Five seats on the Chesterfield County Council are up for grabs in the general election Tuesday, Nov. 6. All five of the incumbents for these seats are running for re-election. Only one council member, Eddie Rivers, who has represented District 1 for the past 24 years, is running unopposed.
The current chairman for the Chesterfield County Council, J. Matthew Rivers, is being challenged by Donna Johnson in District 7. Rivers is running on the Democratic ticket, and although Johnson’s validity as a properly filed candidate was questioned during the summer, she is officially on the ballot as the Republican candidate for that office.
There is a three-way race to represent District 9, which lies predominately in the Cheraw area. Incumbent Robert Cole is the Democratic candidate; Catherine Thompson and Theodore Burns will be listed on the ballot as Petition candidates for this district. There is no Republican candidate in this race.
Johnny McKenzie is running against incumbent Frank Plyler in District 5. Plyler is the Democratic candidate and McKenzie will be on the ballot as a Petition candidate.
And in District 6, Tommy Hunt is challenging incumbent Lenora Powe. Hunt is a Petition candidate and Powe is the Democratic candidate.
All voting precincts open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Election results for the county will be tallied at the Chesterfield County Voter’s Registration Office on West Boulevard in Chesterfield on Tuesday night.
Election results will be available on-line through The Cheraw Chronicle’s website, as soon as the unofficial results are posted that night by Lois Burr, director for the voter’s registration office.
Election campaigns, running unopposed, also include these offices:
Chesterfield County Solicitor Circuit 4: Will Rogers, Democratic candidate.
Chesterfield County Clerk of Court: Faye Sellers, Democratic candidate.
Chesterfield County Coroner: Kip Kiser, Democratic candidate.
Chesterfield County Auditor: Jack Rivers, Democratic candidate.
Chesterfield County Treasurer: Kathy B. Sheeler, Democratic candidate.
A special election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 13, for District 9 of the Chesterfield County School Board. Candidates for that office are Wayne Chapman and Johnnie McLendon.
The Chronicle asked each candidate to answer three questions. They are: 1) “What role does partisan gridlock play for your office? And, if it’s a problem, what do you plan to do about it?” 2) “If, during your elected term, you could accomplish just one goal, what would that goal be and how would you make it happen?” 3) “What’s your personal motivation for running?”
The candidates responses follow:
Chesterfield County Council District 1
Candidate: Eddie Rivers
1) “Really, there’s not any partisan gridlock. Fortunately, for our county council, we work well together regardless of the party with which we’re affiliated.”
2) “Hopefully, we, as a council, will continue to work together to improve services to the citizens of Chesterfield County. We’ve made great strides with this in the recent past and we need to continue these efforts. Every end of this county is important. We need jobs, good jobs, for our people. We will continue working to bring jobs to Chesterfield County, whether those jobs be in McBee, Pageland, Patrick, Cheraw, Chesterfield, or any portion of the county.”
3) “I have always been a people person and have just completed my 24th year on Chesterfield County Council. I enjoy serving the people. I hope to continue working to improve the quality of life for all of our citizens. Chesterfield County is a wonderful place to live, but I will continue working to make it even better.”
Chesterfield County Council District 5
Candidate: Johnnie McKenzie
Party: Petition Candidate
McKenzie did not provide answers to our candidate questionnaire.
Candidate: Frank Plyler
1) “There are nine members that make up Chesterfield County Council. Since we are all citizens for the same county, I don’t see partisan gridlock being a problem. Sometimes we may not agree on what is best for the county and the council may be split, but I vote on what I feel is best for my district and county as a whole.”
2) “My goal is to consolidate a majority of the county offices into one location. This will be more convenient for the citizens of Chesterfield County and less confusing. It would also relieve some of the costs of multiple locations.”
3) Since Chesterfield County is a part-time position, and we have insurance through the National Guard (from which I retired), my motivation for running is not through what the position can do for me financially or through health care coverage. Rather, I run because I simply enjoy the position. I love working with people, and I wanted to serve. I try to be involved in the events within my whole district.”
Chesterfield County Council District 6
Candidate: Tommy Hunt
Party: Petition Candidate
1) “Gridlock brings forward motion to a stop. I built and own two successful businesses, The Shed Restaurant and Hunt Construction, which has been in operation for more than 30 years. So, I know how to work with people and get things done.”
2) “The goal I want to accomplish is bringing more jobs to Chesterfield County. The way that this happens is to seek out people who have proven records in this field.”
3) “I believe this county has the potential to be a more productive place to live and raise a family.”
Candidate: Lenora Powe
1) “Everyone on the council ran and won as a Democrat. I guess we are all in this together.”
2) “The most important issues in my opinion are economic development and the widening of Highway 9 between Ruby and Pageland. These two issues are related because of our proximity to Charlotte, N.C., the financial hub of our area. We must have the infrastructure to provide the accessibility to our county; not only for industry but also tourism. The greatest advantage of tourism is that people will come and leave their dollars in the county, without building more schools or providing other services.”
3) “My main focus of the term will be the widening of Highway 9 and I will continue to work on this project until it has been accomplished, by any legal means necessary.”
Chesterfield County Council District 7
Candidate: Donna Johnson
1. “As the challenger for this seat I am not sure that partisan gridlock is an issue. Seeing as how the representative is hired/elected to look out for the best interest of ALL the residents regardless of political affiliation, this should not be an issue ever. I will not let party lines play any part in a vote or decision that I make while on council.”
2. “My goal is to fully represent all folks in my district, to be available and accountable at all times and to make government offices and procedures more accessible and user friendly. I will accomplish this goal by asking council to hold council meetings alternately during the day and during the evening so that all residents have the opportunity to attend the monthly meeting. I will ask council members to dedicate themselves to attending district events and requiring current and correct contact information for council members and a pledge to return all correspondence in a timely manner. In other words, earn our pay by representing the folks in our district and county.”
3. “My personal motivation for running … I was motivated by the lack of caring for the animals that existed in Chesterfield County Government. Changes have definitely been made but we are a long way from a spay neuter program, stronger ordinances, and a new facility. I was motivated to run because of the lack of jobs in our area, I believe that there are untapped resources for jobs right here in Chesterfield County, we just have to find and promote them. I was motivated to run because I am worried about the future of our young people.”
Candidate: Matt Rivers
1) “None, I am proud to say.”
2) “Simple, bring more jobs to our area. To make it happen we should continue to offer tax and job incentive packages and keep the property tax rate low so that we have a competitive advantage versus other locales.”
3) “I want to see this county do better. I feel strongly that I have done a good job as both a county council member and as council chairman and am the most qualified candidate to indeed see us do better.”
Chesterfield County Council District 9
Candidate: Theodore Burns
1) “I feel there are not any partisan issues that affect the office of county council at this time. Even though we do have Democratic and Republican tickets, I feel that decisions have been made on needs of the county. If I am elected, I will continue to make decisions based on the needs of the district and county that I serve.”
2) “I will strive to maintain the great industries we have in Chesterfield County and will work tirelessly to attract more. It’s simple, more business means more jobs and more revenue for the county. The base has already been set through the hard work of the Chesterfield County Economic Alliance and Economic Development Board. I will work with them to attract more industry for the county.”
3) “My personal motivation has always come from my mother. She instilled in me the hard work ethics and caring for others that I have. And that motivates me to serve others when and where I can. This is an opportunity for me to give back to the community that has given so much to me. You know it doesn’t take much motivation to give of yourself when you see that day to day struggles of others; you just jump in and give back what has been given to you.”
Candidate: Catherine Thompson
1) “I feel that there is indeed gridlock in our political system, as a whole, due to party lines, and unfortunately the same applies locally. However, I see issues on county council that I don’t feel are as much partisan related, as they are ‘my own self-interest’ related. My goal as a councilwoman will be to work for the voters, not for myself. For the greater good, I am willing to toss aside any political differences and work together, regardless of party lines, to make a difference. After all, shouldn’t we all just want what is BEST for our county?”
2) “My goal is to bring more jobs to Chesterfield County, I would love to see the unemployment rate below 10 percent within the next 18 months. I would work closely with all entities that provide services to economic growth. I would rely heavily on the new Economic Alliance program and follow up with any leads that would create jobs and opportunity for networking.”
3) “I am interested in seeing Chesterfield County move out of the present, into economic growth and a thriving economy. I feel that now is the time to run. I have a vested interest in the county. I am a lifelong resident, raised my children here and am now seeing my grandchild growing up here. We have a great school system, a clean place to live and good neighbors. We are truly blessed to have a community like this and should do everything we can to continue with the trend of living in an area where we still believe in neighbor helping neighbor.”
Candidate: Robert Cole
1) “Partisan gridlock is not a problem with the county council. Chesterfield County Council has worked extremely well in getting problems solved.”
2) “I would love to see a new administrative building built, with a drive-up window to pay bills and take care of other business concerns. I would do whatever is within my power to support the building committee.”
3) My concern for running for another term on county council is to continue serving the people; with honesty, integrity and the ability to get along with fellow members.”
— Staff Writer Karen Kissiah can be reached by calling 843-537-5261, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.