North Myrtle Beach's Crescent Beach council seat is up for election this November, as Ed Ramey, the 47-year old owner and operator of Flash Cab, takes on experienced incumbent and Baldwin Construction Company president J. O. Baldwin III, 55.
The election is November 5, and citizens who wish to vote need to register by October 5.
MyHorryNews sent questionnaires to both candidates. Here are their answers:
Number of years you have lived in North Myrtle Beach: 20+ years
Why are you running for office? The state of politics in this country is the reason why I'm getting involved and running for public office. Every elected official in NMB is a multi-term incumbent. New leadership would be an encouraging sign as we strive to accommodate the future challenges and growth of our city. Also, my opponent in Crescent Beach was running unopposed and voting is the ultimate expression for change, and hopefully I'm giving the people of North Myrtle an option to make a change.
Why do you think you’re qualified to hold public office? Living here for over 20 years and being a part of this community qualifies me for public office. Listening and learning from others and finding solutions is what I will bring to the position.
What’s your biggest accomplishment in either the private sector or public service? Owner/Operator Flash Cab
Do you have any plans or specific policy goals you want to accomplish if elected? Burying our remaining power lines as we deal with the prospect of deadlier and more destructive hurricanes should be addressed. Finish paving our decaying roads is also a top priority as more vehicles populate our roads. Continue re-furbishing and restoring our beaches. The ocean and sand are the main reason many of our visitors come to our shores every year. Looking into new policies that would utilize more re-usable energy such as solar and wind to help power our city.
How do you plan to handle growth and development as North Myrtle Beach expands? Thoughtful and informative dialogue with the community to provide smart strategies to use our growth to our advantage. Identify and designate specific areas for future growth i.e. the Sport Park. As a city, we are allowing millions of dollars for our community to go to surrounding areas because we have not developed and expanded upon this revenue source. Find ways to become economically diverse, socially vibrant and welcoming as our population grows. Address obsolete businesses and structures and replace with new construction or renovation.
Have you ever held public office in the past, and if so, what was the position and when did you hold that position? N/A
Is there anything unique or special about you that most people don’t know? N/A
J. O. Baldwin III
Number of years you have lived in North Myrtle Beach: 55
Why are you running for office? I am running for re-election for many reasons. I want to continue to fight hard to insure that we maintain the family-friendly, safe city that we all love. I want to use this next term to see the many projects we are working on come to fruition, including paving Highway 17, protecting Waites Island from development, completing the underground utility projects to help with flooding issues and keeping our water clean.
I also want to improve beach access and to help resolve parking issues, to make sure the sports complex expansion continues to be an incredible success, to continue to fight for state and federal funding for stormwater out-falls and beach re-nourishment, and to continue finding additional ways to protect and preserve our natural resources. I enjoy helping people and solving problems.
I am committed to giving my all to this city and our residents for the next four years.
Why do you think you’re qualified to hold public office? I served on the construction board of appeals; I served on the North Myrtle Beach Planning Commission for two-and-a-half years, and I have served as a North Myrtle Beach city councilman for more than 15 years. During this time, our city has made great strides including maintaining the lowest tax millage rate of any city in Horry County and one of the lowest in the state.
What’s your biggest accomplishment in either the private sector or public service? In my private life, my biggest accomplishment has been raising my son, seeing him through college, earning a degree in engineering and his becoming a responsible, honest, caring young man.
My public life has been my city and the numerous important accomplishments we have spear-headed for the benefit of the citizens, families, businesses, visitors and friends of North Myrtle Beach. I look proudly at North Myrtle Beach being named the safest city in South Carolina and a Top 10 Beach Town in the nation. Even our beaches have national recognition. I have worked hard to help our city be so recognized. It makes me proud to have served in many capacities that have been so honored.
Do you have any plans or specific policy goals you want to accomplish if elected? Yes, and many are in the works now. Striving to maintain a low tax base; repairing and paving Highway 17 improving beach accesses including adding and improving existing handicap accesses; continuing adding additional beach parking with funding from paid parking and hospitality tax; maintaining our family beach image by voting against proposed high-density developments and keeping crime low with 171 highly trained public-safety personnel as allocated in the current budget; supporting road improvements, including road widening, paving, sidewalks, and bicycle lane; and continuing to seek ways to protect and preserve Waites Island.
How do you plan to handle growth and development as North Myrtle Beach expands? By encouraging low-density development and voting against proposed high-density projects that are not compatible or suitable for the existing surrounding neighborhoods. In many ways, I would love to see no more development within the city limits but that is not a viable option. Growth will happen whether we like it or not.
What I will do is fight for responsible, reasonable growth with low-density development. I grew up here so I have seen many changes in my life. While our city has grown at this time, we have been able to maintain much of the same family-oriented image in which I grew up. I will continue to strive hard to make sure we never lose that.
Have you ever held public office in the past, and if so, what was the position and when did you hold that position? Yes, I served on the North Myrtle Beach Planning Commission for two and a half years, and I have served on the North Myrtle Beach City Council for more than 15 years.
Is there anything unique or special about you that most people don’t know? I do not believe that there is anything particularly special or unique about me but there are things people may not know. I am a Christian. I enjoy surfing, fishing and spending time with my family and friends. I enjoy serving.