Hilton Head mayoral candidate
Name: Jim Collett
Years living in area: 10
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Family: Marcia, wife
Education: Bachelor's of arts in political science from Denison University in 1969, Masters of arts in real estate and urban land studies from the University of Florida in 1974
Current occupation: Retired
Employment history: Bell System/Bell Atlantic 1974-99; 10 years in corporate real estate; two years in finance, editor of first Bell Atlantic business plan; 13 years in operations planning, director of strategic systems planning
Military history: U.S. Air Force, 1969-73; promoted to captain in 1972.
Volunteer history: Numerous leadership positions in various Presbyterian churches; currently co-chairman of major expansion/renovation at First Presbyterian Church on Hilton Head Island; selected Man of the Year for local Presbyterian churches in 2008; president of Hilton Head Plantation POA in 2008; Board of Zoning Appeals of Town of Hilton Head Island for seven years; elected chairman for five years of Rotary Club of Hilton Head Island, current Rotarian of the Year; Navy League of the U.S., current local board member
Other political and government experience: Leader of a three-year, 65-member Governor's Task Force on the Future of Route 301 in Maryland, recognized by two governors of Maryland for leadership role; deputy campaign chairman for Congressman Steny Hoyer for Anne Arundel County, Md.; precinct captain for George Herbert Walker Bush and Ronald Reagan.
Public elected offices: None
Any unsuccessful political campaigns: None
Endorsements received: Ben Racusin, first mayor of Hilton Head Island; Bob Onorato, key figure in island's development; Jack McConnell, founder of Volunteers in Medicine; Doug Fletcher, pastor of First Presbyterian Church; Roy Plekenpol, former vice president of IBM and AT&T and active volunteer on Hilton Head; Mary Briggs, COO of Hilton Head Island Symphony Orchestra; Jim Willard, former chairman of the Coastal Discovery Museum; Paul Lang, chairman of the Coastal Discovery Museum; Denis Bonnett, current president of the Hilton Head Island Rotary Club; Dick Waltz, former Hilton Head Plantation POA president
S.C. Ethics Commission statement of economic interests: None disclosed
Campaign money raised: $3,855.60 from individual contributions and $357.90 from the candidate as of the candidate's last filing July 8
Top three campaign contributors over past six months (amount): $500 from Stephen Brazzell (Bluffton); $500 from Fred Hauser (Hilton Head); $500 from James Delligatti (Hilton Head); $300 from Rpy Plekenpol (Hilton Head); $300 from Jerr Voight (Hilton Head); $300 from George Collett (Hilton Head); $300 from Paul Lang (Hilton Head); $250 from Heinn Tomfohrde (Hilton Head)
1. Why should people vote for you?
Leadership skills -- ability to get group consensus and commitment to a plan of action. Strong background in planning in many disciples -- facility planning, corporate business planning, process/software planning, church planning, strategic planning. Performed or reviewed hundreds of cost/benefit studies. Strong communications skills - written and presentation. Academic and management background directly applicable to the job of mayor.
2. What are the three most important issues you would address if elected and how would you address them?
Redevelopment: For 40 years, developers were bad people on Hilton Head Island, and our codes were purposely written to slow development. We are now approaching build-out, and we have a number if aging commercial buildings and rental condominiums. As an island, we are starting to get a reputation as a destination that has seen its best days. If we can't find a way to work with investors who are willing to put money into redeveloping our island, that reputation will only spread and become a self-fulfilling prophesy.
Cell phone service: Hilton Head Island has a reputation for bad cell phone service. This is at a time when tourists and visiting business people are growing ever more dependent on their cell phones. This a very powerful social change in America. Our island is quickly becoming much less competitive in attracting tourist, business meetings and the mobile work force that could live and work here. The town can be at the center of a solution to this problem.
Attracting mobile workers and retirees: Hilton Head Island has long depended on a steady stream of retirees to buy the houses on the island, fund the arts and fill the numerous volunteer jobs on the island. The problem is that Americans don't retire like they used to. Pensions in the private sector are rapidly disappearing and second and third careers are the norm. Good cell phone service, commercial air service at the airport, and a town-funded advertising campaign to attract mobile workers and retirees are essential to our island's future.
3. What other issues do you see as important?
Keeping commercial service at the airport; encouraging of volunteer, cultural and intellectual activities on the island; making Hilton Head Island reflect everything good about America -- especially the environment.
4. What specific steps will you take to make government more open and accessible to the public?
Televise Town Council meetings, Quarterly mayoral briefings/question-and-answer meetings at the library. Weekly, 15-minute radio or TV show highlighting town issues, as well as how volunteer activities on the island are helping our citizens.
5. 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 details.
6. Have you ever filed for bankruptcy, been delinquent on your federal, state or local taxes? If so, please give the details.
7. Are there any personal details about yourself that voters would be interested in knowing?
Former member of MENSA (membership lapsed.) One of the leading experts in the old Bell System in the financial analysis of real estate proposals. DD730 state license plate and e-mail is the ship designation of the USS Collett, a World War II destroyer named after my uncle and first captained by my father. Supporter of the arts. Season ticket-holder to the theater, orchestra and choral society. Lifelong student of history and politics. Met his wife at a Toastmaster's meeting.