Orangeburg County Councilman Harry Wimberly is being challenged in the upcoming Democratic primary by Kenneth McCaster.
Both candidates are seeking the Orangeburg County Council District 3 seat. No Republican has filed for the seat.
South Carolina’s party primaries will be held June 9.
Wimberly is a graduate of Bowman High School. He served in the South Carolina National Guard and owns his own trucking company.
Wimberly stated that he is running for re-election because, “I want to continue the success that we’ve had in District 3.
“There are some water projects to finish up, a lot of community projects to finish up, recreation projects at Carver-Edisto Middle School with the Edisto Sports. We’re doing the fields, that’s on the agenda for the coming year. We’ve got much economic development to work on, and it’s very important that we manage those projects.”
While Orangeburg County Council has district members, and each member is responsible for their district, “overall county council works as a team for all of Orangeburg County,” Wimberly said.
Wimberly detailed his experience relevant to the position, and also stated why he believes he is the best candidate.
“My experience with dealing with people is far beyond what any competition that might come my way can bring,” Wimberly said.
“My experience with dealing with people goes far beyond council.”
Wimberly noted that he serves as a deacon in his church, that he is a former school teacher and that he is chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Cattle Creek Campground.
He has several goals he would like to accomplish, if re-elected.
“I think the first and foremost project is one we started in getting the recreational park at Carver-Edisto Middle School for Edisto Sports completed. There’s a couple of water projects that DPU is working on as we speak,” Wimberly said. “We’ve got the grant for sewer going to Edisto High School, which is in my district, and then we’ve got expansion of broadband in this district as well as in other districts.”
He said the continuation of economic development is also one of his goals.
Wimberly assessed the work of the current council.
“It’s a team that has been working together, and it has made so many improvements in the county in the last couple of years, it’s really unprecedented,” he stated.
“Now that we’ve made the relationship with citizens all over this county, we’ve got a pool of people that work together, regardless of whatever the situation is, for the community. We band together and we work together,” Wimberly said. “I’ve seen it in ice storms, I’ve seen it in snowstorms, I’ve seen it in hurricanes and all of that is because of working together and being a responsible citizen.”
He said his biggest accomplishment, which affected the whole county, was the expansion of broadband.
Also, “Working hard to get industry in the district and the county to provide jobs and a better quality of life, and a lot of water projects. Providing good, clean, healthy water to the citizens of the county is very important,” Wimberly said.
He noted that he is involved in many community groups and activities, including volunteering with the Cattle Creek Fire Department and being an active Mason.
Wimberly also noted that he is a member of the Farm Bureau board and that he is active in agriculture, which is the largest industry in the county, to ensure that agriculture has a voice in county government.
McCaster is currently employed at South Carolina State University as a criminal justice instructor.
He is a graduate of A.C. Flora High School. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in history from Limestone College, a master’s degree from Troy University in criminal justice and a master’s degree from South Carolina State University in rehabilitation counseling.
McCaster said he is seeking office to meet the needs of District 3.
“I am seeking this position because the needs of District 3 are not being met. We need a grocery store so citizens don’t have to travel 20 miles to neighboring counties to shop. We need better roads and road maintenance that does not have to be requested but is routine. We need more public spaces like recreation facilities, like spray parks, swimming pools and scenic trails for our kids and seniors,” McCaster said.
“We need business development that creates local job opportunities. We need well-thought-out planning for the district that takes into consideration its citizens’ quality of life and the future of their children.”
McCaster also said there is a need for a bi-monthly districtwide meeting of all town councils, community organizations and citizens to increase interaction and allow a faster sharing of information and concerns.
He said there is also a need for the creation of an email address and website where district members can share information and thoughts concerning their areas instantly, and a need to create personal partnerships with every mayor and town council member in District 3 to create a network of cooperation and centralize efforts.
“Also, it is essential that we create a periodic review with the economic development board and assign a liaison to focus on creating and supporting small businesses in this district,” McCaster said.
He said his experience includes 34 years of public service.
“I am a five-time chief of police, police training instructor, hostage negotiator and a recipient of the medal of valor, which I received after being shot in the line of duty while working at the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Department. I am well educated in the area of administration and budgetary matters. I am a citizen of this district and I have seen no improvements in the last 15 years that enriches my area of the district,” McCaster said.
McCaster said residents, “deserve an accessible, well-trained, community-centered representative who pledges to proactively protect the entire district community, that readily engages the people and welcomes citizen input. This is the type of councilman I will be. I want to be the councilman for the entire district, not just my community.”
He said he will be transparent and accountable.
“My goal is also to make District 3 relevant and improve the quality of life of our citizens,” McCaster said.
McCaster said the current council has good intentions, “but if this county is to move forward, it needs younger and more innovative and proactive thinking minds. It needs a council that has a track record of creating local job opportunities. Citizens deserve an accessible, well-trained, community-centered council, who pledges to proactively protect the community, readily engages the people and welcomes citizen input.”
McCaster noted that he is involved in several community groups.
“I am the adviser for the South Carolina State University Criminal Justice Club, and I am also a masonic member of Eutawville Lodge 402,” he said.
Contact the writer: email@example.com or 803-596-6530.
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