For the second time in about three months, voters who live in Fort Mill town limits have the opportunity to cast a ballot in a special election to fill a Town Council seat. The winner of the Jan. 27 election will finish the two years left on the term vacated by Tom Spratt late last year.
Voters are fortunate to get to choose between three capable candidates. All three appear eager, earnest and energetic and have other outstanding qualities. However, Lisa McCarley has an edge in local experience and track record and that’s who we support in this election.
Chairwoman of the Fort Mill School District Athletic Board – created to raise the $60,000 a year needed to keep middle school sports going in Fort Mill – McCarley is a Fort Mill native and a product of the local school system. That’s one of the reasons she felt compelled to act about five years ago when the Fort Mill School District, facing a drastic reduction in revenue, had to slash its budget, including money for middle school sports.
The booster club she helped form morphed into the Athletic Board, which has organized successful fundraisers – including the annual and wildly popular Dancing With the Stars – Fort Mill. Those events, along with the fundraising done by individual schools, have made it possible for local middle schoolers to compete. That in turn has helped ensure local high school teams are getting freshman athletes already grounded in the fundamentals of their sports.
That not all she’s accomplished. McCarley served as co-chairwoman for the most recent school district bond referendum committee. Despite local voters’ traditional support for school district initiatives, the last referendum, asking voters to approve the cost of building another new school and expanding the district’s two high schools, was no slam-dunk. Yet the committee helped rally support that the proposal was passed by a wide margin.
McCarley wasn’t alone in these successful endeavors and everyone involved deserves to share in the credit; but she clearly demonstrated the leadership and organizational skills we want to see in a town council member. Among her plans, if elected, is to get more residents and other stakeholders involved in the town’s business. We like that idea and if there’s anyone who can bring people together for the common good, it’s McCarley.
The other two candidates, Chris LaRocque and Cory Kusick, bring a lot to the table. Though both have been Fort Mill residents for less than a year, they are quick studies who, judging by their grasp of local issues, have an impressive capacity to gather and process information. Both LaRocque and Kusick are young military veterans who are already involved in the community and sincerely want to help steer Fort Mill through its growing pains. We wouldn’t be surprised if either or both eventually come to serve on town council.
Most other things being equal, we had to go with the candidate who’s most vested in Fort Mill and already proved she can things done.
This election is also an opportunity to make up for the embarrassingly poor turnout for the last special election to fill a town council seat. In October, 1.2 percent of the 8,806 eligible voters cast ballots. That was a grand total of 99 residents who felt it was worth their time to vote.
Whether you have to wait in line, or can walk in and out of your polling place in minutes, we think all elections are worth the time. Anyone who needs extra incentive should think about those people around the world who live under repressive regimes and yearn for the opportunity to elect leaders. Or those who do live in democracies but have been targeted by insurgents and maimed or killed because they exercised their right to vote. For that matter, think of all the U.S. service members and other patriots who have fought for our democracy, or of minorities subjected to violence by hate groups during the Jim Crow era.
Isn’t it worth their time for you to travel to polling place in or close to your community, show your ID and touch one of three names on a screen to cast your ballot?
And like we said, this particular election offers three good choices. The best one, however, is Lisa McCarley. Elect her to Fort Mill Town Council.