The race for Edgefield County Council's two contested seats centers on an overcrowded jail and an underfunded hospital, candidates say.
Councilman Bill Vaughan, 60, was elected to his District 2 seat in 2000 as a Republican but is running this year as an independent. He says he would solve overcrowding at the county jail by expanding the building in the hope that funds for a new jail eventually will be available.
If re-elected, he said, he would push for a full-time recreation director and vote to provide more money to the county hospital.
"It provides a vital service to the community," said Mr. Vaughan, who is retired from the Aiken Electric Co-Op.
His challenger, Everette Kitchens, 64, is retired from Boral Bricks in Augusta, where he worked in sales and management. The Republican said he would work to bring more industry to Edgefield and harmony to the council.
"Let's just say there is some animosity on council," he said.
He said he would run the council as a business and add responsibility.
Regina A. Leonard, a Democrat running for the seat, did not respond to several requests for an interview.
The District 4 race pits Democratic incumbent Willie C. Bright against petition candidate Jerry Garvin.
Mr. Bright, 65, has served two stints on the council that total 12 years. He is retired from AT&T and runs several small businesses in Edgefield.
He said the jail's crowding and the hospital's revenue crunch could require an increase in taxes.
"I don't have any solutions," said Mr. Bright, who is running on his record. "You don't know what the options are going to be until budget time."
His independent opponent, Mr. Garvin, 53, has lived in Edgefield for 30 years. He is a design engineer for the University of Georgia's ecology program at Savannah River Site.
Mr. Garvin said the current council doesn't listen enough to residents when it makes decisions. He said input was needed from Sheriff Adell Dobey on a new jail.
"They need to rely heavily on what he says," Mr. Garvin said. "He knows better than anybody else."
Reach Josh Gelinas at (803)279-6895 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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