Over the last ten months, my campaign team and I have been spreading the message throughout District 1 that the voices of so many go unheard. Our main mission in seeking office is to restore the voice of ALL people throughout the district. We are gaining ground every day to take back our district.
As many of you know, I am an educator and love my profession. Kids are an amazing gift and I love serving them and my staff on a daily basis. Serving is extremely important to me and the main reason I am running for County Council. Holding an elected office is a service to the people that not only elected you, but also representing those that may not have. I feel this is a calling and I am eager to begin.
Over the last decade, Edgefield County has seen a lot of change from development and infrastructure, an increase in population, a new age of technology, and a strengthened public school system. The prosperity of any community is the community itself. As many of you know, areas in Edgefield County have grown tremendously by population as well as needs that must be met. Whether we look into the Johnston area, the northside, Merriwether, or Trenton, our county is seeing phenomenal growth. I often use the word “diversity” when talking about District 1.
As an educator, I believe that diversity is something that can be celebrated in a classroom. Bringing different backgrounds of thought and culture together is something that we can all learn from. District 1 is no different but yet it lags far behind other areas in the county in regards to representation and getting the work of the people accomplished.
The potential voting population of District 1 is roughly 5,000 residents. As many of you know, the district lines changed for this election cycle. Our district is smaller but it is still the biggest and most diverse. I point this out because our district, more so than others, needs an individual who can embrace diversity and represent all needs. I have worked in Newberry, Aiken, and Edgefield Counties in my career. These areas are rich in history and extremely diverse.
People sometimes forget that embracing diversity is for the betterment of everyone involved. Political parties from time to time become so wrapped up in their philosophy that they become so exclusive. Only certain people and thoughts are accepted. As a community, we need a leader that is inclusive. I remind children all the time that God made us in his image and as adults, we are no different. We are going to look different, think different, and sometimes act different. But with so many differences, there is so much that we agree on and so much we need as a community together.
For 20 years now, we have an incumbent that doesn’t represent the people. His track record over the past several years has been more about being the issue than working with others to solve the issues. Often times on many votes, the council votes 4-1 (Dorn voting no) or if Mr. Dorn abstains, 4-0. Mr. Dorn continues to be the lone man on the island. If he was standing on principles, values, and was doing what his district wanted, I could understand. But this is not the case.
Council meetings often turn in to circus shows. I know many residents throughout the district from many different backgrounds, who would be embarrassed at how they are represented. Mr. Ashcroft all the way down to Mr. Bright have a difficult time understanding his rants which usually are completely off topic and disrupt every council meeting. During executive sessions over the past several months, Mr. Dorn doesn’t even participate.
If you aren’t familiar, executive session is where County Council goes in to private talks, out of the public eye, to discuss a variety of issues including personnel, which they can’t legally discuss in an open session, as well as taking legal advice from the county attorney. Sometimes, items that would hurt the community’s interests are also discussed. Out of the last three times council has entered executive session, Mr. Dorn has not participated and completely left before the meeting was adjourned.
I have pointed out many times where Mr. Dorn doesn’t vote on issues or lacks representation in many areas, but executive session is the area that is the most serious of talks. District 1 didn’t participate in these talks because Mr. Dorn walked out on his constituents.
Ask yourself the following questions:
· Has Mr. Dorn truly represented you and your neighbors?
· Has he worked with all of council and the county administrator in a civil way?
· Does he have the capacity to bridge differences?
· Has he been transparent and communicated needs to council as well as District 1?
· Does his approach to local government represent your values?
· If Mr. Dorn disagrees with you or others, does he still treat you with respect and try to work to seek common ground?
Mr. Dorn has been in office for two decades. On November 6th, we have the opportunity to change that. It is important to restore the voices that go unheard. If we do not make a change on November 6th, we will have two more years of this nonsense, two more years of nothing getting done, and we will still be sinking in the same boat. It is important to tell your neighbors, family and friends to go vote and restore our voice. County Council needs someone new in the District 1 seat and it’s going to take everyone to go out and vote. There are many needs across Edgefield County. Many of those needs are in 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.
A few Saturday’s ago, I was invited to attend the Masonic Banquet sponsored by the Truth Seekers Lodge #391. The theme was “Brothers Walking in Unity”. The message was brought by Rev. Edward Lloyd, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church. He stated, “When everyone comes together, it makes unity.” He is 110% correct. It takes everyone working for a cause, a vision, and a goal. On the county level, District 1 must have someone who will unite everyone. I look forward to being that voice to unite District 1 and truly representing our area.
This has been a lengthy 10 months. I have said from the beginning we were going to push ahead in a respectful way and do this the “right” way. We have done just that and I am proud of my team. I charge all constituents with this: Go and tell everyone you can to vote for true representation and someone who is going to represent and restore the voice of District 1.
Vote William Smith as your next District 1, County Councilman.
William P. Smith
County Council Candidate, District 1