Fort Mill Times

4 Republicans file for Lancaster County Council Dist. 1 seat


Candidate filing is finished for Lancaster County Council, but campaigning in the panhandle is just beginning.

Four candidates filed for one of two Lancaster County Council seats representing the Indian Land and Van Wyck areas. For Dist. 7, incumbent Brian Carnes was the only person to file, meaning short of an unexpected petition candidate campaign, Carnes will keep his seat unopposed.

The bigger contest comes in Dist. 1. Four candidates filed, all as Republicans, meaning residents will choose their next representative during the June 14 primary vote rather than the general election in November – unless a petition candidate emerges.

The candidates are David Freeman, Terry Graham, Melvin Stroble and J.R. Wilt.

▪ Freeman, 49, a lifelong Indian Land resident, is a small business owner in real estate and construction.

“The reason I joined the race is because I saw an urgent need of leadership,” he said. “I've served on the board of zoning appeals, was chairman for three years. Currently serving on the planning commission working on a unified development ordinance of Lancaster County, and have a firm understanding on what is taking place here.”

Freeman relies on his experience, both in residency and community service, to make his case.

“What makes me the best candidate is my ties to Indian Land my entire life, my fulfilled duties in Lancaster County politics in the last 15 years, and I consider myself a strong leader in my community,” he said.

▪ Graham, 62, and his wife Genie own The Ivy Place, an outdoor wedding and events venue. Graham is known as the “strawberry man” in Sun City since he grows and picks his own at The Ivy Place.

Graham wants to help manage growth that serves both the more urbanized Indian Land and rural Van Wyck areas.

“I am running because I became involved in an issue in our community that was causing a divide between the residents and communities,” he said. “Friends urged me to run because they thought as a business leader, long-time resident, civic leader and a person who gives back to the community I would make a good candidate.”

Graham lives and works off Van Wyck Road, in Lancaster.

“I am the best candidate because I am a grassroots candidate who enjoys broad support throughout Dist. 1 and Lancaster County,” he said.

▪ Wilt, 77, is a retired industrial chemist and teacher, both at the high school and college level. Wilt lives on Rock Hill Hwy. in Lancaster, south of Van Wyck.

“I have been working with County Council for several years and decided that I could better serve the people of Indian Land, Van Wyck and Lancaster as a member of Council,” he said.

The long-time community member sees familiarity as a strength.

“I am already familiar with all the issues,” he said. “I believe in transparency in government and I am willing to step up and do what needs to be done.”

▪ Stroble, 52, is an Indian Land resident who recently served as co-chair for the Lancaster School District bond campaign approved by voters, which will add a high school and other facility improvements in Indian Land. Stroble works as a project manager.

“I decided to run based on my interest and service to the Indian Land and Lancaster County communities,” Stroble said. “Through my active involvement with Indian Land organizations and Lancaster County School District, I was encouraged to run for County Council.”

Stroble has experience working in the South Carolina legislature and federal government as an intern, and with other groups in engineering and environmental work. He sees his varied work as affording him “the opportunity to work with a diverse group of people and various projects that include transportation, energy and utilities.”

“I believe my public outreach experiences associated with a variety of infrastructure projects will help County Council develop tools to gain community input necessary for developing a growth strategy for Indian Land and Van Wyck communities, as well as Lancaster County as a whole,” he said.

The four candidates for Dist. 1 are looking to replace Larry McCullough, a two-term representative who decided not to run again in favor of more time with family, he said. McCullough said the area has capable people, and hopes more of them will become involved in various forms of county government.

“Now is the time for others to have this wonderful opportunity,” he said.

Carnes will serve his second term.