Bluffton Town Council candidate profile: Charlie Wetmore

dburley@islandpacket.comOctober 25, 2013 

Charlie Wetmore

Age: 47

Office: Bluffton Town Council

Number of years living in the area you seek to represent: 14 years

Family: Five children: Mike, Joshua, Stephen, Andrew and Faith

Education: Bachelor's degree in business administration from Rochester Institute of Technology

Current occupation/employer: Sales manager, Coastal South Carolina & Georgia RTUI Inc.

Employment, military and volunteer history: Co-owner, Bluffton Custom Images Inc., 2007-2013; former director of membership, Bluffton High School Booster Club; former member, Greater Bluffton Pathways; former member, Friends of the Rivers; former PTSA vice president, Kate Bond Elementary, Memphis, Tenn.

Public offices held: Bluffton Town Council member, 2007-2009; Pine Ridge property-owners board treasurer, 2006-2008

Unsuccessful bids for public office: Town of Bluffton mayoral race, 2008; Bluffton Town Council 2009 election

Other prior political and government experience: Graduate, Municipal Association of South Carolina Municipal Elected Officials Institute of Government; graduate, S.C. Economic Development School

Key endorsements you've received: None listed

Contributions: $657

Expenditures: $653.82

Highest contributor: Jimmy McIntyre, Jacob Preston, Charles Brandon Waring ($200 each)

Why should people vote for you?

I have the proven experience to be an effective Bluffton Town Council Member. When I served previously, we were able to balance the Town budget every year and reduce the town property tax rate. We also started the process of recovering from the damage that has been done to the May River by creating the May River Watershed Action Committee and the Town of Bluffton Stormwater Department.

What are the three most important issues you would address if elected?

  1. Growth issues in Old Town: Bluffton is at a crossroads growth-wise. While it has been easier to plan outlying, newer areas in town like Buckwalter, the same growth has brought challenges to the Old Town area. We have planned for a beautiful, multi-use Old Town area. The planning is well thought out and has led to beautiful streetscapes and new parks. However, parking issues and noise issues are becoming increasingly common. We need to find solutions quickly that will respect those who live and work in this critical, historic area of the town.
  2. Restore the health of the May River: The May River has already been partially closed due to improper oversight in the past. We need to restore this vital part of our town to its former pristine state. Many people move to this area because of its beauty and because of the river. We cannot lose this vital natural resource.
  3. Spend money wisely: To make sure that the Town of Bluffton is responsible with the money entrusted to it by its citizens. This is accomplished by balancing the budget while providing needed services and looking for ways to save money for everyone in the town.
What other issues to do you see as important?

Integrity in office: We need to hold our elected officials accountable to having a high work ethic while in office. Anyone who holds elected office should view it as a job and take it seriously. This includes being actively involved in reading materials, asking questions, creating policy and other issues. I have done this in the past and commit to do so in the future.

What specific steps would you take to make government more open and accessible to the public?

I find it appalling that Beaufort County Council, all county committees, Beaufort County school board, the city of Hardeeville and others can televise their meetings, yet we still do not do that in Bluffton. The town is proud of its website, public relations person and even about tweeting, yet our citizens still cannot watch our government in action unless they drive to Town Hall.

I also believe that the town's checkbooks need to be open to scrutiny by the public. We should have nothing to hide.

Have you ever been convicted of a crime (felony), been disciplined by a professional licensing board or had an ethics violation filed against you?

No

Have you ever filed for bankruptcy, been delinquent on your federal, state or local taxes?

No

Are there any personal details about yourself that voters would be interested in knowing?

I was trained as a pastor and still enjoy officiating the occasional wedding. While I have chosen to no longer be a pastor full-time, I believe I have found that I can have a greater outreach into our community through public service. Public service, in all its forms, is now my calling. If not at the town, then I will continue to serve in other ways. I have been given much, and I feel I need to reciprocate in some meaningful manner.

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