Stavrinakis: Vote for Mayor is "a clear choice"

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - In four days those who live in the city of Charleston will head to the polls once again to vote for a new mayor.

It's come down to the wire between businessman John Tecklenburg and state representative Leon Stavrinakis.

"We need folks to go out and really look hard at this election," said Leon Stavrinakis Friday afternoon. "They have a clear choice to make."

That clear choice he believes is himself.

Stavrinakis has said multiple times he brings the experience needed to become Charleston's next mayor and will approach issues hands on.

"Right away upon being elected I want to get to work on dealing with the traffic and out-of-control growth that people are struggling with," he said.

He plans to do that by syncing up traffic lights to get people home faster and finishing I-526.

"[It can be done] by having someone with a proven record," Stavrinakis said. "Someone who has written a growth management plan, a smart growth plan for our County. I've done that, I want to do that for our city now and attack this problem from both points of view; the growth point of view and also dealing with the traffic."

Stavrinakis has been behind finishing I-526 for more than a decade now.

However, some islanders feel the completion of that project will compromise the environment. Stavrinakis said that's not the case.

"We're not going to hurt them. I've got a 95% pro conservation voting record, career," he added. "I'm going to make sure we preserve and protect green spaces and marsh lands. I'm going to make sure we have zoning in place to protect neighborhoods."

It's not just roads that need to be built though. Charleston is becoming more pedestrian and biker friendly.

He said there's a way to make sure both drivers and bikers stay safe.

"I'm totally committed to adding a dedicated bike lane across the Ashley River on the Ashley River bridge," he said. "Doing it without closing a lane of travel. I've been working with DOT for weeks on a plan to make that happen. I'm waiting to hear back from them."

Of course these projects require funding.

It's something Stavrinakis feels shouldn't be a major problem given his connections among the different levels of government.

"Having served in the legislature, having served on the Ways and Means Committee, I'll be uniquely positioned to go to Columbia and secure funds for Charleston's transportation, revitalization needs," he said.

While revitalization is already underway in downtown Charleston, Stavrinakis wants it to expand to other areas of the city, including James and Johns Islands and West Ashley.

"There are a lot of people around out city that want to see their neighborhoods get the same attention and quality of life enhancements that downtown and other areas have enjoyed for years," Stavrinakis said. "As a mayor from West Ashley, I will make that happen for neighborhoods all over Charleston."

As the runoff approaches Tuesday, Stavrinakis said he's excited and feels Charlestonians will make the right choice.

Earlier this week Stavrinakis' challenger John Tecklenburg discussed his plans for the city if elected Mayor. Click here to read.

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