N. Charleston mayor won’t seek reelection; Police chief issues statement

For the first time in nearly 30 years, Keith Summey won’t be on the ballot for mayor of North Charleston in the next election.
Published: Mar. 10, 2023 at 12:04 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 10, 2023 at 9:15 PM EST
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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - For the first time in nearly 30 years, Keith Summey won’t be on the ballot for mayor of North Charleston in the next election.

Summey announced Friday he will not seek what would be his eighth term.

“Serving as the mayor of North Charleston has been the privilege of a lifetime, and I am proud of what we have accomplished together,” he said in a statement. “I look forward to serving this great city as a community member, as we all work together to continue to make North Charleston a great place to live, work, and play.”

Police Chief Reggie Burgess released a statement Friday afternoon in reaction to Summey’s announcement:

As a lifelong resident of the City of North Charleston, I want to thank Mayor Summey for taking the city to unimaginable heights. As the Chief of Police, I want to thank him for his mentorship and guidance over the years. Mayor Summey provided me the opportunity to serve as the first African American Chief of Police, for which I am deeply grateful. I consider Mayor Summey a dear friend and I wish him well in his much-deserved and well-earned retirement from a life of public service.

Summey became mayor in 1994 when he filled an unexpired term of office from former Mayor Bobby Kinard. Summey has since been reelected seven times since then.

Summey’s announcement has sparked reactions from community leaders.

“He took this city from nowhere to somewhere you know we’re thriving, we’re number one in retail sales in the entire state, and so my hat goes off to him and his family,” Charleston County Councilmember Teddie Pryor Sr. said.

Pryor believes Summey has accomplished many things for North Charleston and will leave big shoes to fill.

“You know the city is going to have to make a wise choice on who will be the next mayor because the mayor has taken us to a level that is going to take somebody to come in and strive right along,” Pryor said.

Community advocate and North Charleston resident Pastor Thomas Dixon says overall, Summey has built a great city, but there are things he could have focused more on.

“When you look toward the south end, the southern end of North Charleston, those communities have overall been neglected during the 29 years of his term in office,” Dixon said. “There’s been very little investment in those communities, and we do understand that communities that are not invested in have a tendency to devaluate.”

Dixon disagreed with Summey’s approach to increasing the minimum wage.

“Not just within city government which was done a few years ago, and not trying to overwhelm small businesses by making them do it automatically, they could have given them a tier,” Dixon said. “There are things that could have been done to improve the quality of life for everyone in the city, but unfortunately, those things were not done.”

His hope for the next elected mayor is for them to understand the entire community must be served.