Elections

George O'Kelley questionnaire

Family: Wife Yancey H. O'Kelley; sons Hamlin, Arthur and Wade; three great daughters-in-law and six granddaughters.

Age: Not provided.

Years living in area: 41

Education: Bishopville public schools; The Citadel, B.A. degree, 1965; University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D. degree, 1968; the Basic School, Marine Corps officer's infantry school, 1969; Naval Justice School, 1969.

Occupation: Attorney, self-employed since 1980.

Work history: U.S. Marine Corps, 1968-1971, active duty, including one year tour in Republic of Vietnam; practicing attorney in Beaufort since 1971; USMC Reserves (retired as lieutenant colonel).

Public offices to which you've been elected: Beaufort City Council, two terms (1979-1982 and 2004 -2008); Beaufort municipal judge (1982-1986 and 1995-2000.)

Unsuccessful bids for public office: I ran for the S.C. House of Representatives in 1976 and in 1992, and lost both times by about one percent of the vote.

Other prior political and government experience: S.C. Bar Commission on Lawyer Conduct; S.C. Judicial Screening Committee; Task Force 2012 for Beaufort County.

Key endorsements: I have not sought endorsements, but have received many endorsements from citizens of Beaufort.

S.C. Ethics Commission statement of economic interests: Nothing to disclose on statement filed June 27, 2011.

Campaign money raised: None reported as of June 27, 2011.

Top three campaign contributors over past six months (amount): N/A.

Why should people vote for you?I feel I am the most qualified, having served two terms previously. I have an understanding of the office and its workings. I was the environmental chairman of the 2012 Task Force, which helped formulate an original comprehensive plan. I have drafted ordinances, made things happen and am ready to serve.

What are the three most important issues you would address if elected?It is hard to nail down three important issues, but some are:

  1. Taxes - We can keep taxes in place by attracting quality businesses and infill of the urban areas.
  2. Downtown - We need to keep Bay Street and the downtown area viable.
  3. Economy - Ensuring we stay good partners with our Marine and Navy communities, as well as keeping our tourist industry thriving.

What other issues do you see as important?Annexation (when to seek it and when not to.) Not farming out our council's duties to non-elected committees. Proper planning to keep resources and environment protected.

What specific steps will you take to make government more open and accessible to the public?This is a non-specific question and therefore I am not sure what is a perceived problem about openness. I support open government, but add that some things must be handled in executive sessions.

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?I was reprimanded as city judge for issuing warnings for parking violations. This was for tickets totaling less than $50. I have understood I was allowed to issue warnings.

Have you ever filed for bankruptcy, or 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 have lived in the Beaufort area most of my life. Our three sons were born here. My wife was a teacher, counselor and special-education coordinator. My family has participated in many activities, charities, church works and volunteer groups, from Boy Scouts to trash pick-up.Our sons grew up in the rivers and creeks and came to love our Lowcountry just as we do. I will always have Beaufort at heart.

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