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Buford native and resident Cotton Cole announced his candidacy for the District 3 seat on Lancaster County Council on Thursday, promising to be a "voice for the district."
"I'm told we need a voice for the District 3, someone who will speak up," said Cole, 52, who will run as a Democrat.
He said he'll represent the district's interests first and those of Lancaster County second. Wesley Grier, a Republican, now holds the seat.
Cole said Buford keeps growing, which amazes him, with pastures turning into more housing developments all the time. It's starting to get its fair share of parks and other recreational facilities, he said.
But with residential growth, especially that in Indian Land, will come more taxes for services, and somebody has to pay for it, he said.
Cole wants to recruit more jobs to address the county's high unemployment and expand the tax base, taking some of the burden off the individual property owner.
"We need to get a handle on taxes and a handle on growth," he said.
Family and longtime friends stood by Cole as he announced his candidacy at his auction barn, Buford Feed Mill, on Thursday night.
"He'll stand up for what's right," said friend and supporter Cliff West, a Buford resident. "Nobody will be able to sway his vote."
Cole believes he's got the proper perspective to handle the job.
"I've got good common sense and I can look at the whole picture, digest it and add to the solution," Cole said.
Cole served in the U.S. Navy, trained at the S.C. Firefighting Academy and spent his 25-year career at the Lancaster Fire Department. He served as fire chief there.
"I've spent most of my adult life in the people-helping business," he said.
He also took some classes at the University of South Carolina at Lancaster.
He's an auctioneer, a member of the S.C. Auctioneer's Association and a lifetime member of the S.C. Fire Chief's Association. He and his wife, Cindy, live in Buford and are members of First Baptist Church of Lancaster.
They have two children, Nick Cole and Hollee Gay, who is married to Stephen Gay of Kershaw.
Grier to seek re-election
Grier, a first-term councilman, said Friday that he will seek re-election.
"Public service is a public trust and I pray the people of District 3 will trust me for four more years," Grier said. "I will be running again."
He said he'll formally announce his candidacy in the next couple of weeks.
Grier touted accomplishments achieved while he's been on council, such as more sheriff's deputies, more paved roads and construction on the Buford recreation center. He said he looks forward to pursuing new initiatives, such as the construction of a Buford Senior Center and an emergency medical services station for Buford, and anything that will bring more industrial jobs to the county.
Council Districts 1, 3, 5 and 7 are up for election in November. Candidate filing begins March 17 and ends March 31.
Contact Johnathan Ryan at 416-8416 or email@example.com