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Several seats up for grabs in April 2nd Election Print E-mail
Written by Jerry E. Halmon   

Citizens of the City of Bamberg will go to the polls on April 2, and elect a new mayor, three members of City Council and a Commissioner on the Board of Public Works. In the race for mayor of Bamberg, three candidates are looking to replace outgoing Mayor Alton McCollum who is stepping down after 18-years in office.

Current Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Foster, who owns a Real Estate Company in Bamberg is seeking to replace McCollum, touts her experience and pledges to have an open door policy as two of her reasons for running for mayor. “Experience counts. I am qualified for the job and in a position to move Bamberg forward. Experience does count and I am ready, eager and excited to serve. My door is open! Come talk to me…let me know what you would like to see happen in Bamberg,” Foster said. Foster, who was married to the late Dr. Robert Foster said working with her late husband in his medical practice, she became aware of what “time”meant in life and death situations.

Foster said she is “very concerned” about the time it is taking to transport citizens to get emergency care; and said she will be working to locate an Emergency Room, or an Urgent Care Facility in Bamberg. She also noted that she will work closely with the Governor and our Representatives, along with SouthernCarolina Alliance to bring jobs to Bamberg. She said that she will finish the Bamberg City Civic Center renovations and bring more recreation and city-wide events for our young people. Foster stated that more city services and security upgrades will be implemented. Foster, who serves on the board of the Bamberg County Chamber of Commerce said that she will also work with business and building owners to fix up buildings and actively recruit retail businesses to fill the empty stores and buildings downtown.”

Jeff Deibel, who is also running for mayor of Bamberg, noted that like the other candidates he wants the best possible future for the City of Bamberg. “I want the quality of life in our community to be the envy of other small towns in our state,” Deibel said adding “ I want our citizens to become more engaged in community service and enrichment projects. I want to foster a community spirit and willingness to join hands to help our friends and neighbors during the tough times.”

Deibel noted that one of his goals as mayor of Bamberg would be to foster a “renewed respect and trust” for the institution of government in Bamberg. “The position of mayor is a non-political community service position. The mayor and council members are private citizens elected and willing to represent the interests of our citizens in managing the governmental operations in our community.”

Other goals included developing a renewed sense of unity and purpose among city leaders, managers, and staff as we work to meet the challenges of the day-to-day operations; develop an informed and co-operative approach to resolving issues regarding financial matters; develop a more transparent policy and procedures with regard to financial and operational matters; develop a city-wide strategic planning committee to address community needs and expectations.

He stated “growth and opportunity are only achievable when there’s unity and common purpose within any organization whether it’s in our businesses, our schools, our churches, or our government. Leadership is about having the respect and trust of those you serve and the skills to be successful while encouraging others to participate,” Deibel said.

In the race for the Board of Public Works incumbent board chairman Dr. F. Marion Dwight is being challenged by Craig Walker.

Dr. Marion Dwight is running for his third consecutive term on the Bamberg Board of Public Works. He is a native of Sumter County and a graduate of Sumter High School. He attended Clemson College for three years, where he was a state and ACC swim champion and later graduated from the Medical University of South Carolina. Dwight, who is a senior aviation medical examiner and license pilot, started his medical practice in Bamberg with Dr. Michael C. Watson in 1959 and since that time he has worked with a number of other healthcare professionals in Bamberg.

Dwight, noted that if reelected he plans to maintain the “high standards” of “competitive rates” of the Bamberg Board of Public Works. He noted that utility rates in Bamberg are among the “lowest in the state” and the service is “the best in the state and region.” He stated the “great service” provided by the BPW reflects “the great employees” of the board. Dwight said he would continue this tradition as the board continues and expands its workforce. Dr. Dwight is married to the former Annette Blanton. Their family consists of five daughters and two sons: Sylvia, Harriett, Pamela, Polly, Lucy, Marion IV and Sid.

Craig Walker, who is a native of Bamberg, a Claflin University graduate, and a 23-year veteran of the United States Air Force, currently services as Bamberg County Director of Veterans Affairs where he represents the County’s 1,450 veterans. Walker sights his community involvement in leading litter clean-ups, volunteering in the schools and establishing a youth basketball program as examples of the leadership he would bring to the BPW.

“I have dedicated myself to public service. This is another opportunity for me to serve the public,” Walker said. Walker also noted his involvement as a member of the Bamberg County Economic Development Board, which he noted “is intimately engaged” in bringing quality employment (jobs) to Bamberg County. “The relationship between economic development and the Board of Public Works are inextricably linked as we attempt to make Bamberg even more attractive to employers with competitive rates,” he said, adding “I bring a wealth of management and leadership experience along with a can do attitude from the military that has proven to be invaluable in my hometown.

Walker is married to Janeth Walker and the father of three children (Breanne, Craig II and Whitney.)

Robin Chavis is a candidate in the race for the District 5 Seat on Bamberg City Council currently held by Nancy Foster. She has resided in Bamberg for 20 years. She is a graduate of Orangeburg Technical College with an Associate’s Degree in Paralegal Studies. She is currently employed with Bamberg School District One. “I am excited to possibly have an opportunity to represent the citizens of Bamberg,” Chavis said.

Chavis stated that her goals as a member of Bamberg City Council are to make Bamberg “ a better place to live and work” as well as a safe environment for our children. Chavis noted that the most obvious need in Bamberg is economic growth to not only provide jobs, but keep taxes to a minimum. Chavis stated that there was also a need for more recreational opportunities for the youth to give them more “constructive” things to do with their time. Robin Chavis is married to Wayne Chavis and they are the parents of two daughters Mallory and Marley.

Note: The Advertizer Herald's reporter contacted both Blaine Crosby a candidate for mayor and Elgin Carter a candidate for city council requesting information in regards to this article and as of press time no information had been received.

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