Mount Pleasant mayoral candidates weigh in ahead of Tuesday’s election

Published: Nov. 2, 2021 at 5:56 AM EDT|Updated: Nov. 2, 2021 at 7:20 AM EDT
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MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - Election day polls open at 7 a.m. on Tuesday and the town of Mount Pleasant has three mayoral candidates on the ballot.

Incumbent mayor Will Haynie is running for a second term and he’s challenged by Councilwomen Kathy Landing and Brandon Armstrong, a female who has never held political office.

We reached out to Brandon Armstrong for an interview, but she did not return our calls on Monday. According to her website, she owns a paint and restoration business in town and has a legal secretary degree.

Will Haynie and Kathy Landing were asked four main questions yesterday about their campaign.

Mayoral candidates stance on residential growth in Mount Pleasant

Haynie and Landing both said they believe in slowing the residential growth in Mount Pleasant, and it’s something they both think they’ve done well managing while mayor and on the council for the last four years.

Will Haynie response:

“We’re going to keep an eye on affordable housing in the appropriate way. We’re going to keep the apartment moratorium which was just passed this spring. And when I was elected mayor in 17, I said we would impose the building permit allocation and slow growth to 2%. And we’ve done that.”

Kathy Landing response:

“We really needed to preserve not only our green spaces but also the places that were supposed to be commercial so we can bring businesses in that will provide high paying jobs and the services people need. I also believe strongly in protecting our parks and other areas, we need to move forward with the rifle range Park. So there are things we need to focus on now to make sure that we have the things we need without overgrowth.”

Two Mount Pleasant mayoral candidates talk business development

Landing is currently the economic development chair for the town of Mount Pleasant and says she has served on a total of eight committees for the town. She says she’s in favor of having more job opportunities here in town, so people don’t have to leave Mount Pleasant for work, or live somewhere else because they can’t afford to live in town.

She says she’s in favor of planned development and being transparent with those plans.

Kathy Landing:

“What I do is I share what’s going on so people can have their input, I believe strongly as mayor, I will be able to help all of our council do this kind of proactive communication and even bring in an expert to train us. So we make sure it’s not contentious. We don’t want to go back and forth with any kind of what can sometimes happen on social media, we want to make sure we’re informing the public as early as possible. So they know what’s going on. And they can have their input ahead of time.”

Haynie is seeking his second term as mayor, after winning the 2017 election in a 2-1 margin.

Will Haynie:

“We’re opening businesses at a record pace and Mount Pleasant is much in demand. As you can see, by all the new businesses, our business license, revenue is up, if I was anti-business, or if I didn’t have a vision for that I would not have been endorsed by the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce. So we’re going to keep growing, we’re a desirable place, we have low crime, we have the lowest taxes around and we have a great business environment.

Mount Pleasant mayoral candidates biggest priority

Through rapid growth in Mount Pleasant over the last few years, it’s quickly become what is now the 4th largest municipality in South Carolina.

Landing said she thinks the biggest problem in town is traffic congestion and she explained why she thinks so many people are not able to live, work, and play in Mount Pleasant.

Kathy Landing:

“So I think the focus has to be on actually solving those details. And this is something I know how to do. I’ve already been working hard with the different groups that are appropriate for this. I am not about overdevelopment. I’m absolutely about having the things we need so that our services and jobs fit what the people in Mount Pleasant want and so everybody doesn’t have to live. Travel across the bridge every day.”

Haynie was asked the same question and he reiterated his priorities for this next term as well.

Will Haynie:

“The biggest priority this time is what it has been since I ran for council six years ago, it’s to stop the overdevelopment and overcrowding of the special charming town we love, Mount Pleasant. And that needs to continue. And I’ve been a leader in that since I was on council. I was overwhelmingly elected mayor four years ago, we’re on the right path, we need to stick to that path and stick with the leader who has led that effort as a way to do that.”

Mayoral candidates on their campaign

Both candidates were asked what is one thing they wished people knew about your campaign.

Will Haynie:

“What I wish they knew is that I have led through a pandemic and made hard decisions and there’s false information out there about what I do or don’t support. What I do is I listened to our local business leaders, listened to our local health care leaders. And I work well with the Regional Development Alliance, which is economic development, not real estate development, economic development. And I have widespread support. And I want people to realize, look at the endorsements I’ve received. Look at the people who are Republicans, Independents and Democrats who are supporting me and I have very widespread support. Mine is not at all partisan.”

Kathy Landing:

“The number one thing about my platform is that I am truly for all of Mount Pleasant. I work, go to church, and have my pharmacy on this side of town. Our home is in Dunes West. So I love all of Mount Pleasant, and I want to make sure that we are actually meeting the needs of all of Mount Pleasant. I’ve been doing that for the last four years on the north end of town. I don’t think of North and South, but it is geographically that end. And they really have a lot of shortage of services. So we need someone as mayor who says, hey, everything is important. We don’t want to be beholden to certain interest groups. I am not I have no personal agenda. I’m not beholden to any group. And I look forward to being able to serve all our folks. I also believe strongly that people that moved here in the last few years, they think of this as their hometown too and we need to make sure that we work hard so that everyone, people that are natives, people that just moved here and everyone in between truly feels that Mount Pleasant is the hometown and has the quality of life that they would love to have.”

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