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Candidates questions: Stephen Smoak

Camden City Council race

Posted: October 20, 2016 5:21 p.m.
Updated: October 21, 2016 1:00 a.m.

Stephen Smoak

In an effort to provide as equal a forum as possible, the C-I recently reached out to all the candidates running for Camden City Council 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 am offering myself as a candidate for city council because I truly care about this community in which I have lived my entire life.  As someone who works in town every day and supports a young family, I have a genuine vested concern for its future.


Q:  What experience do you bring to the position?

A: I am a husband, father, former county councilman, attorney, and small business owner. Each of these perspectives help shape the decisions I will make if elected. 


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

A:  Family: Wife- Crystal; Children- Liza (age 11) Sarah Anne (age 9) Roger (age 6) Evie (age 4); Education Camden High School (1992) Furman University (B.S. 1996) University of South Carolina School of Law (J.D. 2000); Employment - Attorney/Partner at Savage, Royall & Sheheen, LLP; Church Member and Sunday school teacher at First Baptist Church. Civic Involvement - Kiwanis Club of Camden (member and former President), Habitat for Humanity (board member and Vice-Chairman); Hobbies - Coaching youth recreation teams, activities at Lake Wateree, golf, tennis.


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

A: I am a lifelong resident who went to school here and was greatly influenced by this community and its people.  I chose to raise my family here in my hometown. I am keenly familiar with the issues affecting our town. With my prior experience in public service, I have developed important relationships with people in both the public sector and the private sector.  


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

A:  We have to assist in providing increased opportunities for individuals, families, and businesses to succeed in Camden. Government doesn’t have all of the answers, but the city can and should play a facilitating role. We also need to ensure the quality of life is the best it can be for our citizens. Camden can be a destination for tourists and visitors, and it also needs to be a destination for our young people to return home.


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:  We must continue to focus on jobs and economic development.  It is intrinsically connected to all other local issues. Business growth results in more jobs for our citizens and it alleviates the tax burden on individuals and existing businesses. City Council must work at fostering a cooperative environment which is attractive to business and industry. We unfortunately lose too many of our best and brightest because they are lacking opportunities in Camden. We must help provide those opportunities here.  

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:  We need leaders we can be proud of. Probably as a direct result of the presidential campaigns, I hear about how embarrassed people are of the way in which public officials and candidates behave. The public deserves better. Citizens should have elected officials who act with honor and integrity.


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

A:  Finding Dory at the Little Theater


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