18 file for council elections

As Sunday's deadline to file for seats on the York County Council approaches, 18 people as of Friday say they want a chance to represent the county.

The only councilman without a challenger so far is Rick Lee, who represents part of Rock Hill.

Bill Stiles, Gwendolyn Conner, Ashley Martin, Marion Davenport and Alex Haefele all added their names to the list of council candidates late this week.

Stiles, a real estate broker who ran for the seat representing Clover and Lake Wylie areas four years ago, said he wants to see growth managed properly.

Stiles, 42, of Lake Wylie said he wants to preserve the quality of life in District 2. He joins incumbent Tom Smith and real estate and construction consultant David McCorkle in the Republican race for the seat. The primary election is June 10.

"I want to be a voice for the people," said Stiles of Stiles Reality. "I want to have input in the growth that's happening. I'd like to promote and cultivate a dialogue between council and local government in Clover and people in the district."

A third Democratic candidate, Conner, is running for the seat held by Roy Blake. Conner, who moved to Rock Hill from Aiken in 2005, joins Blake and Bowater employee William Roddey in the race for District 4's seat.

The winner of that primary will face the Republican owner of a pest control company, Tom Hardin, in the November election.

Conner, 45, is a mother of three who works in human resources for Thomas and Betts Corp. in Lancaster.

Conner, who has degrees from Aiken Technical College, Limestone College and Nova Southeastern University, is focused on education, economic development and healthier relations in the district.

"I'd like to see the relationship among council members strengthened," she said.

Conner has served on the boards of directors for the city's Human Relations Committee and Rock Hill schools' Education Foundation. She said she'd like to bring jobs to the area that will give residents quality opportunities and an enhanced quality of life.

Martin, a 27-year-old Winthrop graduate from Fort Mill, said she wants to see more economic growth in District 5. She's challenging Curwood Chappell, who has represented District 5 for 16 years, in the June Republican primary.

Martin, who's involved with the county's Young Republicans, said she's focused on issues such as keeping taxes under control, adding commercial development to the area, improving the schools and adding to the police force.

"I really feel it's time for some new blood," Martin said.

During her campaign kickoff event Friday morning at Ryan's Steakhouse in Rock Hill, Martin criticized Chappell on things such as swearing during meetings and voting for tax hikes.

Haefele, a Republican real estate developer who has lived in York County for 24 years, said the council needs to get past discussions that end in a gridlock so members can reach a consensus and get things done.

Haefele, 55 of Rock Hill also said he wants to bridge the gap between voters and the council.

"I think we need to reach out to our constituents, reach out to our citizens and make sure they know what's going on in their community," he said at a Friday event at Thursdays Too in Rock Hill.

The father of three and founder of Benson Morgan Co. said he will find a way to finish stalled "Pennies for Progress" road improvements, create long-term solutions to the county's waste management problems and start a conversation about transportation alternatives in the area.

Haefele will face Chairman Buddy Motz in the Republican primary.

Davenport, owner of Chirp 'n Chatter in Fort Mill, could not be reached for comment Friday. Davenport, who is running on the Democratic ticket for District 1, lives in Regent Park in Fort Mill. She will have to face the winner of the Republican primary between incumbent Paul Lindemann and former York County Councilman Jeff Updike.

The deadline to file with a political party for County Council and other races is noon Sunday.