BY STEPHEN FASTENAU
Three candidates will vie for two City Council seats this fall, while Mayor Billy Keyserling is unopposed following Monday’s filing deadline for the Nov. 8 election. Incumbent Mike McFee is running to keep his seat for a third, four-year term. He is joined by downtown business owner Nan Sutton and former mayor David Taub in the at-large City Council election. Keyserling, elected in 2008, is without an opponent for a second consecutive election. “Opposed or unopposed, I’m going to run hard,” Keyserling said after announcing his re-election bid.
City Council is guaranteed a new face after George O’Kelley decided not to seek another term.
The campaign comes amid several development issues in the city. The city and Beaufort County are planning the future of a growing Sea Island Parkway corridor on Lady’s Island, from Richard V. Woods Memorial Bridge to Chowan Creek Bridge. New retail projects, such as a new Walmart and a planned Harris Teeter, are on the way. A mixed-use development is eyed for Whitehall, and new neighborhoods are being build nearby. In the downtown area, developer Dick Stewart has pitched a private parking garage as he plans to add hotel rooms. Renovations are underway to a city-owned building that will become an incubator for technology companies, and a city initiative aims to develop vacant areas downtown.
City Council candidates
Note: Two open seats
Civic experience: City Councilman (seeking third term), former chairman of Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce, former Tourism Management Advisory and Waterways commissioner.
Professional: Realtor with Hometown Realty.
What he said: “I feel like there is still lots to do. With that in mind, I decided that if the people will have me, I will stay probably just one more term ... .There’s a lot of good stuff going on in the city.”
Civic experience: City of Beaufort parking task force, city parking committee.
Professional: Owner of Lulu Burgess gift shop.
What she said: “I believe in public service, and I think the city has done so many positive things over the past eight to 10 years — because I’ve been watching it very closely — that I think it’s important. I want to keep an eye on it.”
Civic experience: Former Beaufort mayor (1990-1999), former Beaufort County magistrate judge, former chairman of Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority.
Professional: Retired primatologist, president of Labs of Virginia.
What he said: “I’m concerned about a number of things that have been going on with the city, and I think that given my wealth of experience and talent and background, I’ve got a lot to bring to the council. I want to participate again and make that contribution.”
Note: Billy Keyserling is the only candidate to file.
Civic experience: Mayor since 2008, former two-term state representative, former City Councilman.
Professional: Real estate broker.
What he said: “I don’t take anything for granted. Last time I wasn’t opposed, I ran a full campaign. It’s just a good way to make sure no stone is unturned as far as being accessible and talking to people.”
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