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Candidate questions: Eugene Hartis

Posted: October 31, 2016 6:07 p.m.
Updated: November 1, 2016 1:00 a.m.

Four candidates are running for Kershaw County Council on the Nov. 8 ballot. 

In District 1, incumbent Bobby Gary faces challenger Al Bozard. Gary beat Bozard in the special election held last April to fill the unexpired term of former Councilman Willie Mickle, who resigned his seat due to health insurance coverage issues.

In District 2, incumbent Sammy Tucker Jr. faces a challenge from retired county magistrate judge Eugene Hartis.

In an effort to provide as equal a forum as possible, the C-I recently reached out to all the candidates running for Kershaw County 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.

Recently, the C-I was informed by two of the candidates, Mr. Hartis and Mr. Gary, that they had not received questionnaires and they wished to submit their answers. 

Here is Mr. Hartis in his own words.  

Q Why are you running?

A After 28 years as a magistrate and attending county council meetings since 1985, I have a deep concern about the future of our county. I am concerned about our tax base, the number of citizens who have to leave the county to seek gainful employment, and our need to provide training and educational opportunities for our citizens.

Q What experience do you bring to the position?

A  Having operated two businesses in Kershaw County and working for the citizens of the county on a daily basis, I realize that Kershaw County Council oversees a multi-million dollar budget. As a former department head, I was responsible for allocating funds and developing a balanced budget on a yearly basis. Kershaw County citizens deserve to have a balanced budget so our tax payers are receiving the best value for their tax dollars.

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

A  I have been married to my wife, Fay, for 48 years, have two children and two grandchildren. I graduated from Bethune High School, earned a BS in Business Administration from Gardner-Webb university and an MA in Public Affairs from N.C. State University. I am a member of First Baptist Church in Camden where I serve as a Sunday school teacher and have been a former deacon.

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

A   As a former county department head for more than 25 years, I have had the opportunity to see how our county budgets are created and how priorities are developed for the allocation of our tax dollars. 

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

A   We as a county, from Bethune to Camden to Elgin, must work together to secure job opportunities for all our citizens so we will in the future have a tax base that can ensure the quality of life our citizens want and deserve.

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  JOBS! JOBS! JOBS! We as a council owe our citizens the opportunity to work close to their homes. This means we must actively seek industries and businesses that are willing to locate, relocate, or expand their employment base to our county. Unfortunately, our future as tax payers does not look rosy and wholesome if additional revenues are not found.

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  The citizens are concerned about jobs and taxes. The two questions I am asked the most while knocking on doors are: #1 the benefits of the one-cent sales tax and #2, my opinions of Trump and Clinton.

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

A  The book I have most recently read is “The Puppetmaster: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover” by Richard Hack. This book examines the life of a controversial public leader who served under nine presidents.



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