Incumbents square off in redrawn Beaufort County Council district

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Incumbents square off in redrawn Beaufort County Council district

By CASEY CONLEY
cconley@islandpacket.com
Published Tuesday, June 5, 2012   |  561 Words  |  

Two Beaufort County councilmen whose districts were consolidated following the 2010 Census are running against each other for the seat in newlydrawn District 1.

Democrats Gerald Dawson and Herbert Glaze both cited jobs and economic development as key issues facing the district that includes Seabrook, Sheldon, Dale, Lobeco and parts of Burton.

The primary is June 12. With no Republican running, the primary winner is expected to serve a four-year term after the November general election.

Dawson and Glaze offered different approaches to job creation and both suggested their leadership styles were best suited to get results. They cast opposing votes in one of the this year's more contentious debates -- a proposal that the county purchase the Beaufort Commerce Park from its public-private economic development partner after the group could no longer afford its mortgage on the property.

THE CANDIDATES

Dawson, 59, worked for 22 years as a U.S. Postal Service letter carrier. He has represented Sheldon, Lobeco and Dale in the 6th District since 2004.

Glaze, 61, is dean of students at Beaufort High School, and has served northern Burton and unincorporated parts of the county in District 8 since 1993.

JOBS

Glaze says a lack of good jobs is forcing too many young people to leave the area. He proposes incentives, tax breaks or reduced impact fees to attract new businesses to the area.

"If we are going to be competitive, we must be able to give them (businesses) the necessary incentives that will get them here," he said.

Dawson takes a more regional approach, arguing for a stronger alliance with neighboring counties. The first step, he said, is trying to rebuild the frayed relationship with Jasper County and foster additional ties with Hardeeville.

"I still think that even though ... the relationship seems to be strained, we need to do what we can do to regain their trust and rebuild that relationship," he said.

LEADERSHIP

Glaze said he's been "proactive" as a county councilman, holding regular meeting with constituents to stay ahead of key issues and "get things done." He describes Dawson as "reactive."

Dawson says he proved during the contentious votes on the proposed Commerce Park purchase that he can withstand political pressure. He says Glaze caved in to threats from outside groups.Dawson voted in favor of the purchase in each of three readings; Glaze voted for the purchase in the first two readings but voted with the majority against it on the third and final reading.

THE IMPLICATIONS

Whoever wins the race will face a changed county council landscape. The 2010 redistricting awarded a new district to southern Beaufort County, giving that region a majority of council seats for the first time. The changes also combined three majority-minority districts into two.

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