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Gardner to run for re-election

Posted: February 15, 2018 3:45 p.m.
Updated: February 16, 2018 1:00 a.m.
C-I file photo/

Tom Gardner

 

Tom Gardner will run for re-election to a third term as Kershaw County Council District 6 representative.

Gardner, who was first elected to District 6 in 2010, said he gave deep consideration and prayer to his decision to run again.

“We have a lot of irons in the fire and I want to see some of these things through that I’ve been a part of since the beginning,” he said. “I just don’t want to leave tasks I’ve started unfinished.”

One of the most important areas he said he has worked on is economic development. With major strides such as the new Central Carolina Technical College campus up and running and construction on the new ATEC campus now underway, Gardner says a major priority is to achieve the goal of landing new industries and bringing new jobs to Kershaw County.

“I think we have moved forward -- we have a number of things going for us,” Gardner said. “CCTC and ATEC are going to play a very important role in work force training. That’s very important if we’re going to bring new jobs here. But there are a number of things we need to do -- we’ve got to keep moving forward. We can’t stop now.”

Making the decision to pass a bond to invest in upgrading and improving industrial parks and building shell buildings was another important step that Gardner firmly supports, he said.

Ultimately, however, Kershaw County’s future is going to be determined through collaborative efforts, he noted. In fact, there are a number of moving parts involved, not only in economic development aspects such as workforce education, infrastructure development and sellable product but in overall growth and development of the county, he said.

“We have to have a handle on how we grow and develop, therefore we all have to work together -- it’s imperative that the county, the city of Camden and towns of Bethune and Elgin and the school district all work together to make it all come together in the best way possible,” he said. “The comprehensive plan and the Vision 2030 plan kind of spells it out for us. It gives us stepping stones to get to our goals.”

An extremely important aspect of the Vision 2030 plan in particular is the fact that it was a successful collaborative effort between public officials and Kershaw County citizens, he said.

Gardner noted that the county has managed to rise to challenges placed before it and will continue to do so. Having to take on the Emergency Medical Services was a major challenge.

“We have been very fortunate in that for many years, we didn’t have to pay for EMS,” he noted. “That was provided by the hospital. But it is a service the state requires, and when the hospital was sold, it fell to us -- we didn’t have a choice. And as the county grows, so will the need for such services as fire protection. So we’re going to always have those challenges.”

Ultimately, it all comes back to economic development, Gardner noted.

He acknowledged that there will always be differing opinions on how best to approach these challenges, but ultimately, he said he has faith everyone has the same end game in mind: to build a strong future.

“I don’t mind disagreement and debate -- I welcome it; it’s healthy,” he said. “At the end of the day, we all have the same goal. That’s what we’re all here for -- to make our county better.”

 

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