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Candidate questions: Alfred Mae Drakeford

Posted: October 17, 2016 5:37 p.m.
Updated: October 18, 2016 1:00 a.m.

In an effort to provide as equal a forum as possible, the C-I recently reached out to all the candidates by sending out questionnaires. The candidates were asked to answer all questions in their own words and the C-I tried to edit the answers as little as possible; most edits were done for space issues only. Here are the candidates in their own words.  


Q:  Why are you running?

A:  I’m running for mayor because I believe in the people of Camden.  Our city deserves an experienced leader who puts our needs first and implements a vision to help Camden be successful for generations to come. I have the leadership skills needed to make a difference, as well as a proven record of solving problems in Camden.   I will also be a mayor who represents everyone, and a leader who promotes unity and discourages division. I have the energy that’s needed for the job, and I will challenge myself each day to be the best Mayor our city has ever had. I want to accomplish major improvements for Camden, by working with you and for you, every single day on the challenges we will and currently face.


Q:  What experience do you bring to the position?

A:  At an early age, I was taught by my parents the value and importance of giving back to my community, and I have dedicated my life to making a difference in everything I do. After graduating from the University of South Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in business, I continued my post-graduate studies with USC, Leadership South Carolina and the Riley Institute at Furman University. In my work life, I have served in a number of capacities and retired from DuPont as a leader over quality and training. After I retired, I became more involved with civic affairs. I have been elected three times to Camden City Council, where I am currently Mayor Pro Tem. Outside city government, I have chaired and led many organizations and charities; I currently chair the multi-county Santee-Lynches Council of Governments and our local United Way Board.

Q:  What personal information would you like to include about yourself, such as family, education, career, civic involvement, church affiliation, etc.

A:  I am a life-long Camdenite, married to Ernest Drakeford, Jr.  We raised our daughter Kimberly Drakeford Mosely here.  I am an active member of St John Baptist Church.   I was educated in the Kershaw County School District; I hold a bachelor’s degree from the top ranked Moore School of Business at the University of SC.  I had a successful career with DuPont and have enjoyed my public service to the City of Camden.  I thrive on being a part of the success of overcoming the many challenges we face to improve our community.  I just love giving back to my community, and I just love engaging with people.


Q:  What makes your background and experience so uniquely suited to the job?

A:  In addition to my education and experience, I have a genuine love for Camden and its residents. That’s one of the reasons when I take on a project, I am completely invested in it. I am most proud of my recent work with Central Carolina Technical College to provide two years of free college for Kershaw County graduates, bringing the Façade Grant to help open new possibilities for our local small businesses, and securing the funding from the Council of Governments for the truck bypass. My record of dedication and accomplishment has prepared me to take my community service to the next level by serving as Mayor of Camden. Even though, the mayor’s position is technically classified as a “part-time” job, you can count on me to bring “full-time” energy to it.


Q:  What are some issues/problems you want to work on to solve or accomplishments you wish to achieve?

A:  There are many issues I want to work as the next Mayor of Camden -- too many to list here. However, the pressing issues I see that need more focus and community action include (1) creating new jobs, (2) fixing our roads, and (3) promoting true community safety. Everything related to these three items has an impact on Camden’s overall well-being for decades to come.  Additionally, I will be a fierce advocate for tourism, improving our quality of life, promoting transparency and community engagement, supporting our schools and teachers, among many other items. I am also a strong believer that the best way to create a better future is by fixing problems we face today.  As well, we must involve the community in developing a vision and mission for Camden that makes our city attractive to people who want to live, work, play and raise a family here.


Q:  What is your number one goal – that is, if you could only accomplish one thing in one term, what would it be and why do you believe it is so important?

A:  Anybody who knows me, knows that I would never be satisfied with accomplishing only one goal. However, there are some issues and concerns I want to work on immediately. One of the first ones would be continuing our long-term approach toward creating new jobs and making Camden competitive by starting new small businesses and luring established ones here. We have made tremendous progress with a renewed focus with our education system.  Now, we can focus on making sure we have the infrastructure in place to make a company want to move here. Another item I am concerned about is helping increase the pedestrian and foot - traffic around our businesses downtown. I have an open mind on ideas and solutions.  I also know that communities such as Greenville, Columbia, Newberry, etc. have seen an incredible turn-around on Main Street after people began living downtown in apartments that were converted from old vacant buildings.


Q:  The campaign has been ongoing for several months now. Undoubtedly you have been out meeting people and trying to find out what is important to them. What are some insights you have gained with this experience? How is what you have learned comparing/contrasting with any preconceived notions you may have held?

A:  In Camden, the campaign season is a relatively short snapshot in time.   I know that the important things surfacing during the campaign were important before and are important after the campaign season.  My discussions with the people of Camden have led me to the conclusion that jobs, roads and safety are at the top of their lists.   These issues are basic to the successful completion of other goals of the city. Regardless of the month or year, I continually focus on what is important for our entire city.   I meet people/with people, I listen and work issues all the time to ensure “preconceived notions,” rumors and campaigning do not stand in the way of serving all our citizens.   Our citizens do not want another person representing just one group of people or one special interest or one who initiates projects for the few.   As I continue to say, “Your Voice Counts”.


Q:  What’s the most recent book you have read and/or movie you have seen?  

A:  In recent months, I have not seen many movies.  However, I can wholeheartedly recommend that everyone view the Campbell Street documentary at the Camden Achieves and Museum.  This very short movie captures an interesting view of Camden history.  As for books, I suppose the answer should be the one that all good politicians and beauty queens like to give, my Bible.  In all seriousness, I do love my Bible, and I do study religious/inspirational materials every week as a regular participant of my church.  But, ask what book is on my night stand right now; it is GRIT by Angela Duckworth.  Ask me to read the first two sentences on page 143:  “Interest is one source of passion.  Purpose – the intention to contribute to the well-being of others – is another.” I have both passion and intent to contribute to the well-being of all the citizens of Camden. 


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