County Council member sets sights on Hilton Head council seat

Beaufort County Council member Steve Baer has announced he plans to run for an upcoming vacancy on the Hilton Head Island Town Council.

Drew Laughlin will resign his Ward 3 Town Council seat next month to be sworn in as the town’s next mayor. A special election will be held March 8 to fill the remainder of Laughlin’s council term, which expires in December 2012. Candidate filing for the seat begins at noon Dec. 24 and ends at noon Jan. 3, said Scott Marshall, county elections director.

Baer’s statement is as follows:

“I have always been a strong booster of Hilton Head. As a result, I have decided to run for the Town Council Ward 3 seat. “We have a number of good opportunities ahead, including (order does not indicate priority): The Mall

The Heritage

Using our money wisely

Public Safety

Harbour Town dredging

Maintaining the tourism - residential balance, including new ideas such as historical tourism, and better retirement and professional recruiting

Retaining commercial air service

Encouraging beneficial development

Maintaining and enhancing our outstanding image “I’m an engineer and planner, known for fairness, vision AND working the details. I have been persistent in ensuring that we use quantitative analysis to help steer decisions to get the most bang for taxpayer dollars — and then tracking the results. I don’t work in another business — I work for taxpayers and residents full time. You have seen that on County Council for the past 4 years. I come from the technology and wireless industry, and can also help with those goals. “I feel that I’m well prepared to help our Council preserve, enhance, and wisely manage the paradise that attracted us here. By working on the details of opportunities, impacts and costs, and not just the buzzwords, I will make sure that we do the best job possible to move forward without sacrificing our key values and assets.”

Local architect Tom Crews conceded the mayor race Wednesday to Drew Laughlin, who holds a narrow lead of 223 votes.

Laughlin collected about 51 percent of the 8,467 ballots cast, compared to Crews’ 49 percent, according to unofficial results, which are expected to be made official today.

They emerged from a field of seven candidates who competed for the seat in the nonpartisan general election Nov. 2. Laughlin got more votes than any other candidate but not a majority, necessitating Tuesday’s runoff.

Laughlin, an attorney, will likely be sworn in Dec. 7, replacing Tom Peeples, who did not seek re-election after 15 years. Peeples endorsed Laughlin days before the general election.

Laughlin’s Ward 3 seat covers Spanish Wells, Wexford, Long Cove Club, Indigo Run, Point Comfort and Shipyard.