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Gene Wise

Kershaw County Council Chair

Posted: October 22, 2010 1:39 p.m.
Updated: October 25, 2010 5:00 a.m.

Area of county in which you reside:

I reside on Lake Wateree near the Beaver Creek area of the county.

Family:

I have been married for 43 years to Joanne Wise. We have three daughters and six grandchildren.

Education:

I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Detroit and a Master’s of Business Administration degree from Michigan State University.

Employment:

I am the General Manager of the Target Distribution Center located in Lugoff. I have 42 years of service with Target Corporation.

Why are you running for office?

I’ve had the great opportunity through my job to be highly involved with our community. I believe running for county council is a continuation of that community involvement. I also believe my Leadership experience could improve county council’s effectiveness.

What current issues do you think require more attention by elected officials?

1. Economic development and job creation is the number one opportunity. Money generated by businesses will keep residential and consumption taxes low while providing funding for county services, county capital projects, and the school system. I believe county council needs to take a proactive approach to recruiting companies, as well as, supporting the expansion of existing Kershaw county businesses, such as, the equine industry and small business. We need to provide the infrastructure for companies to locate here, including an expansion of broadband availability and protection of our greatest natural asset, Lake Wateree. Companies need water and that is a competitive advantage for us. We must identify sites for mega companies and small business to facilitate their swift location here. South Carolina also has a competitive advantage with its expanding port and being a “Right to Work State” which was the reason Boeing with 12,000 jobs and Proterra with 3,000 jobs relocated here. Boeing has stated 91 percent of their subcontractors will be from South Carolina. We need a number of those companies here.

2. Streamlining county government would provide significant expense savings which could, in part, be utilized to market economic development activities. I believe we need to streamline common purchases, activities, and services by developing and implementing defined purchasing processes between county owned businesses. We can realize expense savings via volume discounts, as well as, computer, phone, fleet purchases and their support functions.

What is your opinion of taxes such as the city of Camden’s hospitality tax and Kershaw County’s proposed capital projects tax?

I would recommend the county council establish a capital budget fund with appropriate disbursement criteria, funded by a percent of county revenues, to minimize increasing taxes or bonding ever time we have a capital project.

What do you see as the county’s role in education funding?

It is very important for county council to have an understanding of the Kershaw County educational system. The county council’s role is not to write blank checks but establish a partnership with the school system and the school board.

The school board establishes policies, sets the budget, performs reviews of the school districts performance, hires the superintendent and approves of personnel changes all in support of the interests of students, district employees, parents and taxpayers.

It is important for economic development, job creation, real estate values, personal income, and most importantly our children and grandchildren leading productive lives that the Kershaw County school system be successful.

Employers require an educated workforce and companies considering locating in Kershaw County will evaluate workforce readiness of the county citizens. We need a graduation rate of 90 percent-plus to insure sufficient worker numbers to support new businesses and expanding companies.

I think county council needs additional interaction with the school board to understand their challenges and opportunities based on the ripple effect it has on the entire community and its economic future.

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