As many would agree, the petition process that some candidates across the state had to take part in was unnecessary. However, this process did allow my campaign members to meet many residents across the district. I had constituents throughout the county who wanted to sign my petition, but had to be turned away for not living in District 1. The eagerness for change is evident.
Whether in District 1 or other parts of the county, there is a clear message: Norman Dorn is no longer capable of representing our district or county.
Now that we are past the distraction of the petition process, our team is moving forward the last few months to take back our district. We have some major hurdles ahead. We are in dire need of change in leadership. Something that cannot be ignored is we are dealing with generational issues. The madness and total embarrassment in the lack of representation for our district can no longer be allowed. The time for change is now. During the past two election cycles, we have had individuals, both Democrat and Republican, who have run against Mr. Dorn who should have been elected. These individuals, in my opinion, were not elected because those in my district have been stuck in routine of electing party before person or what’s “comfortable”. This is a dangerous and destructive mindset. Both Mr. Albert Talbert (D) and Mr. Trace Faust (R) would have been better representatives than Mr. Dorn. No one can argue against that point successfully. We have to get past party affiliation, as well as our comfort zone and vote for individuals who will get the job done. On a local level, party affiliation has nothing to do with what is presented to County Council. We deal with issues that are local and have a direct impact on where we live. There is simply no room for party politics when decisions affect our families, neighbors, friends, and children of our county. This is not Washington, DC. This is Edgefield, SC where local elected officials are vitally important. The great thing now about my candidacy is that I am affiliated with no party.
My great-grandfather, who represented Edgefield County Council District 5 (District 5 then, is now the northside part of District 1) in the late 1970s, W.T. (Bill) Timmerman said this when he was running for re-election: “I will represent the entire county and all of the people wherever you are. I pledge honest, straightforward administration with partiality to none. Call on me, and I will cooperate in any effort pertaining to the county. I am at your service.”
I never knew my great-grandfather, but his values are what our district needs. Our county thirsts for change, and we can be the change makers.
District 1 voters need to break this generational cycle by unseating our representative. There is no doubt that Mr. Dorn only represents a few and does not even seek out to represent the whole district. Everyone is important and Mr. Dorn has forgotten that. I have said this many times, and I truly mean it. District 1 has something that should be celebrated: Diversity. The redistricting has created our district into one of the most diverse and largest districts in the county.
In my career of education, it is essential to celebrate different ideas and different views to push forward and to grow productively as a community. In a school, you have children and staff members from all different backgrounds working together for one purpose. These children represent families, a set of ideals, and a variety of upbringings. If anyone thinks it’s easy to bring different people together and that it isn’t without its struggles, he or she would be mistaken. These children are an investment in our county and state. They are our future. What effectively creates an environment that brings children and staff together? An effective leader does.
An effective leader is one who seeks out ways to serve those he leads or represents. Leaders bring different ideas to the table that represent all people. They have an eternal fire that motivates them and others to work for a common goal or vision. They simply build off of others strengths and celebrate differences. They take others weaknesses and help mold them in a respectful way that builds character and confidence.
This is not what we have representing our district. Any individual who lacks that eternal fire of self-motivation in serving others has no business leading any group of people.
Stephen Covey once said, “I am personally convinced that one person can be a change catalyst, a transformer in any situation, any organization. Such an individual is yeast that can leaven an entire loaf. It requires vision, initiative, patience, respect, persistence, courage, and faith to be a transforming leader.”
District 1 lacks this.
Over the next few weeks, my team will be planning four more town hall meetings during the months of September and October throughout District 1. We will also be working house to house, as well as make hundreds of calls. We are excited about the days ahead! We are getting to where we were a few months back in our grassroots effort and pushing forward.
I invite you to be the change agents for our area. The time for change has never been greater than now. For 22 years, Edgefield has been through many changes, sometimes difficult, to push our county forward and creating a homeland that our children can be brought up in and we all can be proud of. One thing that hasn’t changed is District 1.
Aren’t you tired of the norm?
I invite you to join our team and vote for me on November 6th.
We will be the change makers together.
William P. Smith
Candidate for County Council, District 1