Toby Smith, first black woman in Charleston mayoral race, talks about tackling issues

VIDEO: Toby Smith, first black woman in Charleston mayoral race, talks about tackling issues

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Toby Smith wants to revitalize hidden communities and highlight Charleston's history. Charleston mayoral candidate, Smith, is the first black woman in Charleston to run for mayor.

She's proud to call this her home.

"...My grandfather would drive over the old bridge...," says Smith as she looks out over the Charleston Maritime Center, one of her favorite places.

She wants to continue to be a part of the changes the people of Charleston have seen.

"I remember when it was that sleepy little hamlet, where everything closed early on Wednesday and it was dark and now it's alive and thriving," says Smith.

Smith says not all places are thriving like they should and Smith wants to change that for what she calls "communities on the edge."

"Charleston is booming but they're not a part of that boom it's almost as though they're stuck in time and they're plagued with high unemployment, and lots of crime...," says Smith.

Smith began her professional career at the CIA.

Smith said she "had the opportunity to live overseas as long as I did in tough challenging situations."

She says that this has shaped her as a leader, and she wants to take that leadership in the community.

"It's an issue of strength and unity and we could go in there make some differences and if we can do it there, we can do it other places as well," says Smith.

Strength and unity are messages that Smith is carrying with her.

"On the tough issues, like race, I'm not afraid to have those conversations," says Smith "I think it's important for our community, I think we're there I think we're at a point where we want to sit down and talk about what does this mean."

Smith wants to see the International African American Museum break ground in Charleston. It's something she's been a part of with Mayor Joe Riley since the late 1990s.

"I think it's time we tell our story, it is a unique story and it is a shared story," says Smith.

Smith also has some new ideas for what she calls the WA or West Ashley. She wants to bring life to certain areas like Citadel Mall.

"I know we've got challenges with transportation, education, housing and a lot of those things directly relate to our disparities, so if we tackled that I think we can make some difference here," says Smith.

As a minister of nearly 10 years, Smith says her faith is central to who she is.

Smith is the executive director of Midland Parks Community Ministry also known as the Pantry That Could. 
She also headed Charleston County's School District's first bond campaign and became the first black director of the Public Affairs Group of the local Chamber of Commerce.

For more information on Toby Smith's campaign visit:

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