The stage is set. Here’s who’s running for Bluffton government

Two seats on Bluffton Town Council are up for grabs this November.

The filing period for candidates closed at noon Friday, and the stage is set for the municipal election on Nov. 5. Newcomers Bridgette Frazier and Nickey Maxey will challenge incumbents Harry Lutz and Dan Wood for the two open seats, while Lisa Sulka is running unopposed for her fourth term as mayor.

Sulka served one term on town council before running for mayor and has served as Bluffton’s top public official since 2008.

The Bluffton Town Council is made up of the mayor and four council members who serve overlapping four-year terms. Town elections take place every two years.

The issues facing Bluffton include: rampant residential and commercial growth, inadequate affordable housing, workforce shortages, overcrowded schools, water quality concerns and drug enforcement.

Bluffton Mayor

Lisa Sulka: 59 years old; mayor of Bluffton since 2008; born in Prosperity, S.C.; has lived in the Bluffton and Hilton Head Island area for 36 years; Carson Realty Realtor and partner; former town council representative.

Town Council

Bridgette Frazier: 36 years old; native of Bluffton; teacher in West Palm Beach, Florida, for eight years; moved back home in 2012; taught at Battery Creek High School for three years; Bluffton MLK Observance Committee President; ran unsuccessfully for Beaufort County School District Board of Education in 2016; daughter of Poet Laurette Oscar Frazier. Issues include: Bluffton’s changing identity, oversaturated development, affordable housing, workforce shortages, diversity.

Harry Lutz: 72 years old; current councilmember; born in Pennsylvania; moved to Bluffton 11 years ago; insurance business owner; served on Bluffton Planning Commission for three years. Issues include: overcrowding in schools, workforce housing, recreation facilities for community, handicapped facility for children.

Nickey Maxey: 63 years old; born in Tennessee; retired Tennessee highway patrol officer; moved to Hilton Head 30 years ago and Bluffton 10 years ago; Engel and Volkers real estate agent; business owner; Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Board member. Issues include: law enforcement reform, drug enforcement reform, controlled growth, financial accountability.

Dan Wood: 67 years old; current councilmember; born in Florida; moved to Hilton Head in 1979 to work for Palmetto Electric; moved to Bluffton in 1994; served on Bluffton Planning Commission, ATAX Committee and Affordable Housing Committee; founded Historic Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival. Issues include: sustainable growth, local parks and recreation, affordable housing, protection of historic and cultural resources.

A reporter for The Island Packet covering local government and development, Kacen Bayless is a native of St. Louis, Missouri. In the past, he’s worked for St. Louis Magazine, the Columbia Missourian, KBIA and the Columbia Business Times. He graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism degree with an emphasis in Investigative Reporting from the University of Missouri in 2019.