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Towell focusing on issues in run for KC Probate Judge

Posted: April 29, 2014 4:30 p.m.
Updated: April 30, 2014 5:00 a.m.
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Ned Towell

Former Camden City Councilman Ned Towell has announced his candidacy to be Kershaw County’s next probate judge.

“Our county’s probate judge must be an experienced and proven leader because the office, which is not unlike a business, requires a judge who can manage budgets, personnel and marketing,” Towell said in a press release. “I have learned as a business owner there is no room for failure. Unlike the government, small businesses either work within a budget or go out of business. It’s as simple as that.”

Towell is the only candidate for probate judge with previous experience in elected office, having served as a city councilman from 2006 to 2010. He said he brought a conservative approach to budget issues by focusing on cutting taxes and eliminating wasteful spending. As probate judge, Towell said he will find ways to keep the office at its current level while expanding services, thereby giving taxpayers more value from the office.

“I will implement low-cost, high-tech solutions that will result in a more efficient and taxpayer-friendly probate office. This, and other approaches I will bring to the office, will give the employees of the probate office more time to help residents who will endure some of the most difficult times in their lives,” Towell said.

Towell said the county’s next probate judge needs to fully understand a new probate code that adopted by the state legislature that went into effect on January 1. He said he attended meetings of the Probate Code Revision Committee during the comprehensive re-write of the probate code by state representatives and senators. He said he heard testimony and got deep insight into those changes. Towell said he understands the new probate code and will be ready to administer that law on “day one.”

As probate judge, Towell said he will take the office to the people, using a proactive approach of informing citizens on probate matters and holding estate-planning seminars countywide to make people more aware of the need for a will.

“Over the next few years, we have a large segment of our population that will see first-hand why probate issues are so important. That’s why it’s imperative our county has a probate judge who will do all he can to educate and help families on the importance of estate planning. This will reduce the number of disputed cases, free up valuable resources to improve services, and prevent family conflicts while saving taxpayers money,” Towell said.

Towell also said he wants to establish a mental health court, especially because the number of mentally-ill inmates in South Carolina has reached an all-time high. He said he will also establish stronger relationships between the probate office and mental health service providers.

 “Jailing people with mental illness must be a last resort. It is costly and ineffective. As probate judge, I will work tirelessly to introduce a mental health court, which will provide our magistrates an alternative to criminalizing the mentally ill.”

Towell said his experience in the communities of Kershaw County make him the best prepared candidate for probate judge. In addition to being a senior partner at Towell, Reed & Associates, and serving on Camden City Council, Towell has served on numerous state and local boards, including: the S.C. Epilepsy Foundation Board of Directors, the Community Medical Clinic of Kershaw County Board of Directors, the Junior Leadership Steering Committee, Chairman of the Boy Scouts of America Wateree District, the ALPHA Behavioral Health Center Board of Directors, and as an arbitrator for the Kershaw County Youth Arbitration Court. Towell and his wife, Lydia, are members of Grace Episcopal Church.

Towell faces one opponent for the Republican nominee in the June 10 GOP primary, Debbie Branham. The winner of that primary goes on to face a single Democratic opponent, David Reuwer, in the November general election.

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