Fort Mill voters to choose school board, S.C. legislators

October 31, 2012 

Following are profiles on candidates running for S.C. House, S.C. Senate and the Fort Mill School Board. In addition to these candidates, Fort Mill Township residents, depending on which district they live in, will see York County Council candidates Chad Williams and Michael Johnson on the ballot. Williams is running unopposed for the York County Council District 7 seat. Johnson is running unopposed for the York County Council District 1 seat.

Editor’s note: These responses are not edited. The candidates were given a word limit when responding to the questions, which were developed by the Fort Mill Times staff. Any words beyond the limit were deleted. The questions and answers were communicated by email, and all candidates were given an equal amount of days to respond.

S.C. Senate 15

Incumbent Wes Hayes (R) faces challenger Joe Thompson, a petition candidate

Name: Wes Hayes

Age: 59

Family: My wife Sally and I have three children (Wes age 30, Creighton age 26, and Margaret age 22)

Occupation: Attorney

Civic Involvement: Kiwanis Club, Gideons International, American Legion, Board at Westminster Towers, Red Cross Board, President of the Palmetto Council Boy Scouts of America, state board of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI)

Education Background: West Point Class of 1975 and University of South Carolina School of Law Class of 1983

Political Experience: 7 years in the SC House and 21 years in the S.C. Senate

Do you think voters should be entitled to see a full disclosure of officials’ and candidates’ source(s) of income? Why/why not? Yes. Too many elected officials are doing consulting work, etc., for entities that have matters that come before those elected officials. We need to bring the light of day to these relationships.

If elected, what are your top three priorities and how would you make them happen? 1) Bring more jobs to York County 2) Ethics Reform 3) Improve public education. On the jobs issue, we need to improve our tax structure for manufacturing, continue to help employers with the cost of unemployment insurance, and better support training of our work force through York Tech. As Chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee I plan to push for full disclosure of all sources of income and find a constitutional definition of committees so

Name: Joe Thompson

Age: 58

Family: wife Kris of 34 years. 2 sons, Nicholas and Colton, 28 and 26 years old.

Occupation: Sales and management

Civic Involvement: church, coached my kids sports teams growing up, volunteering.

Education Background: technical school

Political Experience: grassroots organization

Do you think voters should be entitled to see a full disclosure of officials’ and candidates’ source(s) of income? Why/why not?

Yes. There shouldn’t be a question as to who is paying our legislators. Income disclosure will ensure there are no conflicts of interest.

If elected, what are your top three priorities and how would you make them happen?

Education, ethics, and the economy. All three are in desperate need of reform. We need comprehensive tax reform, a full fledged ethics reform that makes a more transparent and accountable government, and an education system that empowers parents through education freedom and choices in their child’s education.

S.C. House of Representatives, District 26

Raye Felder (I) and Jeremy Walters (L)

Name: Raye Felder

Age: 50

Family: Married to Wayne Felder, 2 daughters and 7 grandchildren

Occupation: Insurance Sales and Service

Civic Involvement: York Technical College Foundation Board Member, York County Economic Development Board Member, Community Housing, Inc, York County Regional Chamber of Commerce, Government Relations Task Force committee member for the Regional Chamber, Volunteer Guardian Ad-Litem for abused and neglected children, member of Doby’s Bridge Presbyterian Church

Education Background: Attended York Technical College, Winthrop University, graduated from Limestone College

Political Experience: none

Do you think voters should be entitled to see a full disclosure of officials’ and candidates’ source(s) of income? Why/why not?

Elected or appointed public servants should be held to a full disclosure of any revenue sources or other potential for personal gain that may influence decisions or actions while representing the People of South Carolina. We must work together to build an ethics law that is inclusive and not impossible. The ethics rulebook needs to be updated without inconsistencies to apply to all parties involved.

If elected, what are your top three priorities and how would you make them happen?

CREATE JOBS-make S.C. more business friendly by working in a bipartisan manner to reduce regulations and taxes so that new and existing businesses can prosper and grow REFORM TAXES-work to create a flatter and fairer tax code that reduces the burden on S.C. working class families and industry CONTROL SPENDING-work in a bipartisan manner to eliminate wasteful spending and make government entities accountable for every dollar that is spent with measurable results for improvement

Name: Jeremy C. Walters

Age: 41

Family: son, age 7

Occupation: Self-employed carpenter

Civic Involvement: successful citizen lobbyist, co-founder and Vice President of the South Carolina Coalition for Parents and Children

Education Background: High School

Political Experience: successful citizen lobbyist, family court reform H4614

Do you think voters should be entitled to see a full disclosure of officials’ and candidates’ source(s) of income? Why/why not?

No. As a contractor, confidential information about clients should not be disclosed.

If elected, what are your top three priorities and how would you make them happen?

1. My top priority is to build an army of citizen lobbyists by recruiting residents at local town hall meetings, allowing residents’ voices to be heard in order to move S.C. legislation. 2. My second priority is to end the income tax by convincing the S.C. Legislation that other states that have done the same and prosper just fine without it. 3. My third priority is nullification of Obamacare in the state of S.C.

Fort Mill School District School Board candidates

Seven candidates are running for three open spots on the Fort Mill School Board. Incumbents Chantay Bouler and Scott Patterson are running along with candidates Pam Martin, Tom Audette, Brian Boyd, Michele Branning and Jennifer Greene.

Name: Tom Audette

Age: 49

Family: I am married and have 5 daughters

Occupation: AT&T Area Manager for S. Carolina and N. Carolina, with over 11 years of Proven Leadership for AT&T/Bellsouth

Civic Involvement: Member of Central Church of God, Member of the Men of Acts, Member of COT for AT&T

Education Background: Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Mkt. - Columbia Southern University, Bachelor of Science L. Studies - Eastern Oregon University, Associate of Science Net. Support – Champlain College, Associate of Science Programming – Champlain College, Certificate in Financial Planning – Saint Michael’s College, Green Belt Six Sigma Certified – AT&T

Political Experience: President of Precinct of (Fort Mill #6) for the GOP, S.C. delegate to the S.C. State GOP Convention, Member for the South Carolina District 5 Patriots, Member of Nikki Haley campaign for South Carolina Governor, Member of Mick Mulvaney campaign for United States House, Member of Ralph Norman campaign for South Carolina House, Candidate for York County Council in 2010, Elected Board member of the Yorkshire HOA (750 homes)

Given $50,000 to spend in the district in any way you choose, what program or need would you spend it on?

As of 2014 the state of S.C. will be fully implementing the "Common Core State Standards", which will then give the Fort Mill school system the ability to be ranked against all other schools in the nation! Therefore, I would recommend the use of this $50,000 for programs that will best support the Common Core testing standard. This would include fully funding the “reading recovery program” along with continuing to fund the “STEM program”.

Are you in favor of restoring funding to middle school sports? If not, why and if so, how?

Two of the three daughters I have in Fort Mill Schools are in middle school and I applaud the hard work of the sports booster club. A 30% reduction in school funding by the S.C. Act388 law along with minimal federal funding makes Fort Mill schools the lowest funded school systems in the county. I will work with the state legislature to try to gain back that 30% reduction, which then may allow future funding.

Name: Michele Branning

Age: 43 years old

Family: Married to Jim for 22 years. 2 sons, Nik - Fort Mill High School class of 2012; Furman University class of 2016, Michael - 8th grade Springfield Middle School

Occupation: Co-Owner and Working Manager at Carolina Mobility Sales with 4 locations in the Southeast

Civic Involvement: In addition to numerous volunteering efforts in our schools I also support Make A Wish, JDRF and MDA.

Education Background: Attended Purdue University - Fort Wayne, IN

Political Experience: No political Experience

Given $50,000 to spend in the district in any way you choose, what program or need would you spend it on?

Fort Mill School District’s mission is to “put children first by providing a progressive and challenging education.” That education could be further enhanced by identifying the specific learning style of each student. When classroom experiences tie well to students’ learning style, performance improves. Spending $50,000 to identify individual learning styles and training teachers to provide multiple ways of explaining subject would be money well spent.

Are you in favor of restoring funding to middle school sports?

Middle school students are at a critical juncture in their development both academically and socially. Middle school sports are a crucial outlet as are fine arts programs, clubs and student government. Kids that are involved in school activities are happy students. Providing a middle school sports program is an integral part of the Fort Mill experience. A partnership between parents, school funding and corporate sponsors can be a win for everyone.

Name: Brian Boyd

Age: 29

Family: My wife Sarah and I have been married for nearly eight years. We have a two-year-old son named Aiden and a baby boy due in December.

Occupation: Information Technology Manager at a local non-profit organization

Civic Involvement: Nearly five years ago I began serving on our HOA’s community board and for the past three years I have served as the president. When I became president our financial reserves were unfunded and my goal was to find ways to reduce costs and improve services. Through hard work and dedication we have increased our reserves by more than 80% in the past three years while continuing to provide good service.

Education Background: In 2003 I received an Associate of Arts degree from Weatherford College. I will be completing my bachelor’s degree in 2013 followed by a master’s degree in biblical studies at North Carolina College of Theology.

Political Experience: I have not served in a public office before.

Given $50,000 to spend in the district in any way you choose, what program or need would you spend it on?

$50,000 is less than $5 for every student that we have enrolled, but I would look for ways to have a lasting impact on as many students as possible. I know from personal experience that important supplies or requests can slip through the cracks. I would look for those areas and utilize the $50,000 for that purpose. From a practical standpoint it may come in the form of $1,000 to be spent on 50 classrooms.

Are you in favor of restoring funding to middle school sports? If not, why and if so, how?

I am in favor and I will work hard to find ways to save money that can be allocated to restore the middle school sports funding. One way that we can save money is to introduce new technology that is cheaper initially and in the future. We can save more than $8,000 per 30 workstation computer lab based on the price that was spent this summer to replace computers at GHES and FMHS.

Name: Chantay F. Bouler

Age: 51

Family: married to J. Martin Bouler, Sr for 33 years; have 3 adult children - S. Rochelle, J. Martin, Jr., and Brandi N (all are products of Fort Mill school system); one three-year old granddaughter - Madyson Gabrielle (will soon be entering Fort Mill school system).

Occupation: Finance Director - Town of Fort Mill for the last 16 years

Civic Involvement: former membership - Foundation for Fort Mill Schools; Rock Hill /Fort Mill Minority Scholarship Foundation; United Way of York County, SC; current membership - Springs/Close Foundation; Fort Mill Community Optimist Club; York County Regional Chamber of Commerce (Fort Mill Area Council)

Education Background: Fort Mill High School Graduate, 1978; York Technical College - Associate Degree - Computer Programming (1986)

Political Experience: Fort Mill School Board (1993-2005); 2008-present

Given $50,000 to spend in the district in any way you choose, what program or need would you spend it on?

I would target the funds for the classroom to supplement the cost of an additional teacher or teacher assistant(s) to place in the necessary areas to impact the academic programs.

Are you in favor of restoring funding to middle school sports? If not, why and if so, how?

While I realize that extracurricular activity such as middle school sports plays a part to some degree in the overall development of a student and compliments the learning experience, the first mission is to educate the student. The decision to cut the middle school sports was tough; however, I believe that the ‘pay to play’ alternative has proven to be successful and continues to be self-sustaining with the assistance of the Middle School Athletics Boosters.

Name: Jennifer Greene

Age: 41

Family: Artie Greene-loving, supportive husband of 15 years; Garrett Greene amazing, wise 12-year-old son.

Occupation: Licensed S.C. Real Estate Agent

Civic Involvement: I am a life long voting and taxpaying S.C. resident. I serve my community through my involvement at my local church All Nations Church and through Chavda Ministries International. I am a current member of the PTO and have served previously volunteering to organize and serve teacher luncheons. Our family has served feeding the homeless in our community in Charleston. We have provided support to local orphanages by adopting children and providing for their needs during the holidays. We have supported local food banks for the needs of the less fortunate in the community. I have served as a motivational speaker for The Rahab house in Myrtle Beach; a place where women who, because of addiction, abuse or incarceration can make a fresh start. I have served in the classroom since 2005 in every school that we have been in serving the teachers and administration in anyway needed.

Education: I graduated from St Andrews High School in Charleston, S.C.; I have an Associate of Science Degree from Trident Technical College where I was a member of Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society.

Political Experience: This is my very first exciting personal experience in the political arena. I come with a passion to serve and a burning desire to fight on behalf of this district for more funding. I come with a fresh new perspective and a vibrant spirit with a lot of perseverance!

Given $50,000 to spend in the district in any way you choose, what program or need would you spend it on?

If given 50000, I would choose to spend it on preparing our teachers for the upcoming transition to Common Core State Standard testing that takes place in 2014-15. It is imperative that our teachers are adequately trained in order to maintain the success of our students. This would include making sure that we have the necessary technology needed and that we are making proper use of what we have already allocated funds for.

Are you in favor of restoring funding to middle school sports? If not, why and if so, how?

I am in favor of restoring funding for Middle School Athletics. I will research grant opportunities and creative ways to find extra available funding on a state and federal level and fight for it on your behalf. I will utilize fundraising opportunities not currently in use. While we continue to experience national and local education cuts, we must use every avenue available to increase funding. Researching and finding solutions to problems is my passion.

Name: Pam Martin

Age: 50

Family: Married over 28 ½ years. Our son, Scott, is a senior this year at Fort Mill High School.

Occupation: Small business owner of a local multimedia production company

Civic Involvement: I have served on numerous Fort Mill School District committees. Some of these are School Improvement Councils at three different schools, Parent Liaison Committee for 12 years, and 2011 and 2012 Strategic Planning Committees. I am an active member of Philadelphia United Methodist Church, where I have served on Trustees, Staff Parish Relations, Finance, Building and Lay Leadership committees. This experience has given me the opportunity to work and interact with many school and community leaders.

Education Background: B.S. Degree in Finance, University of Alabama, Birmingham

Political Experience: No prior political experience

Given $50,000 to spend in the district in any way you choose, what program or need would you spend it on?

I would invest in continued improvements to technology in the classroom, i.e. iPads and Chromebooks, and help make these devices available to all students. I believe we should strive to provide equal opportunities to all of our students and this is one step in helping to ensure they are ready for college and/or careers ahead.

Are you in favor of restoring funding to middle school sports? If not, why and if so, how?

I would love to be able to put middle school sports back in the budget. However, my first priority would be to meet the needs of the classroom. Teachers, staff and programs such as reading recovery were cut the same year as middle school sports. I’m glad we live in a supportive community that has kept middle school sports going even amongst the budget cuts from the state.

Scott Patterson

Age: 43

Family: (wife) Ronda (children) Ally 14, Sydney 10 and Jay

Occupation: Stay at Home Dad and Co-Owner of Palmetto River Outdoor Personal Chefs, LLC

Civic Involvement: Member of Sisk Memorial Baptist Church Personnel Comm., Girl Scout Volunteer, GHES classroom volunteer, Member of Catawba Lodge #56, Member of Hejaz Shrine Temple, Former Co-President of GHES PTA, Former GHES SIC member, Jr. Achievement volunteer at GHES, Former Board Member of Boys & Girls Club of York County, Former Board Member of the Catawba Regional Education Center, Member of the 2007 Keep Our Schools Strong Bond Referendum Committee, Former Area and District Chairman of SC Ducks Unlimited.

Education: 1987 FMHS Graduate, Graduate of York Technical College with an Associate Degree in Business Mgt.

Political Experience: Served the last four years on the Fort Mill School Board of Trustees.

Given $50,000 to spend in the district in any way you choose, what program or need would you spend it on?

If the $50,000 was recurring revenue, I would add a classroom teacher. During the past few budget years, we’ve witnessed our teacher/pupil ratio creeping upward. One additional teacher could be strategically placed to address an attendance bubble in one of our schools. If the $50,000 was one time gift, I would direct it toward the maintenance and upkeep of our Smartboards that we’ve placed in every classroom. Projector bulbs cost $250 each.

Are you in favor of restoring funding to middle school sports? If not, why and if so, how?

Absolutely. Along with many other programs that suffered unprecedented cuts. Our District is so blessed to have a community that rallied to keep the Middle School sports program alive. We recently posed a similar question to some of our teachers and their unanimous response was if any additional funding were available, it should first be directed toward adding classroom teachers.

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