TEGA CAY — With less than two weeks left until Election Day, Nov. 5, six candidates for two Tega Cay City Council seats remain hard at work getting their names out to the public.
The most familiar name belongs to Dottie Hersey, the lone incumbent of the six candidates. Hersey is an attorney whose family moved to Tega Cay in 2005. She said she was strongly encouraged to run again by other residents, and wants to “continue the good work” of current city leadership.
She understands how the term “incumbent” distinguishes her, but said that it’s only negative or positive based on what the candidate has done. In Tega Cay, she believes the term resonates well.
“I truly believe that staying the course with the current team, plus one new member to replace (outgoing Councilman) Stephen Perkins, is in the city’s best interests,” Hersey said.
Hersey said she has a better understanding of issues like commercial growth and annexation now compared to when she began on Council. She’s committed in coming years to commercial growth, an expanded fire department and fixing utility problems such as sewage spills. Hersey also believes her legal background will serve the city well.
“I have been able to bring my legal expertise to bear in our evaluation of potential contracts, ordinance reviews and discussions of other legal matters to the city’s benefit,” she said.
Lisa Marie Johnson also is an attorney and teaches local and state politics with the University of Phoenix. She moved to Tega Cay a little more than two years ago and believes what others may see as a weakness actually sets her apart from the pack.
“The fact that I’ve only been here two-and-a-half years and I’m hungry to represent my city is a unique perspective,” she said.
Main issues for her are ongoing sewage spill concerns – her neighborhood has been impacted directly – and evaluating residential versus commercial annexations. Johnson says she’s concerned with other matters particular to Tega Cay, like rules for golf cart use. Johnson doesn’t drive a golf cart, but wants rules that are fair to those who do and pedestrians using the same sidewalks.
“This isn’t about me,” she said. “This is about the residents of Tega Cay.”
Having worked behind the scenes for others’ campaigns in the past, Johnson said being new and running for office doesn’t mean she’s bringing a laundry list of things she wants to see changed.
“Why did you move to Tega Cay?” she said. “When people moved here they moved here because there was something special, something unique about this community. Why change that?”
Jennifer Stalford is a “full-time volunteer” who is head of the city’s beautification committee. She wants to see better communication between various parts of the city and more volunteerism throughout. Stalford arrived in Tega Cay eight years ago.
She was particularly concerned when, a little more than a year ago, the city disbanded four of its nine volunteer committees.
“We believe it is up to each individual to make Tega Cay ‘the good life,’” Stalford said. “As a result, our entire family has always volunteered in many aspects of community life here in Tega Cay and in our church.”
Stalford recently co-led an effort to ban smoking in city parks. She’s probably best known in Tega Cay for her leadership of the Living Memorial Gardens project, an effort that brought together city leaders, residents, workers and others, she said.
“This includes increasing volunteerism, working with contractors, obtaining in-kind donations, writing grants, landscape design, and installation of a project that represents the entire community,” Stalford said.
She wants more revenue from existing city properties, annexation with a greater return on investment than it has expenses, a stronger volunteer base and accountability for utilities when sewage spills occur.
“All of this is feasible if Council works together,” Stalford said. “I believe it will lead us to having a true downtown with vibrant businesses, increased tax revenues, decreased debt, increased recreational opportunities, and residents will have greater pride in saying they live in Tega Cay.”
Hersey, Johnson and Stalford join candidates David O’Neal, Walt Krasinski and Phillip Zima (all profiled in last week’s Fort Mill Times) on the ballot. The candidates look to make one last push for voters with Wednesday’s forum hosted by the York County Regional Chamber of Commerce. It begins at 6 p.m. Oct. 23 at the Glennon Center.
Following a meet-and-greet, the Council forum begins at 6:25 p.m. and a mayoral forum at 7:35 p.m.