So, the race is over … I won. I have to say I’m still a bit in a state of shock. I felt good about the race but there was no way to know for sure. I said many times during my campaign that it’s important for incumbents to be challenged even if they keep their seat. It sharpens the focus. It makes candidates be more thoughtful. It gives the voters a better chance to be heard. It was an honor to run the race and listen to your voices.
Thank you so much to all my supporters and volunteers. You are too numerous to name and it wouldn’t have happened without you. Thank you to my family. You are the foundation of all things good and wonderful. And a special thanks to everyone who voted for me. It’s humbling. It’s a real challenge to defeat an incumbent, especially for a person who has no experience in politics. Each and every one of your votes is felt as a call to deserve the mayor’s seat every day I’m in it. Finally, thank you to Mayor Curtis. You are a strong opponent who ran a stout race.
During the campaign I was asked whether I’m a Republican or a Democrat. I had to explain that city elections are nonpartisan by state law. It wouldn’t be ethical to say. Since my initial answer I’ve come to feel there is a better one. I’m neither. I’m both. I represent all the citizens of Simpsonville. If you voted for me maybe my message resonated with you. A message of civility and integrity and a message of open communication before decisions come to a vote. Communication that will allow you as citizens to make informed comment prior to a change be voted up or down. Even if you didn’t vote for me or you didn’t vote at all, you should still hold me accountable and expect me to represent you as well. It’s all of us that make Simpsonville a wonderful place.
My plans are simple. I outlined above some general things about character and communication. I also plan to continue the good work already under way by City Council. Growth seems to be inevitable and I plan to use my voice on Council in a thoughtful way that encourages the opportunities provided by growth, but hopefully doesn’t make our traffic problems worse. I’ve heard some great ideas about improving the traffic flow. Maybe we can get some of those ideas in front of Council and the State of South Carolina. Finally, I’m fiscally conservative. I’m quite clear on the idea that saying “the tax rate hasn’t gone up” while raising fees is a shell game. Fees are taxes. I will be a voice on Council that always treats the City pocket book as your pocket book. I will never lose sight of where the money comes from. I will always push back on new ways to get in your pocket, and maybe we can find some ways to put a little back. That’s a bit ambitious but we should try.
From me and all the Shewmaker family we extend to all of you the warmest Thanksgiving wishes. I’m looking forward to taking office in January. I can’t wait to get to work.♦