The City of Simpsonville will hold the most highly contested city council election in the Golden Strip on Tuesday, November 7.
Here are the candidates:
Simpsonville City Council Ward 2
Stephanie Kelley – www.kelley4ward2.com
I achieved a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of South Carolina, and I am currently the Program Manager for Dell at SYNNEX Corporation. I manage a multi-million dollar marketing budget, plan events and sales contests, and I am responsible for strategic plans to increase awareness and enablement of current and new partners.
As a long-time Simpsonville resident, I am an active member of the community serving as a volunteer for numerous City sponsored events and am a former board member of the Simpsonville Arts Foundation, Inc. (SAFi) and the Main Street Chapter of the Simpsonville Area Chamber of Commerce. Most recently I served as the vice-chair of the Arts Feasibility Study for the Historic Simpsonville School Building.
Simpsonville has been my home for 30+ years and I could not think of a more wonderful place to raise my own family. My parents raised me to have a ‘giving heart’ and to work for everything I want and to chase my dreams and goals. Having worked for Southern Galleries through college and as a young adult, I developed a love for the arts and Simpsonville’s small businesses. I would be honored to continue serving our town and our home and all of her citizens as the next Ward 2 Councilperson. As your councilperson I will:
• Support a long-term strategic plan to make Simpsonville a destination and the best she can be for our families
• Continue to strengthen commerce by supporting small businesses and their goals & needs for the future
• Be fiscally responsible with all our hard earned tax dollars
• And listen to all concerns and strive to represent our home with integrity
Aaron Rupe – rupe4citycouncil.com
I love this city and I believe that I have a lot to offer the fine citizens that live here. I have been affiliated with Simpsonville between going to elementary school or going to church here for over 20+ years. I was raised in a preacher’s home and was raised to be honest and was taught that my actions reflected not only my family but Jesus Christ. I graduated from Bob Jones University in 1999 with a Bachelors degree in Psychology/Counseling and married Jennifer who I met at college. We have 3 beautiful children, Lexi (13), Lily (8), and Jackson (6) along with our 2 little Yorkies, Joey and Charlie.
I am an online marketing consultant and deal with small and medium size businesses. I currently serve on 2 boards and chair and co-chair 2 committees, one of which is through the Simpsonville Chamber. I love volunteering my time, especially with The Greenville Little Theatre. I am finishing my 3rd year as a part of the Executive Board serving as their Treasurer. I have been asked to stay on as a board member for another 3 year term. I love the arts and I am very passionate about bringing some ideas and experience on the arts to Simpsonville if I am elected, but only if it makes sense for the city and does not raise taxes. I stand on the principles of honesty, integrity and transparency . If elected, I know that I will serve Simpsonville with these principles in mind.
Simpsonville City Council Ward 4
Sherry Roche – sherryroche4ward4.com
The questions I am most asked when meeting the wonderful citizens of Simpsonville and asking for their vote are, “Why are you running? Why do you want to be on City Council?” The short answer: I have built my life on serving others and believe it is my calling in my own home and in my community. Nothing brings me greater personal fulfillment than helping others and seeing our community grow in positive ways. I have volunteered in various capacities on behalf of the city for several years and would like the opportunity to make those efforts in an official capacity as a member of our City Council. I have lived in Greenville County for 25 years and in Simpsonville for the past 10 years. I want to ensure that our current, positive quality of life remains for the next generation of citizens by keeping our family-friendly, small town attributes while promoting cultural and economic development that benefits our families, small businesses and community interests. I am personally and fiscally conservative and embrace the fundamental governing principles of equal opportunities for all citizens, operating within a fairly-distributed and balanced budget, assessing the lowest taxes possible and utilizing our resources for maximum benefit to taxpayers.
At the “top” of my personal resume, I am a wife and mother of six children that range in age from college to elementary school, so I have both experience in utilizing our city’s services and opportunities, and a vested interest in maintaining them in the future…
T. Blake Whitaker – Facebook.com/whitaker4citycouncilsimpsonville
…As your city council member, I pledge to make decisions based on research and facts. I’ll consult with experts when needed, and do what I believe is best for all of Simpsonville. Decisions should never be made based on emotion. You can expect professionalism, accessibility, and responsiveness.
I am running independent of any financial support and am funding this campaign myself. I’ve filed all financial reports with the State of SC, and will gladly share that information. I am running as a resident of Simpsonville FOR the residents of Simpsonville.
• PLAN AND CONTROL GROWTH
As a member of Simpsonville’s Planning Commission, I’ve had the opportunity to vote on a number of requests that would concern our future. Recently, the Planning Commission voted unanimously to deny a developer’s request to remove a turning lane on Harrison Bridge Rd. As a member of city council, I’ll continue to ask questions and look at the impact our decisions have on residents, as well as, infrastructure.
• REVIEW THE CURRENT TRASH AND RECYCLING PROGRAM
I believe these services should be provided to all citizens of Simpsonville. I’m aware that this issue will require a great deal of work. Essentially, we’ve got to go back to square one. Buy equipment? Lease equipment just for the Fall? Hire employees? Continue to outsource? Renegotiate the existing contract with Ace? We need to begin discussions now to determine how to best provide these services economically to all residents. We’ll need to examine the budget line by line. I welcome all comments, and any insight, as we seek to resolve this issue.
• PLAN FOR THE FUTURE OF HERITAGE PARK
I believe in supporting the arts, but we need to prioritize. The park and the fields are wonderful assets to our city. We need to constantly look for opportunities to hold family-friendly events. The amphitheater is 10 years old, with a debt remaining of over $8 million. We should be working to make it profitable. On September 12 at the city council meeting, I spoke in favor of a 5-year extension of the contract to TRZ Entertainment. I commented on the need for a feasibility study, which I believe will reflect a tremendous economic impact to the city. I expressed to the mayor after the meeting that I hoped that council would complete additional infrastructure improvements. I also suggested that council should negotiate with TRZ for monthly, and no less than quarterly, meetings to discuss progress of scheduling events. TRZ has been requesting an extension and recommending improvements for over a year, and I am glad that council is finally moving forward with that. As a member of city council, I will encourage TRZ to work with promoters to increase the number of family-friendly events…
Simpsonville City Council Ward 6
Lou Hutchings – Facebook.com/hutch4ward6
When my wife Mary and I were married we chose Simpsonville as the place that we wanted to live and raise a family. Simpsonville has been our hometown for practically all of our adult lives. We have brought up our four children here. They all attended school here, worked here and played here. Our roots are deep and we all love this town. Public service has been my way of returning some of that love to the town and people that have been the source of so much success and happiness for our family.
In recent years, I have served on the City Planning Commission, Simpsonville Swamp Rabbit Trail Committee, chaired the Arts Center Feasibility Study Committee, spearheaded our “Raise the Roof”“ fundraiser to place a permanent cover on our Outdoor Stage at City Park and many other Community efforts. Currently I serve on the Board of Zoning Appeals.
My decision to seek election to City Council is a natural progression of my desire to serve our City in the best way that I can. If you decide to give me a chance to represent you, my promise to you is this: I will strive to be a good listener so that I may ascertain the wants and needs of our residents. My mission is to translate those wants and needs into actions that will offer the most benefit to our City as a whole.
Jason Wilmoth – Facebook.com/JasonWilmothSimpsonvilleWard6
One of the things that those of us who choose to run for public office do is brag on ourselves and tell you what we’ve done to convince you to vote for us. That way we can tell you see we’re better than the other guy. I don’t always feel that’s necessary. Wheeling over a spotlight on where you went to school , what committees you served on, who you know, is all good for some , not for me. I may not have the long list of accomplishments that others have, but that really means nothing anyway. People are called to serve for many different reasons. And luckily our forefathers set things in place to give us, the ordinary people, a chance to be part of the process. I’ve spent my life in the workplace doing the jobs we all have done. From washing dishes and earning minimum wage, to driving trucks across the country , to managing restaurants and stores bringing in millions of dollars in sales. All along the way,I’ve worked with people like you and me. Those who get up early and come home late. Those who work 2 or 3 jobs to make ends meet or pay for school or child care. Those who are exhausted from giving their all at work and still finding the time to help with their children’s homework. Those who spend their days off , wanting in their heads just want to collapse and rest, but volunteering themselves to scouts or coaching and cheering on their children’s sports team. Carpooling the neighborhood children because we know that our friends need our help. Volunteering at our children’s school and serving on the PTA. Mentoring our youth ,who may not have that figure in their lives ,pushing them in the right direction and helping them be the best they can be. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things. But we are affected by the decisions we make as a government. Fees and taxes hurt us all. It takes money from our pockets so we have less for food on the table, or a school field trip. So when we’re asked to pay those , we expect the best return for our money. We haven’t been getting that for awhile. As an ordinary taxpayer, I want change because I know how it affects all of us. Your government needs to make those tough choices of how and where it spends it’s money , just like you and I have to. We all want something shiny and new, but putting ourselves and our city in debt to do it NEVER works. We need our basic services that we all pay for running smoothly and efficiently. We need more police officers patrolling our streets making our community safer. We need our trash,leaves and recycling picked up because we’ve already paid for it and now you’re asking us to pay more. We need our parks taken care of , so our families can play and enjoy themselves. And most importantly, rebuilding your trust in your Council to make those decisions for the good of all the taxpayers, not our friends who donate to us. Throughout history,ordinary people have made it all the way to be President by being in touch with the real world problems we all face. I think it’s time us ordinary people have a voice. If elected, I will be that voice of common sense and reason we all need to represent us.