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Dean Campbell: I will run for County Council as a Republican

By Dist. 3 County Council Candidate Dean Campbell
web posted February 22, 2010
GUEST COLUMN – I will run for Edgefield County Council as a Republican. I did not put party affiliation into my original announcement that I was running for County Council because I want people to focus on the person first. Therefore, you should know I am excited about running for County Council, and I am passionate about the positive changes we can make together to move our County forward in many areas.

However, I know there is a lot of interest in a decision under which party’s banner to run, and some will look at my decision as a dividing line. However, this decision bears some explanation by me, and perhaps some reflection by all of us.

First, I can tell you that the general principles of the Republican Party most closely match my own core values, so I am proud to be affiliated with them. Therefore, it makes the most sense to run as a Republican, since we are required to choose a party in a County Council election. And there lies the rub: The town councils and the School Board are non-partisan races, meaning that you don’t have to “declare” for one party or the other.

County Council should be the same way.

While it makes more sense for those running for state or national offices to choose a party, it makes less sense to do that on the local level.

Let me explain.

On most issues on the local level, being a member of a political party has little bearing on most governmental decisions. Citizens are interested in services and government-related functions, which don’t rely on political affiliations. For example, is there a Republican or Democratic way for County Government to stop excessive noise from a business or residence? To zone areas? To recruit high-paying jobs for our citizens?

I can assure you that making policy for a county – or a school district or a town – does not involve hot, polarizing political topics like abortion, deficit spending or welfare. But it is true that how your tax dollars are spent, and every other decision County Council makes, may have lasting positive or negative impacts that have nothing to do with political affiliations.

That’s why we should all keep a keen eye on public policy on the local level, and we should understand what our candidates stand for.
Finally, in Edgefield County, we are independent-minded voters, but we pay attention to political affiliations. Keep in mind that for decades we voted time and again for Democrat Tommy Moore to represent us in the S.C. Senate, and in the same election chose Republican Strom Thurmond for the U.S. Senate.

So, I believe Edgefield County voters do care more about the individual than the party.
It is not my intention to start a debate on this topic, nor is it my aim to gloss over what each party stands for.
However, our S.C. Legislature should take a hard look at making all local elections non-partisan races.

And on the local level in particular, we should focus more on what unites us than what divides us. It’s another way we can move Edgefield County forward.

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