Joe McElveen

Non-partisan incumbent candidate for Sumter Mayor.

Occupation: Lawyer/Mayor

Education: Sumter public schools; The Citadel, Bachelor of Arts in English; University of South Carolina School of Law, Juris Doctor.

Experience in Political or Related Positions: Sumter City Council (1983-1986); South Carolina House of Representatives (1986-96); Mayor of Sumter (2000-present)

Why should voters choose you in this election?

Sumter is my lifetime home. I know the city and its people well. I worked as a volunteer in many organizations for years before running for public office. My service in the House of Representative gives me a unique ability to understand the relationship between Columbia and Sumter. I believe I have been a good mayor. I have high aspirations for our community, and I want it to be the best anywhere.

We have made a lot of progress during my years as mayor. This is not just because of me. To the contrary, I believe one of my strengths is encouraging others to get involved and bringing people together to achieve the essentials of a great city.

One essential is sound financial management, and our city has been a good steward of our tax dollars. Another essential is public safety. We have outstanding fire and police departments that are getting better all the time. Economic development and jobs are crucial. The Central Carolina Technical College Allied Health College in our downtown, which has received state and national recognition, is filling a need for health care professionals in our community and giving many a chance to enter a rewarding career, but it also helped revitalize the South Main Street area of our downtown. Quality of life is something that makes our city more livable and makes Sumter more attractive for investment. The Palmetto Tennis Center, which was selected as one of the four best in the country by USTA the year it was built, is an example of a quality of life initiative that provides enjoyment for our citizens, and also attracts many to our city. We have built new parks and greatly improved our older parks.

When I took office in 2000, we were preparing for a base closure round and economic development was at a standstill. I am proud of the role I played, along with many others in Sumter, in growing Shaw Air Force Base and reorganizing our economic development board.  The arrival of Third Army/ARCENT and the announcement that Continental is locating here are just the beginning of a great surge in growth for our community.

If one looks at the City of Sumter today and compares it with the city of 12 years ago when I was first elected, that person will have to acknowledge that we have come a long way. We are not satisfied yet, however. My pledge to my fellow Sumterites is that I will continue to be a shameless cheerleader for our city and to work diligently and tirelessly to continue our forward progress. I want to be your mayor as we build on our recent successes, while maintaining that community character which makes Sumter a great place to be. I believe that I am the mayor who can do that.