Two out of three candidates present for Lexington County Council Dist. 8 debate

Bill’s Music Shop hosted event. Karamie Sullivan photos.

Two out of the three Lexington County Town Council candidates from District 8 met Thursday evening at Bill’s Music Shop and Pickin’ Parlor.

Charles “Chuck” Crouch and Glenn Conwell were positioned on the stage where moderator Tom Ledbetter asked them a series of direct questions. Candidate Ned Tolar notified  Greater Cayce West Columbia Chamber representatives 30  minutes prior to the debate that he would be unable to attend due to a family emergency, according to an announcement made by Chamber Executive Director Richard Skipper.

Crouch and Conwell made their opening statements, asserting why they are running for council. Conwell focused on acknowledging that he wants to be an accessible, representative voice for the people in his area. “It’s like there’s almost no representation,” he said. Crouch immediately noted that his biggest reason for running is to address and help alleviate problems with the city’s infrastructure. “When I say I live off of Corley Mill Road, that ought to answer that question right there,” he said.

One of the differing responses was what the candidates’ top priorities would be, if elected.

Crouch responded: “Infrastructure, which I’ve already said. It’s not just roads, but services and funding of services we expect, such as police, fire and ambulance. I want to get on council, get to know the leaders and other municipalities, develop relationships, and come up with viable solutions.”

Conwell responded: “Communication with the voters. Some have serious concerns with not getting answers or hearing back from representatives. Lexington County is a great place to live. We’ve got a lot of things going for us. We just need to expound upon what we have now, and make it better.”

The candidates also had differing responses when asked about the strengths of Lexington County. Crouch said he felt that Lake Murray, the district’s schools, and the low unemployment rate are some of the strengths. “There is room for real estate development, but also economic development as well,” he said. Conwell directed his answer toward the amount of land the county still has that can be developed. “That’s a huge asset, but we’ve still got a long way to go, which of course comes with growing pains, like traffic,” said Conwell.

The candidates made concluding statements.

Conwell: “If I’m on county council, I want to work with everybody. You cannot divide and conquer. While it is Lexington County Council, that means it needs to work for the entire county. I don’t want you to look at me and think I’m somebody you can’t approach. That’s the biggest thing about me.”

Crouch: “I’m not a politician, and I won’t try to claim to be. I have no aspirations to have a career in politics. I’m in this for reasons I mentioned earlier. I’m a good problem solver and good mediator. I want to work with other council members. And I agree that communication is essential. People need to know what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it.”

Throughout the debate, Conwell took more of a “straight to the point” approach, ending all of his questions before the two-minute timer went off. Crouch elaborated more heavily, with the majority of his answers ending with the sound of the timer. The candidates agreed on some topics.

Categories: Elections, Lexington County, Politics, West Columbia