By George H. O’Kelley, Jr., City Council member
Having been elected three times to Beaufort City Council, two full terms and to complete the late Gary Fordham’s last term, I feel I am qualified to continue serving and representing the good folks of Beaufort. It has been a privilege to represent you. I don’t view my constituency as stopping at the city limits. If you live on Lady’s Island or Burton, you have a stake in what the city is doing.
After completing a tour of duty in Vietnam, my wife and I moved to Beaufort in 1970. We knew early on that we wanted to make Beaufort our home when I finished my active duty at MCRD Parris island. Our three sons were reared here. We are fortunate to have three wonderful daughters-in-law and six granddaughters.
I am originally from Bishopville, S.C., and was graduated from The Citadel in 1965 and The University of South Carolina School of Law in 1968. During my 42 years as a Beaufortonian, I have served in many and varied capacities. Included are: Trustee of Historic Beaufort Foundation; Sertoma Club; Beaufort Citadel Club; organizer and chairman of the Viet Nam Veteran’s Memorial; Judicial Screening Committee; district chairman of the Boy Scouts; Cub Scout leader; Beaufort Academy Board of Directors; environmental chairman of the Task Force 2010; Beaufort Bar Association; church offices; and instructor at USCB. I served for 20 years as a Marine, active and reserves, and retired as a lieutenant colonel.
Public service is important to me. My emphasis has, and always will be, the best for the people of Beaufort. This means being a good steward of our resources and finances. Our natural resources help to define what makes Beaufort such a special place and my record shows I have always voted and acted to preserve these.
Some of the projects and ordinances I have initiated include: the smoking ban in restaurants; the anti-revving ordinance; the ban on the use of hand-held texting devices; curb side garbage pick-up; and, the new City Hall and Police buildings. (Badly needed as the city was renting offices and departments were fragmented all over town.) I have been lucky to work on, with others, the matters that will shape our community for many years to come. But I always go back to the main theme and that is service and doing what is best for our area and our people.
Challenges will face us in the next four years. Things such as security for Bay Street and downtown. The master plan and redevelopment matters. The form-based code (which is starting to be reviewed by a diverse and well-qualified citizen’s committee. The mayor was kind enough to include me in that group.) Other matter include: Boundary Street development; the Commerce Park; keeping downtown vibrant; parking.
I am not afraid of hard work. I welcome the opportunity to serve you. I intend to strive to keep us moving in the right direction forward, while preserving our historic treasurers. I hope you will allow me to continue serving and give me your vote on election day. Thank you.