NEWBERRY — Candidates from local offices to congress took the stage on Wednesday to debate for votes.
The candidates for the Fifth Congressional District discussed the national issues during the Newberry Business Alliance debate at the Newberry Opera House.
Incumbent Mick Mulvaney states that he is not afraid to talk about the different issues and that it is time to stop what is happening and get the country back on track.
Democratic challenger Joyce Knott states that families like hers are hurting in the current economy.
Mulvaney says one issue is the need to fix social security to help balance the budget. This includes increasing the age for the benefit from two months to those 59-year-olds to up to 70 year-old for younger people.
But Knott said she opposed the age change and people are expecting to get the retirement benefit. She adds that she would like to see the cap raised for social security.
“Our number one threat to the national security is the nations debt. We need to talk honestly about it,” said Mulvaney.
Knott said the nation can make lots of cuts but they do not need to be on the backs of the poorest.
She adds the budget issues are due to the Reagan administration and not President Obama’s.
Congressman Jeff Duncan was the lone candidate for District 3 with challenger Brian Doyle not attending.
Duncan said he represented a portion of Newberry County in the S.C. House and looks forward to serving the county again.
He also told the crowd that this will be one of the most important elections of our lifetime.
In the Eighth Circuit Solicitor Republican challenger David Stumbo and Democrat Ben Shealy boasted their qualifications.
Shealy says he as worked for the Eight Circuit Solicitor’s Office for nine years before going into private practice.
He added he would be strong, fair and compassionate and have a open door policy for victims and “stand tall with law enforcement.”
Stumbo says he has worked both in the attorney general’s office at the state level and in the solicitor’s office that serves Lexington County.
Stumbo told the crowd he loved working in the courtroom and wanted to keep families safe.
Stumbo defeated current Solicitor Jerry Peace in the primary and Shealy was unopposed.
Challengers Scott Cain and Tim Carroll are both vying for their first term on council after Cain defeated currently District 1 County Councilman Edgar Baker in the primary.
Carroll told the group about his 10 years as mayor of Whitmire and another 10 on town council; while Cain is a newcomer to elected office talked about his military career.
Carroll says he cut the tax mills in Whitmire 10 percent and balanced the budget. He also got $4.5 million in grants.
“I leave the town in good financial shape,” said Carroll.
Cain told the group he would go out and get businesses and help with Whitmire’s high unemployment rate by coming up with a plan of what the area has to offer and market the area.
“Whitmire has had no new business in five years,” said Cain.
Carroll said in the past month that he has had individuals discussing the purchase of the empty Renfro plant that once fed the community’s economy. But he adds his hands have been tied since the building is not in the city limits.
Carroll added he was against putting $2 million on the backs of county taxpayers for a new spec or shell building for a potential new business.
But Cain says that 85 percent of companies are looking for buildings and that the 10 Upstate counties have no empty buildings for a new company to locate.
Cain says he will partner with the Renfro company to bring in a new business.
He added he wanted to keep the youth in Newberry and improve the economic base.
Carroll added he was opposed to tax increases.
In the race for treasurer, incumbent Karen Lindler said she has 24 years experience while Republican challenger Jackie Haltiwanger has 13.
Haltiwanger said she was fired after deciding to run for the office and loved her job and wants to keep it. While Lindler countered that she gave Haltiwanger three options on the advice of county leaders and that Haltiwanger’s decision lead to the termination.
Both women said they would work to find the best ways to invest the money of the county but are limited to their options due to state laws.
Lindler said she would work for the taxpayers and Haltiwanger says she wants to provide better customer service.
School Board District 3 incumbent Lucy Anne Meetze is being challenged by Brent Connelly.
Connelly has been on the hospital board and is vice-president for two parent-teacher organizations at Mid-Carolina Middle and Pomaria-Garmany.
Meetze has been on the school board since 2008 and says she is a strong voice for students and teachers. Meetze is a teacher at Clinton High School, which she says adds valuable insight to her service on the board.
She added state changes in funding the school districts has put burdens on the tax payer and schools and she wants to work together with lawmakers for the “best possible” education for all children.
Jessie Reeder is taking on incumbent Gregg Taylor for School District 6. Taylor was not at the debate.
Reeder says that education is more important than anything else and that with God and education that a person can survive anything.
She says if elected she will work hard with the school board and she wants to help students and teachers.