William “Bump” Roddey said he had a ritual before each game as a Northwestern High football player.
He went to the sidelines, took a moment to himself, and vomited to rid himself of all the nervousness he felt.
Roddey said the same thing happened Friday before he announced that he will be a mayoral candidate this October.
“Every time I did that, we would do well,” he told a crowd of friends and voters at the Rock Hill City Hall Rotunda. “I’m filled with so many emotions right now.”
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Roddey officially opened his candidacy by promising he would help encourage Rock Hill’s efforts as a sports tourism destination in the Southeast, boost the city’s financial stability, and work to help low-income families afford housing.
If elected, Roddey would become Rock Hill’s first African American mayor.
Other candidates, who have publicly announced their intentions to replace longtime Mayor Doug Echols, include Rock Hill Sports Commission chairman John Gettys and local landscape architect Duane Christopher.
Echols’ term ends in January 2018, but the general election will be Oct. 17. He has served Rock Hill for nearly three decades, including most of the past 20 years as mayor.
Roddey lives in York County, but said he and his family will officially move to incorporated Rock Hill in the near future so he can formally file for the election. He said he must be able to show residency in Rock Hill about a month before the election.
Roddey is serving his fourth term as District 4 York County Council member, and said he will continue to serve on the county council throughout the campaign. He said he felt he was “well in tune” with what Rock Hill needed to be successful, and would be on a listening tour to guage the feelings of the community.
“All too often, the thing that’s forgotten in the city of Rock Hill is asking whether businesses are successful and not whether neighborhoods are successful,” he said. “I want to make sure we are evaluating the affordable housing market in Rock Hill. I believe in helping individuals be successful as much as businesses.”
Roddey said he wants to help Rock Hill grow its reputation “into a different millenium” as a sports tourism destination in the Southeast. He noted that sports tourism is a thriving industry in South Carolina, and said he wants to grow and nurture efforts such as a proposed indoor sports complex or the upcoming BMX World Championships this July.
The city estimates that sports tourism is responsible for a direct impact of around $21 million annually, including Rock Hill’s other venues, the Supercross track, the Velodrome, Cherry Park and Manchester Meadows.
Roddey said he comes from “a county perspective,” which he says is important to understand large-scale issues such as tax rates and keeping healthy reserves in case of an emergency.
He said it was important that Rock Hill build up its “financial stability.” He also pledged to inspect the city’s affordable housing market and work to make sure more families don’t get priced out of the market.
“You can’t have a successful city without seeing the issues that come ahead,” Roddey said. “We want to be positioned to not have to raise utility, water, electric rates. We want to make sure we can come back in a year or two and say we did all we could to make Rock Hill a successful city.”