Port Royal Town Council candidate profile: Marshall Lee Helena Jr.

emoody@beaufortgazette.comOctober 25, 2013 

Marshall Lee Helena Jr.

Age: 38

Office: At-large Port Royal Town Council seat

Number of years living in the area you seek to represent: 9

Family: None listed.

Education: Masters from Clemson University, Bachelor of Science from Appalachian State

Current occupation/employer: Construction Manager/(Confidential)

Employment, military and volunteer history: None listed

Please list all public offices to which you've been elected, when and where: None.

Please list any unsuccessful candidacies for public office and when: None.

Other prior political and government experience: None.

Key endorsements you've received: None.

Campaign contributions: None as of Oct. 25.

Campaign expenditures: None as of Oct. 25.

Largest donations: None as of Oct. 25.

Why should people vote for you?

I hope to bring a new sense of urgency to council. As a community, we need to be more proactive in seeking out existing opportunities for improvement. I believe my experience can help the town make more informed decisions as it relates to redevelopment and new growth.

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

  1. The timeline for the port redevelopment is out of our hands, so we shouldn't wait for that to happen before we create a great place to live. The form based code is great first step in that direction. It's a clear map that makes regulation easier to understand. The citizen committee I'm on has worked tirelessly for a year to ensure a balance between property owners' rights, developers' flexibility, and public safety.
  2. Since the Beaufort County Library is in danger of losing state funding, I think the town should consider working with them into the feasibility of a micro-branch for Port Royal. Residents could order books online and pick them up and return them at the town branch. The facility would only need a room for computers to provide internet services and a conference room for public/private group meetings. There are existing vacant facilities on Paris Ave. that are well suited and ready.
  3. The area next to the Shed is a great opportunity for temporary retail incubators. Many business startups don't have the money to sign a 5 year lease on a 2000-square-foot building. Incubators are temporary structure, 400 square feet or less, used to create a collection of small boutique businesses that work together to drive customer traffic. Cities across the country have adopted this technique to bolster areas that are prime for redevelopment.
What other issues do you see as important?

The town should consider expanding its management contract of The Shed to include the Live Oaks Park for outdoor events. If the town has to endure the existence of the port's dry stack marina, then they should consider an operational lease similar to the shrimp docks to drive local traffic to The Sands area. In addition, basic improvements to the Sands as well are much needed.

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

One of the best things about Port Royal is how open they are to the public. All meeting have public notice and anyone can ask for information and get an answer promptly.

Have you ever been convicted of a crime (felony), been disciplined by a professional licensing board or organization or had an ethics violation filed against you? If so, please give the details.


Have you ever filed for bankruptcy, been delinquent on your federal, state or local taxes? If so, please give the details.


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

I'm a third generation Eagle Scout, and was raised to always serve my community however I can.

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