Councilwoman Rhonda Jerome plans ahead for N. Charleston race for mayor

If elected as mayor, Rhonda Jermone would be the first female mayor of the City of North Charleston.
Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 9:48 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - For the first time in nearly three decades, North Charleston will be electing a new mayor.

Mayor Keith Summey recently announced he will not be seeking re-election for the seat he has held since 1994. But before Summey made that announcement, a North Charleston council woman announced she would put her bid in the race for mayor.

Rhonda Jerome was elected to serve on North Charleston City Council, District 2, in 2003. Since then, she has been representing the Midland Park, Colony North and Pepperhill neighborhoods and the City of North Charleston as a whole.

“Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I had over 50 people asked me to please run for mayor. So, I took that as a sign that now is the time,” Jerome said.

A native of North Charleston, Jerome said her 19 years of experience with the city will help her if she’s elected as mayor.

“I have ideas that I think could move the city in to a different direction than what it’s been the last 29 years,” Jerome said. “And I think I can do it. I’m up for the task.”

Jerome said she plans to give attention to the city’s infrastructure, as it’s growing each day.

“We’re growing leaps and bounds. We have over 30 people a day moving into the City of North Charleston. We have traffic, loads of traffic. But we also have apartments and hotels and the infrastructure is not catching up with all of the building that’s going on. And we’ve really got to look into that infrastructure,” she said.

Jerome said she recognizes that different parts of the city need more attention than others.

“The south end of the city needs help. We have people that have lived there all their lives that have inherited homes from their family members that are barely getting by there,” Jerome said. “There’s a food desert which we’ve been fighting since I’ve been on council.”

She said the north part of North Charleston is the part of the city that’s seeing the most growth. She said she hopes to balance the growth with the needs of the community.

When asked how she plans to level the field of disparity in North Charleston, Jerome said it’s important to get into the community to talk to residents.

“When you talk to the people in District 2, they will tell you I’m boots on the ground, and I listen to what they say and I help their needs,” Jerome said.

When asked what kind of mayoral race she’s prepared for, Jerome said she hopes it’ll be a positive one.

“Chief Burgess and I, we have a very good working relationship. I value his friendship dearly. This race has put a lot of people kind of like ‘well, I love you both, but I don’t know what to do,’” Jerome explained. “I want it to be a positive race, and may the best person win.”

Jerome said she doesn’t plan to attend any mayoral debates until after the filings are over Aug. 21.