Vaux, 29, will become youngest sitting Beaufort County councilman

cconley@islandpacket.comFebruary 1, 2013 

Tabor Vaux

When Tabor Vaux is sworn in Monday, he will become Beaufort County Council's youngest member by at least 10 years.

At 29, he's also among the youngest council members in recent decades.

His opponent in Tuesday's Republican primary, 47-year-old Mark Lawson, touted his own experience -- a not-so-oblique comparison to a man nearly 20 years his junior. Vaux acknowledges his age might continue to come up, but he doesn't believe it will hamper his governing abilities.

Indeed, it might be an asset, he says, especially if it helps get more young people involved.

"Diversity is a good thing," he said Friday. "Different voices from different parts of the community and the different age groups are a great thing, in my opinion."

Vaux captured 64 percent of the vote and defeated Lawson 530 votes to 297. He won seven of eight precincts in the Bluffton-area district. With no other party fielding a candidate and no petition or write-in candidates in the running, Vaux was named the winner of the seat Friday.

An attorney with Vaux & Marscher law firm, Vaux campaigned on a platform of fiscal discipline, better cooperation with municipalities and protecting local waterways. He replaces Weston Newton, a Republican who resigned in December upon being sworn in to the S.C. House of Representatives.

Vaux will serve the remainder of Newton's term, which expires in 2014.

Once Vaux is sworn in, the council will consist of eight Republicans and three Democrats.

Newton, who endorsed Vaux and counseled him during the race, was only three years older than Vaux when he was first elected in 1999. Like Vaux, the then-32 Newton joined council after winning a special election.

Recalling his time as a young councilman, Newton said his goal was to show up prepared, develop a command of the issues, and always listen and be respectful of his colleagues.

"Tabor obviously has earned the respect of the constituents of District 9 that elected him, and now he has the opportunity to earn the respect of his other 10 colleagues on County Council," Newton said.

Councilman Bill McBride, a St. Helena Island Democrat who has served on council for more than three decades, was 32 when he was first elected. The job required much more time than he expected, he said.

"He needs to be prepared to put in the time it needs to do an acceptable job," McBride said. "And I am sure he will be."

Councilman Steve Baer, a Republican who represents a Hilton Head Island district, said he's more interested in Vaux's stances than his age.

"It looks like he is going to be very conscious of council spending," Baer said.

Vaux acknowledges he has to invest a lot of time but said he's up to the task.

"Now it's just time to get to work," he said. "There is a lot of catching up to do and a lot of issues to get up to date on, and I am just looking forward to it."

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