CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A Charleston businessman and community leader announced his candidacy for mayor of Charleston on Tuesday.
Richard "Dick" Elliott says he will run for current Mayor Joe Riley's seat in 2015.
"During the 40-year tenure of Mayor Joe Riley, Charleston has transformed from a city struggling to enter the 20th century into a thriving economy and quality of life that has captured the attention of the world," Elliot said in a statement. "I believe I have the insight, judgment and experience to manage that success to ensure that every neighborhood enjoys the benefits that come from being part of a great city.
Elliott, a Charleston native and USC graduate, earned a law degree from the University of Michigan. His professional career includes work as a newspaper editor, courtroom attorney and business executive, leading a $200 million manufacturing company.
Since 1989, Dick and his wife, Dayna, have been involved in the hospitality industry, including nationally-known Slightly North of Broad and High Cotton. The Elliotts also operate the Old Village Post House in Mount Pleasant, High Cotton in Greenville and Charleston Cooks!, a kitchen retail shop with locations in Charleston, Columbia and Greenville, Elliot's biography states.
Elliott says the city needs new strategies to upgrade deteriorating and congested streets, bridges and port facilities. He says it also needs strategies ensure a favorable climate for business that will generate good-paying jobs for everyone, to provide the best classrooms and teachers and to manage growth while maintaining the history and livability that make Charleston a great place to live and call home.
"These strategic decisions demand real community input and a consensus builder who truly values the ideas and opinions of Charleston's residents," Elliott said.
Elliott currently serves as a member of the board of directors of Trident Technical College Foundation and teh governing board of the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities. He is also on the advisory board for the USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications.
He has previously served on the boards of the MUSC Heart and Vascular Institute, the MUSC Foundation and the College of Charleston Foundation. He has also served in boards with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and the Charleston Area Arts Council, where he also served as chairman.
"I know politics but I am not a politician," Elliot said. "I am a successful businessman and community volunteer who has been active in every aspect of our city's life. I don't want to simply 'be' mayor for the title or to make the office the next step in a political career. I want to be your mayor to wake up every morning ready to give every citizen and every neighborhood my best efforts to make their lives better and to make the city we love even better."
The Elliotts were married in 1978 and have five children and 12 grandchildren.