Charleston mayoral candidates sound off in first public forum

Charleston mayoral candidates sound off in first public forum

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Sunday, the candidates for Charleston's next mayor took part in their first public forum.

"The most important election possibly in the city's history but certainly in a long, long time," candidate and State Representative Leon Stavrinakis said.

The forum at the West Ashley Jewish Community Center was open to anyone but questions and answers focused on seniors and west Ashley

"We'll create and adjust neighborhoods so residents don't have to get in a car to do everything," candidate and non-profit founder Ginny Deerin said. "That means sidewalks, safe paths and bike routes."

Some questions touched on other areas from tourism to the debated Sgt. Jasper redevelopment.

"It needs to be scaled back," former City Councilman Paul Tinkler said of the development. "There needs to be a preservation of green space. That's too many units. That'll create too much traffic."

The candidates didn't disagree for almost the entire hour and a half forum, but did provide different reason on why each should be elected.

"We need a mayor who has relationships with other governments, proven relationships. Relationships based on trust," Stavrinakis said.

"We all can make promises," candidate and City Councilman Dudley Gregorie said. "But you have to make sure that you elect a mayor that has made a difference."

"I feel I have this unique experience of work and experience in city government and in civic affairs," candidate and local realtor John Tecklenburg said.

"It's nice to hear priorities and different opinions," Kelsey Rix an undecided voter said. "I think it's really important and I'm really thankful that they all participated in this kind of thing and the more public people that are interested in it, the better."

Rix said she's still making up her mind but feels much more informed.

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