Small Business Expanding

When I ran for office, I promised to focus on economic development and downtown revitalization. Success stories from small business owners like Ms. Hall show the results of those efforts–the results of your vote for me and my colleagues who pledged the same.

As this article explains, “The small batch operation has been running smoothly and Simpsonville has embraced it with open arms. The only challenges so far, Hall said, have been related to pandemic-driven supply chain issues, making it difficult to find the kind of bottles she needs or certain ingredients. But she’s found ways to overcome those obstacles.”

Business is good in Simpsonville. And that’s good for our economy, for our citizens, and for our city.

MEO Advanced Graduation

Today I graduated from the Advanced Municipal Elected Officials Institute of Government. My coursework included Advanced Advocacy and Intergovernmental Relations, Advanced Leadership and Governance, Advanced Municipal Economic Development, Advanced Budgeting and Finance, and Public Safety Policy and Administration. This ongoing professional development helps me effectively serve our city and its residents. I look forward to learning more and applying those lessons to my work in Simpsonville.

Honor Roll

The few, the proud: out of 271 municipalities in SC, only 18 are on the Municipal Association honor roll. And we’re one of them! That represents our Council’s commitment to continuous learning, so we can best serve our city. Here today to keep learning! #HLAD2023

We’re Better Together!

We’re better together! That’s my philosophy–one that’s shared by my friends at Greater Good Greenville . Tonight we gathered to celebrate the partnerships between elected officials and nonprofits, funders, and community. I am proud to have been an early guest with Katy Pugh Smith and Mark Steenback on the Simple Civics: Greenville County podcast. With 47,000 downloads, the podcast has been a great way to help people be more engaged with their local government. That’s a win in my book! But partnerships always are. When I ran for office in 2015, I called for improved partnerships and better collaboration. And here we are–working together, not just for a better Simpsonville, but for a better Greenville County. Here we are, working together for the greater good.

It’s always good to see my friends and partners from Habitat for Humanity of Greenville County (Noel Brooks & Gail Peay). We’re planning the Woodside Park neighborhood block party together to celebrate that successful partnership, which resulted in 13 new affordable homes in Simpsonville. We’re better together.

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

You don’t know what you don’t know. Mayor Shewmaker always says that’s one of the most important lessons he learned after being elected. And he immediately set about learning. We met shortly after he was elected, and it was a good meeting. Similarly, I recently met with Councilman-elect Rupe. I told Mr. Rupe much what I told the mayor: municipal government is a team sport. I also shared with him lessons learned and advice. I encouraged him to start learning what he doesn’t know he doesn’t know–and there’s a lot. I suggested he started his MASC coursework ASAP and make a goal to graduate by February of 2023. I also recommended he meet with each of the Department Heads. I shared with him how going to Public Works to speak with the staff there was when I learned just what bad shape the department was in. It was while I was there, I heard how under-resourced they were and witnessed with my own eyes the trucks literally being held together with duct tape. I saw the safety concerns first-hand. I didn’t know anything about that before I went down there. You learn a lot by going straight to the source. I told Mr. Rupe he definitely needs to meet with our City Administrator. She runs the city. And she’s doing a darn fine job. That’s because she has the education and experience to lead a city like ours. Getting to know her should be a priority for anyone new coming in. And I also suggested he meet not just with me but with every member of Council. Because each member has different strengths, experiences, backgrounds, and expertise. And that’s what makes our Council effective. We can learn from one another, and we do, and ultimately, that’s how, working together, we come to decisions that are in the best interests of this city and her citizens. Next week is our last Council meeting of 2021. In 2022, Mr. Rupe will join us.

Low Voter Turnout

At the end of Tuesday’s meeting, the mayor rose to a point of personal privilege to speak about the recent election. The results were certified last Friday. The mayor, a bit of a data nerd like me, had been looking them over and doing some math. He pointed out a sad truth: only 7% of registered voters cast a ballot this election. That’s as low a turnout as I can recall. 7% of voters cast a ballot. Let that sink in. That means 3.6% of registered voters chose the new Councilmember for Ward 2. A mere 7% stepped up to make the choice, and 3.6% chose the person who will represent all 18,000 registered voters, all 23,000+ residents. All of that is to say, echoing the mayor’s comments, that voting is a privilege and a duty. Your vote matters more at the local level than anywhere else. None of us should abdicate that responsibility or give up that privilege to a mere 7% of us. We vote again in two years. I will anyway. And I hope you will too.

The mayor also congratulated Councilmembers Hutchings and Roche on their re-election (which he pointed out was not a given…just ask the mayor of Pacolet), and he congratulated Mr. Rupe on his win (although he unfortunately wasn’t there).

Veterans Day 2021

🇺🇲 Today we honored our veterans at the Veterans Day Ceremony 2021. The Quilts of Valor presentation is always one of my favorites every year. It’s hard not get teary-eyed thinking about the sacrifices made on our behalf by those brave enough to answer the call to serve our county. God bless them and God bless the United States of America. 🇺🇲


SFD and SPD will be memorializing the anniversary of 9/11 today, as they did last year, with fire trucks and police cars at the interchanges of I-385 @ West Georgia Rd and Fairview Rd. They will begin at the time of the first plane hitting the Twin Towers and ending at the time the last plane crashed in Pennsylvania. Additionally, the Simpsonville Fire Department is participating in the Memorial Stair Climb at Fluor Field, along with many other departments across the upstate.

Tater Shed Update

Tater Shed Restoration Update: P+F Construction has been awarded the contract to improve the Tater Shed building.

Bricks will be saw cut from both sides of the building to open up the building for air and light, Trex flooringwill be installed, railing will be installed for safety, new lighting, and a new roof will also be installed.

The building will be available to be rented as a shelter, and will add another amenity to City Park. This restoration prevents the further deterioration of the building and makes it useful to the community again.

SPD & Westwood Public Safety Meeting

Tonight our neighborhood had a community public safety meeting with the Simpsonville Police Department. I am so grateful for and proud of our PD. Lots of people talk about community policing. They live it. I watched them in action tonight with members of our community. In lots of other places, tensions between police and citizens may be high. In some places a meeting like we had tonight would have tempers flaring, angry yelling, even name-calling or accusations. Not here. Here, I hear residents and officers alike talk about partnership, being like a family, working together. I hear them laughing at the same jokes, sharing stories about their families, asking and answering questions respectfully, listening for understanding, learning from one another.

That’s one of the many things that makes Simpsonville #SimplyHome. Big shout out to Chief Hanshaw, Investigator Donnelly, Sgt. Chandler, and Officer Stouffer for joining us tonight. 💜

“The one thing I can guarantee you about crime is if you don’t report it, we can’t investigate it.” –Sgt. Justin Chandler, SPD, encouraging residents to say something if they see something. “Call us.”