Six candidates vying for the West Ashley District 7 Charleston County Council Seat

VIDEO: Six candidates vying for the West Ashley District 7 Charleston County Council Seat

WEST ASHLEY, SC (WCSC) - On Tuesday voters will head out to the polls for our state's primary.  There are several local races including one that will mean a change in leadership for parts of West Ashley.

Colleen Condon who holds the Charleston County Council District 7 seat is not running again. She's had the position since 2005.

Two Democrats and four Republicans are vying for the seat.

Traffic, revitalization, road quality and public transportation are just some of the big topics that matter the most to residents in the growing West Ashley.

Patrick Bell (D)

Democrat Patrick Bell is currently on the Charleston County Planning Commission and attends council meetings on a regular basis. He believes collaboration with civic entities is key.

"I intend to work as closely with the city as possible... just work to revitalize West Ashley and of course do everything possible to fix our transit issues including mass transit," Bell said.

Bell is also the Vice Chair of the Legislative Committee for Realtors. He says he's already "involved with the people who are going to be redeveloping West Ashley."

"We've got a lot of new opportunities in West Ashley not for new development, but redevelopment," Bell said.

Ruth Jordan (D)

Democrat Ruth Jordan is a business owner who previously served as the Chair of the Charleston County School Board. She says smart growth for the county is important.

"We have to come up with a plan whether it's mass transportation, we have to come up with a plan to deal with the growth," Jordan said. "I welcome the growth, but we've got to do it surgically and smartly."

She says serving on the School Board has given her the experience to make tough decisions.

"I like to think of myself as a consensus builder," Jordan said. "We have to engage our community."

Chris Cannon (R)

Republican Chris Cannon has run for office several times for positions including City Council and the State House of Representatives.  He says he's the ultimate fiscal conservative looking to maximize taxpayer money.

"I feel like there's got be plenty of ways to save money, I've seen different places where I know we can save money," Cannon said. "I just think that's the biggest problem we have today, from federal government to local government."

He's also been the Chairman of the John's Island Council. Cannons said it's important to look at things from a county wide perspective and not just a localized perspective. He supports building a flyover at the intersection of Main Road and Savannah Highway.

Paul Gangarosa (R)

Republican Paul Gangarosa has a background in public heath, criminal justice and computers.  He's currently an adjunct professor at the College of Charleston.

"I'm trained to access the health of a community and how to remedy problems so I thought that would be a good match," Gangarosa said.

Gangarosa would also like to see more jobs created. He is also for improved connectivity of CARTA Buses and a modernized fleet of buses.

"We have too much congestion on the road, too much traffic and our road quality leads a lot to be desired," Gangarosa said.  "We have a lot of pot holes and I would like to see more affordable housing. You really can't touch an apartment for less than about $900 a month."

Brantley Moody (R)

Republican Brantley Moody is a commercial banker with a business background and he says West Ashley is in need of a collaborator and he says he can bridge that gap.

"If you ride up and down Sam Rittenberg Boulevard, Highway 7, the storefronts are tired, the Citadel Mall needs to be redeveloped and frankly the partnership with the city has been very lacking over the years," Moody said.

He says he will work to find ways to manage the growth in West Ashley. His vision is to improve drainage and develop and maintain roads that meet community needs.

"There's a net 48 people coming to Charleston everyday," Moody said. "We can say keep West Ashley rural and stick our head in the sand or we can work to figure out ways to manage that growth."

John Steinberger (R)

Republican John Steinberger is the former Chairman for the Charleston County Republican Party. He wants to maintain West Ashley's suburban character.

"We're building large apartment complexes on already congested roads that's got to stop, and already behind us we've got wetlands and there's people that want to build hundreds of apartments and retail stores in these beautiful wetlands," Steinberger said

He's also for road improvements and better maintenance.

"We also need to widen our roads where ever possible and come up with ways to have left turn lanes and things that will expedite our traffic," he said.

After the primaries, one candidate from each party will move forward to the general election in November.

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