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Gardner hopes to retain KCC District 6 seat

Posted: February 21, 2014 4:01 p.m.
Updated: February 24, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Kershaw County District 6 Councilman Tom Gardner is announcing his bid for a second term.

“I grew up in District 6, in the Buffalo/Mt. Pisgah area. A number of people asked me to run a few years ago so that’s why I ran and have tried to represent District 6 and all of the county,” he said. “You try to do what’s best and I think we’ve done that in tough economic times.”

Gardner said his first term has been educational.

“There’s a big learning curve when you get on council as to what you can do, where the money comes from and how you split the money up and budgeting. We haven’t increased taxes,” he said. “In tough economic times that’s tough, because prices keep going up.”

Gardner is the owner of Sports Connection in Dusty Bend, a business he has run for 27 years, and said that owning a business and other jobs he has held provides valuable experience as a councilman.

“I have a degree in accounting and worked for a CPA firm for a short time. I taught and coached seven years at Camden High School, so I have the education background for dealing with the school district. I’m very pro-education. My dad was an educator here in Kershaw County for 34 years,” Gardner said. “Education is vital to a community in drawing economic development. I think we have that here, but can it be better? Absolutely.”

Gardner said economic development should be the council’s top priority and Kershaw County has a lot to offer new industries and businesses.

“We really have got to bring some business in here and create jobs. That does a number of things. It puts people back to work. It creates dollars and cents that get put back into your community. It broadens your tax base, which gives you more money,” he said. “We have a couple of (industrial) sites here that are the best in the state.”

Gardner said that, as a former coach, he believes having good recreation facilities in the county would help attract economic development and improve the community.

“A lot of life lessons are taught on the baseball field or basketball court or football field. You keep kids out of trouble. You either build rec facilities or jails. There’s a lot of truth to that,” Gardner said. “I would like to see us get our rec facilities up to par so we can bring in traveling tournaments in baseball, volleyball and other things. We haven’t upgraded our rec facilities in a long time. There’s a lot of money that drives up and down I-20 going to Florence or Lexington to play in tournaments.”

Gardner said he appreciates his fellow councilmen and wants to continue working with them.

“We work well together. We don’t always agree and we shouldn’t always agree, but we have done a lot of things throughout the county. We’ve addressed the issues as best we could and it’s about giving the people what they want. You can’t do everything, but when economic times are tough and money is tight, you try to do the things you can do,” he said. “All of us would like to do more. It all comes down to dollars and cents. As a council, we’ve done pretty good with the resources we’ve had.”

The dates for candidates to file for office are March 16-30. This year’s primaries will be held June 10; the general election is slated for Nov. 4.

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