DENMARK — Four candidates are vying for three open seats in Tuesday’s Denmark City Council election.
Incumbents seeking re-election are Bervay Carter, Hope Long-Weldon and Calvin Odom.
Mallory Hoffman, the Keep Bamberg County Beautiful coordinator, is also vying for a seat.
The terms are for four years.
Carter, who is finishing up her 10th year on council, said she would like to get more people involved in volunteering with what’s happening in the city. She provided the Dogwood Festival and the fire department as examples.
“The main thing I would like to try to work on is a plan to get these abandoned buildings and houses cleaned up and to get our city to look cleaner,” said Carter, a retired business teacher at Denmark-Olar High School. “I would also like (council) to work with the Denmark Police Department ... on the crime — not that it’s bad, but we do need to help the police department with that.”
Carter, who has lived in Denmark for about 57 years, noted the city’s satisfactory water rating and the completion of the new library and fire station as accomplishments of the city council.
Long-Weldon, who once taught in Orangeburg Consolidated School District Four and now works as a travel education consultant, cited similar achievements.
“Our water (system) was very, very aging, as with any water system that is over 30 years old,” she said. “We’ve been able to work with the South Carolina Department of (Health and Environmental Control) to see what things we could do to improve the quality of water.”
Long-Weldon, who serves on the city’s law enforcement committee, said she’s also proud of the city’s new gun ordinance. Going forward, she said she would like to see the Dane Theater become a cultural center.
“I would also like to see a collaboration between the city and the colleges to make sure plays are designed and evenings of getting together can be looked at as a sign of success,” she said.
Furthermore, she said she would like to see better security from Amtrak at the Denmark Depot. Long-Weldon, who has been on the council since 2009, has lived in Denmark since 2006.
“Anytime citizens have concerns, they can come to city council, especially (to) Hope Long-Weldon,” she said. “I just feel that there is so much more that could go on in Denmark. With citizens working with public officials, I feel that Denmark could be a jewel.”
Calvin Odom, who has served on council since 2012, said when he was initially elected, he wanted to improve the plight of young people by providing them with more instructional activities and training.
“I ran as a candidate that wanted to get in touch with the local community,” said Odom, a former Denmark Technical College adjunct English instructor. “I always pledged to bring transparency and openness to the city of Denmark and to the citizens of the community.”
Odom, who plans to become a youth counselor at a community center in Bamberg County, would like the city to focus on making its streets safer and to offer more training for constituents so they can get jobs.
“I also feel that since our national and state economies are improving, our council needs to devote more attention to our needs of bringing more jobs to the Denmark community,” he said.
He has been a lifelong resident of Denmark, with the exception of when he left to attend college.
Mallory Hoffman said she’s running for Denmark City Council “because I feel like it is an opportunity for me to share ideas to help better Denmark. We have opportunities available to us, but we have to go after them and we have to go after them together.”
She added, “Sure we have problems here, but maybe if we stop thinking about those problems with an inside-the-box attitude, well, maybe then we can change Denmark. If we stop limiting ourselves and realize that we deserve what everyone else has, then we will see doors that have been open for us and we just need to walk through.”
Hoffman said she believes in Denmark, “and I want to be a part of her future. I hope that citizens will give me the opportunity to help clean up Denmark, help grow Denmark, but, most importantly, help Denmark rise above the rest.”
Denmark’s two precincts — East Denmark (Brooker Center at 19 Maple Ave.) and West Dennmark (Denmark Depot) — will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday for voters to cast their ballots. A voter registration card and a valid ID are needed to vote.
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