Surfside Beach mayoral and city council candidates

Mayoral candidates

Bob Hellyer

Job: President of Around Town Solutions, LLC, in Surfside Beach; involved with business consulting and environmental mediation. Also a Realtor with Consensus Real Estate in Myrtle Beach.

Prior experience as elected or appointed official: Prior to retirement, appointed to serve on several community-wide boards. Current chair of the Surfside Beach Planning and Zoning Commission (will resign if elected mayor). Also serves on the committee for the Community Rating System of the National Flood Insurance Program.

Reason for running for mayor: “Serving on the Surfside Beach Planning and Zoning Commission has given me an opportunity to get to know the positive civic involvement among my Surfside Beach neighbors. As my wife, Yvette, currently serves as secretary of the Stormwater Committee, in 2019, our family has witnessed firsthand how the decisions made by elected officials affect a small-town community of neighbors. Through what can only be described as a difficult season in our town, I have come to know and love many of the 3,000 residents that make Surfside Beach America’s family beach. Family residents make Surfside Beach a special place to live. Their quality of life must come first. If elected Mayor, I will put Surfside Beach family residents first. My motto is, “Putting residents first is good for Surfside Beach.” 

Families first day one is my creed and the passion calling me to run for Surfside Beach mayor.”

David Pellegrino

Job: Small business owner in the Grand Strand area

Prior experience as elected or appointed official: Has been on town council for the past six years; current mayor pro tempore.

Reason for running for mayor: “I am running for mayor to preserve what is great about Surfside Beach: our beach, our trees, our low building heights. Also, planning for the future with our new pier and entertainment district. Through this process, we need to keep our focus on strict budget management and protecting financial reserves.”

Julie Samples

Job: More than 24 years of experience working in real estate; works at RE/MAX Southern Shores.

Prior experience as elected or appointed official: Served a two-year term on town council from 2016-2018 and has chaired an Horry County Schools advisory board. Also has served on the town’s zoning board of appeals and 50th anniversary focus group board.

Reason for running for mayor: “I want to build confidence in our town government. I will work hard to improve communication between residents, businesses and town leaders. I want to slow down spending to keep the town on firm financial footing while continuing to deliver quality services. And, we must develop a vision for the town’s future whereby we keep our small town character amidst the rapid development happening around us.”

Town council candidates

Jenn Cribb

Job: South Carolina licensed Realtor and broker associate for over 24 years; independent contractor with Surfside Realty Company.

Prior experience as elected or appointed official: Has served on Keep Surfside Beach Beautiful Committee for several years

Reason for running for council: “I love this town. Where we live is special and I feel an obligation to protect our quality of life for future generations. I will offer a positive attitude and fresh perspective on issues, while making sure the best interests of the taxpayers are represented.”

Michael Drake

Job: Worked as the body shop director of Dodgeland of Columbia. Also a family farmer who retired to live in Surfside Beach.

Prior experience as elected or appointed official: Served two terms on the Calhoun County School Board from December 2000 to November 2008; chosen by the board to serve as school board chairman. 

Reason for running for council: “Over the past few years, my wife and I were looking for an ideal place to retire. A place where our 9-year-old daughter could get an excellent education. After some research, we realized Surfside Beach offered among the best schools in South Carolina. While the schools made a strong impression, it was actually the people that drew us here. I have come to love my neighbors here in Surfside Beach. When front page issues in 2019 put a negative light on our small beach community, several different groups of neighbors approached my family and asked me to run for town council. In our talks over backyard fences, beach days and barbecues, residents told us they wanted integrity restored to the system that is Surfside Beach politics. The reality in Surfside Beach is residents should always come first. At times, they haven’t. When I am elected, they will. My neighbors (town-wide) are the true investors in our town.”

Paul Holder

Job: Worked in sales management for professional hair color companies Clairol Professional and Wella Professionals.

Prior experience as elected or appointed official: N/A

Reason for running for council? “I have over 40 years of knowledge and experience with Fortune 100 corporations, plus the time to share and help Surfside Beach grow, prosper and maintain low taxes.”

Cindy Keating

Job: Worked for a major corporation for over 38 years in various professional and management positions from engineering to the commercial process.

Prior experience as elected or appointed official: N/A 

Reason for running for council: “I’m running for town council of Surfside Beach because I feel a change is needed. I believe the town government has been too influenced by local Realtors, developers and contractors. I believe the town’s government needs to be unbiased and act in the best interests of the town residents, business and visitors. I believe the town’s government should spend the taxpayers money as if it were their own. I hope to bring some honest common sense to the town’s operation.”

LaVerne Kreklau

Job: Has worked in several IT-related positions

Prior experience as elected or appointed official: N/A

Reason for running for council: “My main reason for running for council is to try and keep the Town of Surfside the Family Beach with no high rise structures.”

Kathryn Martin

Job: Has written, directed and produced theater shows around the Grand Strand and in North Carolina over several years, operating under an LLC called KM Productions, handling artistic direction as well as marketing, ticket sales and finances.

Prior experience as elected or appointed official: Has served on the town accommodations tax committee for the past four years.

Reason for running for council: “I believe this is a very important job and our residents deserve someone who is smart, hardworking, level-headed and who has no private agendas or financial conflicts of interest. I think I am that person, and I hope the voters will give me the chance to prove it.”

Laurence McKeen

Job: Works part-time at Myrtlewood Golf Course as a starter/ranger. Also does some consulting in the area of plastics and high performance coatings and write technical books on plastics.

Prior experience as elected or appointed official: Has served on the town’s board of zoning appeals and planning and zoning commission.

Reason for running for council: “I am running because I feel I have the skills and judgement to represent the town’s residents and businesses and I have demonstrated that through my volunteer service to the town, particularly on the planning commission. I would like to see improved communication between council and residents and businesses.”

Cody Sluder did not respond in time for this report.

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