From staff reports
Dataw Island’s Marilyn Harris, a Democrat, announced her candidacy for Beaufort County Council’s District 2 seat on Thursday, Jan. 6 at the Coosaw River Club.
District 2 is currently represented by Paul Sommerville. Sommerville, in his fourth term, has served since 2007. His current term ends in December.
“Beaufort County has changed, significantly in the past 15 years. And it continues to change,” Harris said. “And grow. In spite of the recent census report, growth has been phenomenal.
“Change brings opportunities as well as challenges. I’m going to welcome both by recognizing that rules, regulations and covenants may need a fresh perspective and a new approach. That approach needs to consider that new residents and new demographics bring new potential, fresh new ideas, new dreams, and yes, new challenges. Where am I going? That’s not really the question. The question is ‘where are we going?’”
Harris came to Beaufort in 2015 and has spent much of her time since working in the community. She has served on the Boards of Directors of several local non-profits including the United Way of the Lowcountry, Second Helpings, SCORE and the Boys and Girls Club.
In 2019, she was elected to a three-year term on the Board of the Directors of the Dataw Island Club. She has been adjunct faculty at The Technical College of the Lowcountry as well as a substitute teacher in Beaufort County Schools. She has served as the facilitator for the Lowcountry Affordable Housing Coalition and as Beaufort County’s Program Coordinator for the COSY and COSA Programs.
Before coming to Beaufort, Harris retired after more than 35 years in Federal Public Service, including includes senior leadership positions with the Department of the Army, the White House, the United States House of Representatives, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
She has earned three graduate degrees. Her first master’s degree is from the University of Oklahoma in Human Relations. Her Master of Strategic Studies was earned at the Army’s prestigious Senior Leadership School at the Army War College, rare for a civilian. That same year, she studied at night at nearby Shippensburg State University to earn master’s degree in Public Administration.
Harris became the Senior Procurement Executive for the Army Intelligence Command shortly after 9/11. At the Pentagon on that dreadful day, she fully understood and grasped the gravity of the challenges. She served with distinction and earned the Civilian Meritorious Service award. She then served in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Congressional investigator for the powerful House Appropriations Committee.
She earned commendations and honors including the Meritorious Leadership Award for Excellence from the Department of the Army and the Bronze Medal for Commendable Service from the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as a personal note of appreciation from the Vice President of the United States for her work at the White House.