Michael Butler says when he was elected Orangeburg’s mayor in 2013, “I was just in a state of shock.” The founder of Victory Tabernacle Church of Deliverance long had been a strong presence in the Orangeburg community, but he had no experience in politics and government. Butler said he didn’t know what he had gotten himself into.
Four years later, he has experience and confidence. And as of Tuesday, he was an endorsement from the voters for four more years of his leadership for the city.
Orangeburg’s first African-American mayor says he won’t let the people down – the nearly two-thirds of voters supporting him, the third not voting for him and those opting not to vote.
“I am so ecstatic and thankful to God for affording me this opportunity to serve the citizens of Orangeburg,” Butler said after the election, which also saw incumbent Richard Stroman returned to City Council and Jerry Hannah defeat council incumbent Buddy Barnwell.
Butler said he begins a second term more confident in his abilities to lead the city and ready to take on unfinished business.
During the campaign, he cited attracting economic development as a top priority.
“The greatest need for Orangeburg at this time is building an infrastructure that will create more jobs and opportunities to enhance the quality of life for our citizens,” Butler said. “I will continue to lead the effort to address challenges to healthy lifestyles, reduce crimes, eradicate poverty and strengthen and support our educational institutions.”
He also said enhancing recreational facilities and improving the social life of Orangeburg’s citizens are important, along with annexation.
“The bottom line is that I will do everything within reason to ensure Orangeburg becomes a better place for all her citizens.”
In the process of doing so, Butler indicated after his re-election was confirmed that some changes may be coming.
“We have some changes that need to take place in city hall,” Butler said without elaborating.
“In my first term, I assessed the whole entire situation,” Butler said. “Some of the people that work there have not been as loyal and diligent in this administration as they could have been.” He said he now knows “who is who.”
As to what that means for the future, time will tell. But the mayor has every reason to see Tuesday’s election results as a mandate to carry the city forward under his leadership.