A downtown business owner has joined the race for Beaufort City Council.
Nan Sutton, who owns Lulu Burgess on Bay Street and a location in Charleston, filed Tuesday to run for one of the two open seats. Sutton is the wife of former City Councilman Mike Sutton, who is a current member of the city’s Redevelopment Commission.
At City Hall on Tuesday, Mike Sutton surprised his wife by producing one of his old campaign signs. Nan Sutton said she sat through all but a handful of council meetings during her husband’s eight years as a member and learned how city government works.
“He’s the reason I’m doing this,” she said. “He was the one who encouraged me to do it, because he thought I could do it.
He taught me about public service and how important it is.”
Incumbent Mike McFee is the only other person to file for the council race so far, city clerk Ivette Burgess confirmed. Mayor Billy Keyserling has also filed to seek a third term.
The election is Nov. 8 and the filing deadline Aug. 15 at noon.
One of the open council seats is being vacated by George O’Kelley, who has said he supports term limits and won’t run again.
McFee is seeking a third term and said he wants to continue ongoing projects, including an incentive program to develop vacant areas downtown.
“There’s a lot of good energy going on right now,” McFee said last month.
Nan Sutton said the city is in a good place and she is seeking a seat to keep an eye on progress.
She served on a six-month panel last year studying parking downtown and is now part of a parking committee that meets as needed. She said it is important for a capital projects sales tax to pass in November to pay for a parking garage and maintenance to Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.
Sutton was born in Beaufort. Her father, Ned, was a photographer born on Parris Island and her mother, Trannie, a writer.
After graduating from College of Charleston with a business degree, Sutton moved to New York to act and appeared in “Swamp Thing” and “My Boyfriend’s Back.” She later worked for a catering company, serving heads of state at United Nations headquarters, she said.
Sutton opened Lulu Burgess in 2000 and last year opened a second location in Charleston. She sells gifts and clothing downtown, a block from where Sutton and her husband live on Craven Street.
Sutton said she attended council meetings throughout the years to support her husband, but also to stay up on conversation with customers.
“I’m so proud of the work that happened over the past 10 years,” she said. “I just want to see it continue.”