Elections

Lee Edwards questionnaire

Lee Edwards

Age: 43

Number of years living in Ward 3: Has lived in the area since 1972 and within Ward 3 since 2006.

Family: Wife, Becca Edwards; three daughters ages 3, 2 and 1 month.

Education: Hilton Head Elementary, May River Academy, Christ School (1986), Tulane University (1990).

Current occupation/employer: President and CEO of The Greenery Inc.

Employment, military and volunteer history: Worked at The Greenery Inc. most summers in high school and college; worked at Hudson's and Truffles (Sea Pines) off and on for several years; taught English in Guatemala and Costa Rica (1991); worked at Grizzly Landscaping, Aspen. Colo. (1992-93); interned at Ruppert Landscaping in Laurel, Md. (1994); crewed on multiple sail and power boats doing deliveries and crew work at various times accumulating over 10,000 blue water miles; construction manager at The Greenery (1994-99); founded The Greenery of Charleston and served as managing partner and president (1999); named executive vice president of The Greenery Inc. (2006); became president of The Greenery Inc. (2007).

Public offices to which you've been elected: None.

Unsuccessful bids for public office: None.

Other prior political and government experience: None.

Key endorsements: David Ames (Long Cove developer, Mayor's Task Force chairman); Dana Beach (Coastal Conservation League); Ann Bluntzer (Beaufort County Open Land Trust executive director); Margaret and Walter Greer; Jessica Gardo; Elizabeth Hancock; Joe Highsmith; David Ruckno; and James Wedgeworth

Why should people vote for you?

I grew up here and I run a growing and successful local business. My wife, Becca, and I plan to raise our daughters here. We care deeply about the island's future. I have experience and knowledge across a broad range of issues affecting the island. As one of the founders of HHI 25, I contributed input to the Mayor's Task Force for the Island's Future. As a board member of the Beaufort County Open Land Trust and an active member of the Coastal Conservation League, I understand what is required to preserve our barrier island's beautiful natural setting and sensitive environment.

What are the three most important issues you would address if elected?

1. The Heritage. We cannot afford to lose the tournament. We must be determined and creative in finding a solution. I support the discussions occurring at the state, county and local level to fund the Heritage in the short term while continuing to search for a national sponsor.

2. The land management ordinance. There is general consensus on the need to change the LMO. How we go about doing this is critical to our future ability to attract private investment and generate new sources of town revenue. We need to get it right. I support the creation of a master plan and rewriting of the LMO as concurrent efforts. I believe we must use experts as well as resources from within our community and town staff.

3. Business development: We must actively promote economic development and sustainability in order to increase, as well as find new sources of, revenue for the town. A tremendous amount of work was completed last year to identify the 2011 targets for action. These recommendations were provided to the Town Council on Nov. 12. I support these recommendations. We must assure that the island has the necessary infrastructure, such as airports, telecommunications and hospitality assets to demonstrate that it embraces the right type of investment.

What other issues do you see as important?

  • Dredging: Hilton Head is an island and dredging of harbors is an asset issue that needs a successful solution. Dredging must be done in an environmentally sensitive way that is sustainable as a long-term process. The town's role should be one of oversight and management, helping the private sector negotiate the regulations and permitting requirements of the public sector. If funding is required, the town could help develop creative financing solutions that ultimately are payable by the private sector entities that benefit from the dredging.
  • Term limits: I believe that Town Council needs to remain focused, energetic and innovative. I believe term limitations would help to achieve this goal.
  • What specific steps will you take to make government more open and accessible to the public?

    Businesses have re-invented themselves and developed very successful and streamlined approaches to improving their processes, customer contact solutions and open communication approaches. I'd champion using these same proven approaches to improve how our town interacts with our residents and businesses. There are many talented and interested members of our community who could be very helpful in re-engineering the town's processes and customer service approach.

    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?

    No.

    Have you ever filed for bankruptcy, been delinquent on your federal, state or local taxes?

    No.

    Are there any personal details about yourself that voters would be interested in knowing?

    I spend much of my free time on the water or in the outdoors in some way as often as I can -- sailing, surfing, paddling, fishing or just walking on the beach with my wife, kids and dog. I want to make sure that in 50 years, I will be able to do the same. I hope that I can look at the same beautiful views and waterways and know that they will continue to be that way in another 50 years. I also hold a U.S. Coast Guard 50-Ton Masters license.

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