Other Views

Year ahead offers challenges, opportunities

Over the holidays leading to the new year, I have paused to reflect on the honor and privilege it is to be your new mayor on Hilton Head Island. I sincerely thank you for the trust you have placed in me, and I commit that I will always strive to give you my best.

A new year offers the opportunity for reflection and for eager anticipation. I am filled with a full measure of both. Our history is rich and our accomplishments are many, and we have come together over many years to build a community that is second to none. I think it is fair to say that our can-do spirit has enriched us in all the necessary ways and has added value and quality to all our lives through the cultural opportunities we have here.

We have built a hospital, we have created a town government, we have built an arts center and a museum, we have established a community foundation, we have built parks and happily created open spaces, we have continually funded worthy charitable organizations and we have sustained one of the finest resort destinations in the world. And we have done all these things with a strong sense of community at our center and as our foundation.

We are no longer a young community, but we are not old, either. We are maturing, and we have before us all the challenges and great opportunities that are associated with the process of becoming mature. I prefer to focus on the great opportunities, and I know that you do as well.

Over the next four years we will, however, be presented with our fair share of controversial and complicated issues, including our continuing need to navigate the choppy waters created by a still struggling economy. The balance of patience and tenacity required to know when to listen and when to act will consistently be needed, and I and the council will welcome your input and wise counsel. I think it is more than fair to say the next few years require a spirit of cooperation and understanding on the part of all islanders, and on the part of the "greater" community as well. I look forward to working together with the council and residents of Beaufort and Jasper counties as we continue to define our shared opportunities. In my mind, these opportunities are at once exciting and daunting, but I know that working together we all can be successful and can retain our identities and our unique personalities.

Throughout the thought process for my message to you these three words have resonated repeatedly in my head. They are "we," "cooperation" and "communication." I am sure I can accomplish very little alone, and I am also sure I will need (and I want) your cooperation as we move forward.

Finally, hold me accountable for open and honest communication, understanding that we might not always like the message, but that dialogue leads to progress.

Jane and I are excited about this new beginning in this new year. We are excited about what we know we can accomplish together. And we are grateful, and humbled, to be allowed to serve you.