Charleston Mayoral candidates share goals for city

Published: Aug. 17, 2015 at 10:56 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 17, 2015 at 11:46 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The deadline to file as a candidate in Charleston's mayoral race passed Monday.

In under three months voters will head to the polls to vote for Charleston's new mayor from among the seven men and women officially in the running for the position.

They include Ginny Deerin, William Dudley Gregorie, Toby Smith, Leon Stavrinakis, John Tecklenburg, Paul Tinkler, and Maurice Washington.

Traffic and transportation are at the top of the list for many of the candidates running for Mayor of Charleston. Each brings a different viewpoint on how they should tackle the issue if elected to the position.

"I want to protect and preserve the city we love, and that starts by taking bold, comprehensive action on transportation," Deerin said. "I'm the only candidate for Mayor that has a transportation plan."

"We have the peninsula mobility report, we've got the tourism management plan, we've got the century five plan," Smith said. "It's time that we start testing these hypotheses about travel."

"West Ashley in particular have areas where traffic is very bad," Tinkler added. "We need to increase pedestrian and bike paths."

Education, meanwhile, ranks high in priorities as well for these candidates.

"As mayor, I will be someone who takes action, and thinks really big, and works with others to make sure our schools are providing what we need for our kids, so that our kids can get the jobs," Deerin said.

"I'm very concerned about our kids, particularly in kindergarten," Smith added. "If they don't get off to a good start with reading it's downhill for them
in many cases unless something intervenes."

Like the others, Washington wants to make Charleston stand out across the nation.

"I see Charleston in four years as a city that is right at the doorsteps as being recognized as a top ten city in America for education," Washington said.

Deerin, Smith and Tinkler realize that Charleston is changing rapidly.

Each have a different outlook on how to keep the city and it's different areas special.

"We all know how much growth is coming to our city," Deerin said. "I'm excited about it, but we need to be very careful to make sure we do good things with it."

"What I would like to do is extend the success that we've seen obviously on the peninsula, to all of our neighborhoods," Tinkler said.

"I want to bring those communities that area on the edge of prosperity to the table, because there are many people that are seeing so many great things happen but they're not a part of it," Smith added. "I'd like to work with them on that."

Public safety was one of the top priorities for Leon Stavrinakis and John Tecklenburg if they are to be elected as Charleston's new mayor.

"Charleston needs a hands on mayor focused on keeping this city the safest most prosperous city in America with the best quality of life," Stavrinakis.

"Basic city services can be improved and be more efficient," Tecklenburg said. "I'm looking forward to bringing my business experience to bare on the nuts and bolts of running our city government."

While the city is heavily visited year round, Washington, Stavrinakis and Tecklenburg want to make sure your quality of life isn't being affected.

"We need to work together as a community to continue to lift Charleston up and make Charleston an even better place to live," Tecklenburg said.

"Quality of life is something that we hear a lot and talk about a lot, but it all starts with a great job, a safe neighborhood, a safe place to go to work, a safe place for our kids to go to school," Stavrinakis added.

"Focus on raising wages to meet the cost of living," Washington said. "Creating affordable housing as well as affordable commercial space."

These candidates all want Charleston to be known across the map for it's many attributes. They all recognize there will be big shoes to fill, however they agree that continuing some of Mayor Joe Riley's work will help Charleston move forward.

William Dudley Gregorie is also in the running for mayor. Gregorie was unavailable for comment because of a scheduling conflict. According to his campaign website, Gregorie also wants to focus on public safety as well as managing the growth across the city. Transportation is also a goal in his campaign.

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