Editor’s note: Mr. Dorn’s statement was published in the print edition of The Edgefield Advertiser on 2/29 and 3/5 of the digital edition. Below is Candidate William Smith’s response.
Officially today, Mr. Norman Dorn (D), incumbent to the County Council District 1 seat, announced his candidacy for reelection. I welcome Mr. Dorn officially to the 2012 Edgefield County Council election for District 1. I look forward to the dialogue over the next several months.
With Mr. Dorn’s announcement, I’m officially in full campaign mode. Even though there may be others to run in the Democrat or Republican primary, as of now, I am his only challenger.
On Wednesday, February 29th, Councilman Dorn placed his reelection announcement in The Edgefield Advertiser. In the article, Mr. Dorn declared the platform for his reelection bid. He stated that “County Council has turned a blind eye to the Northside’s great need for water”. Mr. Dorn wants council to “postpone the water and sewer development project in the North Augusta area”. It is important to remember that North Augusta is in Aiken County. The proposed trunk line for the sewer project is in Merriwether which is in Edgefield County. Mr. Dorn stated that “help is on the way” for District 1. He included in his announcement that the water and sewer for the Merriwether area will cost $500,000-$750,000 of “our tax monies.” His solution is to “…put this money in escrow for the Northside water development project.”
The Northside residents of Edgefield District 1 have a legitimate concern when it comes to water. There are residents that have contaminated water (DHEC has already investigated and found the contaminated source), low water pressure, or dried up wells (for various reasons including low water tables due to the drought).
But the problem is that this isn’t a NEW issue. Mr. Dorn has been on council for two decades. The water issue has been an issue for many years. It seems as though he now wants to tell his constituents “help is on the way” in hopes that this will provide him with two more additional years as councilman. His entire platform, according to his announcement, is providing water and being a “voice for the voiceless.” Is this the only issue facing District 1 or is this the only issue that Councilman Dorn is aware of?
A few weeks back, County Council voted to approve the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the next step in moving forward with the sewer project. It was approved 4-0, with Mr. Dorn abstaining. If he feels that the sewer project should be stopped, he should have voted no. District 1 had no say on the matter as Mr. Dorn did not give his constituents a voice because he did not vote. Councilman Dorn also stated, “My major concern is to be a voice for the voiceless in the county.” Abstaining from voting on something that you are apparently against is not giving a voice to the constituents. It is doing exactly what he stated the rest of the council was doing by turning a “blind eye.” I do not believe that the council is turning any eye, as it is obvious the lack of representation that is being provided for in District 1 by Mr. Dorn. When there is a lack of representation, then the council is simply not aware of the needs in District 1.
Whether the Northside needs water or not, Mr. Dorn has not represented District 1 as he should have. Why wait until other districts propose potential projects before stating a need that has been in District 1 for years? Mr. Dorn has to be aware of various grants and other financial ways to start the process of providing water for the Northside. If he had tackled this issue years ago, this need may have already been met.
There are many needs across Edgefield County. Some of those needs are in District 1. The question that has to be asked is this: Does Mr. Dorn have the council’s support enough to meet the needs of District 1?
It is past time for true representation. District 1 does need a voice and it needs a new representative that can provide that voice. There needs to be a representative that can bring confidence back to the seat of District 1 that the other members of County Council can work with and support.
I look forward to being that voice for District 1 and truly representing our area. We can promote growth in other areas of the county while taking care of the needs here in District 1.
William P. Smith (R)
Candidate for Council District 1