CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Voters in Berkeley and Charleston Counties will head to the polls Tuesday.
District 99 is having a special election between Democrat Cindy Boatwright and Republican Nancy Mace to fill the open seat left by Rep. Jim Merrill after he submitted his resignation one day before his court appearance on ethics violations. The district includes areas of Mount Pleasant, Daniel Island, Hanahan, Wando and Goose Creek.
This is Mace's second run for a political office and Boatwright's first. Both candidates said they have their own reasons for wanting to run for office.
"I just got fed up with our state government, the corruption and cronyism, I figured it was costing me taxpayer dollars," Boatwright said. "Our lawmakers are able to go to the statehouse and be consultants for a utility. So that's why we don't' have very good rates and that's why we have the nuclear debacle, so I got really fed up with that."
Mace said her reasoning for running stems from knowledge of the area.
"The district includes part of Goose Creek, Hanahan, Daniel Island, and north Mt. Pleasant. I grew up in the town of Goose Creek," she said. "The mayor Hanahan endorsed me for this race early on, I'm raising my family on Daniel Island and my office is in North Mt. Pleasant. So, I feel like regardless of where people live in the district I can represent everyone equally."
Both candidates said the key issues they're focusing on are roads, education, and a failed nuclear plant.
"The thing I head from folks the most is infrastructure and roads," Mace said. "People don't like sitting in traffic, whether they're trying to get to work or d rop off the kids or run an errand," said Mace. "We have a real crisis with infrastructure right now because we've developed so much but the infrastructure is so far behind."
Mace added the second thing she hears from voters is about the nuclear plant.
"The nine-billion-dollar boondoggle that we're in right now and there's no good ending for folks who are customers of SCE&G now, which is pretty much everyone in the district," she said. "That's important to folks and education is another issue folks are concerned with. I spent my time not telling people what they want to hear but listening to the people in the district. I want to know from them what is important to their family and their district."
Boatwright added the nuclear plant is a key issue for her as well, in addition to the money allocated to Lowcountry roads.
"Lawmakers right now who have power in Columbia can go and fix their roads in their neighborhood and that isn't right so more money and more attention needs to be given to the Lowcountry," Boatwright said. "We're one of the fastest growing areas, I think the fastest growing, so we really deserve more attention, more dollars," said Boatwright. "You know, we have traffic problems, road problems, and we are the taxpayers that are paying for the nuclear power plant deal. I want my two billion dollars back."
Boatwright also said the environmental issues such as drilling is something she would stand up for.
"I really am an environmentalist," she said. "I've cared very much about our beautiful home. I would absolutely do everything in my power to prevent any kind of seismic testing in our oceans, that really disturbs our sea animals. Absolutely no drilling."