Florence mayoral candidates make final push as election day nears

Elections

FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) — Five days away from election day, Florence’s two mayoral candidates are in the home stretch of their campaigns.

The two candidates are familiar faces to the Florence community. Democratic candidate and current city council member Teresa Myers Ervin faces Republican candidate Bryan Braddock in this year’s race.

Both are lifelong residents of Florence and want your vote.

Braddock currently serves as the executive director for homeless ministry House of Hope. “The last few months have just been a wonderful experience for me,” Braddock said. “I’ve been getting into the local communities, talking one-on-one, finding out what the concerns of the local citizens are.”

Braddock said the concerns align with what he believed they were. He said community safety is a big issue. Braddock wants to see the crime rate decrease. He said lighting, for instance, could be a way to curb crime.

“It starts by cleaning up the neighborhoods, abandoned buildings,” he said. “Making sure we’re implementing our codes and ordinances. But it starts there and then it gets into community policing and more officers and more training for officers.”

“People want to be safe and businesses want to come to communities that are safe,” Braddock added.

Braddock said there needs to be more resources for those battling addiction in the city. He said the crime rate needs to be lowered to make way for economic development.

“I want to see this city safe,” Braddock said. “I want to see our crime rate decrease. I want to see our city grow… Our city is poised for growth. And I want to see our city grow. That creates more opportunities for the people living here, business owners.”

The House of Hope helps over 1200 a year and Braddock says he’s built important relationships through the organization. He said his hands-on experience has been very valuable.

“When we take the politics out. When we don’t focus on donkeys and elephants and republican and democrat, potholes get fixed,” he said. “Companies come to Florence. Our crime goes down. And that’s what ‘Progress not Politics’ is about.”

Braddock faces Myers Ervin on the ticket. She serves on city council after being elected 10 years ago. Myers Ervin is also a Florence native, and is a registered nurse at McLeod.

“My priority number one is going to be continuing our economic development throughout our downtown as well as through our community,” Myers Ervin said. “We’re going to have to evaluate where we’re at with all of our businesses.”

The council member noted she would do all it takes to help businesses through these challenging times. She wants to see improvements in areas around Florence– particularly in East Florence where Myers Ervin mentioned the need to bolster the aesthetic as well as build new homes.

“Not only that, we are a green city,” she said. “I want to expand our green city phase, which will mean I would like to work to see what we could do with renewable energies. So that we can attract other companies that believe the same– having healthy communities but also developing economically.”

Myers Ervin wants to ensure the city develops new jobs and businesses, to keep young people in the city. She said she hopes to see the city’s status as a medical center only grow.

“We will soon have a four year medical school here, so we will be the medical center of the Pee Dee,” she said. “And I will work to build those relationships.”

Myers Ervin said her experience as a council member would help her as mayor because she has many relationships in place and she’d be ready to work on day one. Her most proud accomplishment on council she said was getting 3.5 million set aside for community development.

“And that means that we will now have affordable livable houses in our city in areas before that did not experience that growth,” she said.

“I see us being a leader. We will lead the Pee Dee with my vision, we will lead it. And I will see us being competitive with every other city there is,” Myers Ervin said.

Current mayor- Stephen Wukela- announced in 2019 that he will not seek a fourth term. He endorsed Myers Ervin earlier this year.

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