The "Newton era" of Beaufort County Council has come to a close.
Chairman Weston Newton presided over his final meeting Monday night, where he was presented with a framed plaque listing personal and collective achievements and a DVD of board highlights.
Newton, who will resign Dec. 3 to begin a two-year term in the S.C. House of Representatives, thanked his colleagues and county staff. Serving on council for 13 years, he said, has been a "true honor."
"I have made a lot of good friends over the years ... and this has been a special honor for me," he said, receiving a standing ovation from about 40 people in the audience.
Vice Chairman Paul Sommerville will replace Newton, as interim chairman, until early next year when new leaders are chosen.
Newton also received some gentle goading from residents, who urged him to remember local issues while he's in Columbia.
Aaron Crosby of Daufuskie Island reminded Newton and other council members about the island's challenges and its promise.
Outgoing Beaufort County Board of Education Chairman Fred Washington Jr. asked Newton to be a "champion for public education."
Others, including York Glover of the Beaufort County Cooperative Extension office, simply thanked Newton for his service.
Newton also traded jokes with Sommerville, county administrator Gary Kubic and the audience, at one point calling his departure "the end of an era."
"That's era, e-r-a; not error, e-r-r-o-r," Newton quipped.
Those interested in running in District 9 to serve the remainder of Newton's term can register between Friday and Dec. 10. Prospective candidates must pay a $207 filing fee and submit a Statement of Intention of Candidacy and a copy of the Statement of Economic Interest when they file.
Candidates seeking party nomination must file with their respective political party. Candidates who want to be on the ballot via petition must submit a petition and the economic interest form to the Beaufort County Board of Elections and Registration by noon Jan. 18. A petition must have at least 5 percent of the registered voters in the district.
Party primaries will be Jan. 29, if needed, and the special election to fill the Bluffton-area seat will be March 19.
Also Monday, council recognized residents whose photos were used in the annual Rural and Critical Lands Preservation Program fundraising calendar and approved a $7.2 million appropriation to repay bonds associated with the New River tax increment financing district.
Follow reporter Casey Conley at twitter.com/EyeOnBeaufortCo.