Years of being a familiar face about town could work for or against someone running for office. For Trudie Heemsoth, it worked for her.
Heemsoth, 68, celebrated last Tuesday night after unofficial results showed she will be the next member of Fort Mill Town Council. Full results later showed Heemsoth winning all but one of 15 precincts. She collected more than 57 percent of the vote followed by David McWilliam at 35 percent and Ned McAteer at almost 8 percent, according to official results.
Turnout among 10,306 registered voters was 3.64 percent. Out of 375 votes cast, 214 went to Heemsoth. McWilliam had 130 votes and 29 went to McAteer. Two “under votes” – blank ballots – were cast that did not go to any of the candidates.
Heemsoth, retired after 11 years with the York County Regional Chamber office in Fort Mill, was a Fort Mill School Board member for more than a dozen years. She is a Fort Mill High School graduate who said she saw validation in her election after so many years in the community.
“They trust you and they respect you,” Heemsoth said. “They trust your judgment.”
She replaces another longtime Fort Mill community and Council member. Guynn Savage left her Council seat when Fort Mill voters selected her in November as the new mayor. Heemsoth will have two years on the remaining term.
Heemsoth ran on a similar platform as Savage last fall, namely the need for better communication between Fort Mill, the city of Tega Cay, the Fort Mill school board and York County on growth-related issues.
“We all need to work together,” Heemsoth said.
Heemsoth had supporters phoning in results from the 15 precincts just after polls closed at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Initially, she wasn’t sure whether she or McWilliam would emerge from the field.
“It was a bit nerve wracking right from the very beginning, but it was exciting at the same time,” Heemsoth said.
There isn’t a particular issue she wants to push immediately on Council. After getting her footing with the group, Heemsoth hopes to move the town she loves forward in a variety of ways.
“I’m ready to get started,” she said.
“I equate it to a new job. When you take a new job, you kind of know what to expect but you really don’t know what you’re doing until you get in there and start digging and start learning more.”