of Port Royal, and work with business owners to bring new and expanded services to the city while reducing the red tape when doing business with the city.   Also, I know that improving communication by listening to those who live in the city is of major importance.

Qualifications: I am confident I can bring new thoughts and ideas to the city and I ask for the support of those who can make that happen.