After police controversy, small Lexington County town will choose new mayor

Live Update: After police controversy, small Lexington County town will choose new mayor

Voters in the small Lexington County town of Pine Ridge will cast some of the first votes in the Midlands this year when they go to the polls to elect a new mayor.

The town of around 2,000 has been without a mayor since former Mayor Robert Wells resigned in March, citing lingering complications from a COVID-19 diagnosis.

Running to succeed him are current Mayor Pro Tem Daniel Davis and civilian Fort Jackson employee Kevin Nation.

The winner will serve the remainder of Wells’ term for only a few months, until a regularly scheduled election in November.

The former mayor was criticized after resignations left the Pine Ridge Police Department with no serving officers last year. The department had been plagued by the departures of several police chiefs in recent years, including one officer who was found by a SLED report to be working as a basketball coach at times when he should have been serving the department. The town eventually named a new police chief in April after a six-month vacancy.

Voters can cast their ballots at Congaree Baptist Church, 101 Pine Ridge Drive, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

Pine Ridge Mayor Pro Tem Daniel Davis is a candidate for mayor in a special election on June 15, 2021.

Pine Ridge Mayor Pro Tem Daniel Davis is a candidate for mayor in a special election on June 15, 2021.

Name: Daniel Davis

Age: 59

Education: BS from Francis Marion University; MSW from The University of South Carolina

Community involvement: I am involved in various activities with my church and in Pine Ridge.

1) What are the top three issues facing the town, and how would you address them?

We are making plans to survey the citizens of Pine Ridge to determine a consensus as it pertains to issues facing the Town. Once that information is obtained it can be utilized and incorporated into the Town’s planning document and we can address issues as prioritized by the citizens. From my conversations with citizens, there is a major concern about code enforcement. With the reconstitution of the Pine Ridge Police Department, the officers will begin to make code enforcement a priority as we seek to ensure that all communities are safe and maintained in such a manner that protects and enhances the investments of homeowners.

2) What do you think are the town’s top attractions, and how would you help promote them?

The top attractions in Pine Ridge include:

  • Softball and baseball: The citizens of Pine Ridge and surrounding areas always turn out to support both leagues. For many years, the Town Council has provided support through team sponsorships and special recognitions during council meetings. We will continue to publicize information on the web page, announce events during council meetings, and support their efforts through other collaborative methods.

  • The old Town Hall property: This scenic jewel is adjacent to the Circle K. Although the land is currently vacant, a committee made up of council members and citizens of Pine Ridge was recently established for the purpose of generating ideas on how best to showcase, utilize, and promote this venue. I am confident that the end product will be enjoyed for years to come.

Kevin Nation is a candidate for mayor of Pine Ridge in the June 15, 2021, special election.

Kevin Nation is a candidate for mayor of Pine Ridge in the June 15, 2021, special election.

Name: Kevin W. Nation

Age: 51

Civilian education: Bachelor of Science Degree – Criminal Justice; Master of Science Degree – Criminal Justice Administration

Military education: U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s School – Charlottesville, VA, Administrative Law Management Course; U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s School – Fort Jackson, SC, Paralegal Specialist Course; U.S. Army Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development System

1) What are the top three issues facing the town, and how would you address them?

New Leadership – We expect more from our elected leaders – more transparency, more consultation, more careful planning, and more empathy towards the many different stories that play out each day in our town. We expect more from the people who ask for our vote. We expect more from the people who sit in council chambers and make decisions that affect our lives. We expect more and we demand more.

Safer Community – with the lack of a police department since October 2020, the town has had to depend on the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department to provide law enforcement services. As with all law enforcement agencies being short-staffed the LCSD has to prioritize calls for service and I believe the town was not get the services needed.

Transparency of Local Government – The citizens deserve to know what the elected officials are doing when addressing the operations of the town. Therefore, keeping the community informed of the transactions of the town is vital for progress and allows the citizens input as to the way forward.

2) What do you think are the town’s top attractions, and how would you help promote them?

There are various attractions within the town to include the fish hatchery, softball complex and the senior center. Being able to offer various activities for all age groups is something the town strives to accomplish while maintaining the “small town” feel. I believe that if we work together with other communities such as South Congaree, Gaston and Swansea just to name a few, the Town of Pine Ridge will continue to promote itself while remaining a small bedroom community.

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