Bishopville welcomes 21-year-old mayor-elect: ‘It’s time for change’
BISHOPVILLE, S.C. (WIS) - This week, the City of Bishopville welcomed the youngest mayor in South Carolina history following a hotly contested race with the incumbent.
As of Tuesday night, a 21-year-old businessman, community activist, and online college student named Luke D. Giddings is the mayor-elect of the Lee County seat.
“I hope my constituents hold me accountable. I hope they don’t let me run 40 or 50 years before they un-elect me. If I’m not doing anything after the next four years, whether I’m running for mayor or another seat, you un-elect me,” said Giddings on Wednesday.
Giddings beat Incumbent Mayor Grady A. Brown, a 79-year-old with five decades of political experience, by 54 votes. According to the Lee County Elections Office, Giddings received 351 votes and Brown received 297.
Per Giddings, he’s the youngest elected official in Lee County history and fourth youngest mayor in the nation.
In two decades time, he has served as Secretary of the Lee County Lions Club, member of the City Zoning Commission, and deacon of his church.
Above all, Giddings told WIS he’s most proud of serving as President of Lee County Shared Hope (LCSH), a 501(c)(3) non-profit which opened the county’s first-ever homeless shelter in April.
Giddings said the hardest part of his campaign was the stigma that came with his age.
In a sit-down last month, Brown told WIS that more younger people needed to get involved in politics, but said Giddings was “probably a bit young” for mayor.
“I’d say thank you to [Brown]. I wish that we could’ve maybe ended on a brighter note. Maybe he would’ve been a little bit of a mentor-type to me because I believe there are many attributes that he has that make him a good politician,” said Giddings when asked about Brown.
In addition to a mayor-elect, Bishopville welcomed two new members into the city council on election day: 22-year-old Keshian Scott and 63-year-old Belinda Scott Hays.
Assuming city council supports, Giddings hopes to invest millions of dollars into the heart of downtown Bishopville. This, to enhance Main Street while supporting old storefronts and enticing new businesses.
“We’re going to target the young people that move away, that don’t typically come back here. We’re going to have jobs for them to work, we’re going to have buildings for them to open small businesses in and we’re going to see a thriving community,” concluded Giddings.
The results of Tuesday’s election will be finalized at 10 a.m. on Thursday morning.
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